No. 3-ranked St. Thomas (12-0 overall) is home this Saturday for the quarterfinal round of the NCAA football playoffs to face the Statesmen of Hobart College (12-0). Kickoff is set for noon at Palmer Field in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
St. Thomas is one of four teams with top seeds in the 32-team field, along with Mount Union, Linfield and Mary-Hardin Baylor. The UST-Hobart winner plays Dec. 8 in the national semifinals against the Linfield vs. UW-Oshkosh winner (likely in St. Paul if the Tommies and Oshkosh win this week).
Tickets will go on sale at 10:30 a.m. at $8 for adults and $4 for students. The stadium gates will open at 11 a.m. Tickets will not sell out -- the stadium can hold more than 4,000 in the stands plus, when needed, another few thousand in standing room areas.
Guests coming to campus on Saturdays to watch UST football are asked to park on South Campus. Anderson Parking Facility, entrance on Grand Ave. and Cretin Ave. South, will open for complementary parking on football game days at 8 a.m. It will close an hour or so after the game. Morrison Ramp R-2 and lot R-3 are open only for resident permit holders. Guests are asked not to try to park in Lots A and B on game days because these lots are filled.
On football Saturdays, persons with state-issued disability permits may park in Lot B, the closest access point to the stadium for parking (Enter off of Selby and Finn Avenues to the north). New this year is the addition of a mobility-impaired drop site for football games. This is located at the Anderson Student Center turnaround just north of the Summit-Cretin intersection. Enter off of northbound Cretin Ave. and pull up toward the stadium. Guests may be let out and picked up at the same location after the game.
As always, out of courtesy to our neighbors, people attending St. Thomas for any event are asked to park on campus and not on city streets surrounding campus. Because of the city permit parking, vehicles may be ticketed or towed by the City of St. Paul
WCCO Radio, 830 AM, will again carry all Tommie football games live on radio and the internet. Dave Lee will call the game with Eric Nelson adding color and sideline interviews. WCCO is now in its 89th consecutive season of broadcasting Saturday college football games. Its acclaimed clear-channel signal extends throughout Minnesota and into parts of Canada, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.
Click here to access WCCO’s webpage with a link to a Listen Live button:
There will be live video plus in-game updates available at www.TommieMedia.com
Live video: www.mnsportsnetwork.com (click on link and scroll down to channel 3)
Live stats: Check Saturday for link at Tommiesports.com
St. Thomas has secured a third consecutive MIAC championship -– last done by UST football from 1947-49. The Tommies also locked up the conference’s automatic spot in the NCAA playoffs. St. Thomas became the first conference program in the 92-year history of the conference to post three consecutive 10-0 regular-season records.
St. Thomas is in the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year, a feat matched only by Mount Union and Wesley.
St. Thomas and Hobart have never played in football.
UST football has won its last 15 November games since a Nov. 1, 2008 last-second Tommie loss at Augsburg, including an 8-0 mark in NCAA playoff games.
Glenn Caruso (55-7 record) has surpassed 50 victories in just five seasons at UST. By comparison, John Gagliardi won his 50th game at St. John’s in his 10th season; Mount Union’s Larry Kehres won his 50th game in his seventh season…. Caruso has already moved into second in coaching victories at UST and needs one win to tie Frank Deig (56 wins) for first place. He just passed DuWayne Deitz (1970-80) and Don Roney (1998-2007), who each have 54 wins.
The Tommies are 30-1 in their last 31 games at O'Shaughnessy Stadium, with 15 wins in a row since a 12-7 loss to Bethel in the 2010 NCAA playoff quarterfinals.
St. Thomas’ balance and depth is illustrated in these facts in its 12-0 start: No individual has more than 1,000 rushing yards; no individual has more than 1,000 all-purpose yards; no receiver is averaging more than five catches per game; no individual has more than three interceptions; and no individual has more than five sacks.
Hobart had its first unbeaten regular season in 55 years. The Statesmen lost just 35-28 in the 2011 NCAA playoffs to Eastern power Wesley. This season, they have NCAA playoff victories thus far against Washington and Lee and Wittenberg. They rushed for 286 yards and limited Wittenberg to a season-low 135 total yards on Saturday in an impressive 35-10 victory. Hobart averages 38.5 points and 424 total yards a game, has held six of 12 opponents to 10 or fewer points, and has 41 sacks to just six allowed. Only one team, Union (42-34) has come within 15 points of Hobart.
Click here for more on Hobart football:
Over the last three school years, Tommie teams have a combined 33-2 postseason record on campus (conference/NCAA): Football (7-1); volleyball (12-0); men’s basketball (6-0); women’s basketball (5-1); softball (3-0).
St. Thomas is 8-0 in NCAA first- and second-round playoff games under Glenn Caruso.
St. Thomas has won 34 consecutive regular-season games since a 2009 overtime loss at St. John’s.
UST's conference victory streak is 27, including 14 MIAC road wins in a row.
Its home-field victory streak is 15, part of a 32-2 home record in five seasons under Glenn Caruso. The two losses were by a combined eight points.
The Toms have ranked in the top 10 by D3football.com for 42 consecutive polls.
St. Thomas is 48-0 since Sept. 2008 in games when it scores 21 or more points.
St. Thomas (12-0) was third in the AFCA national poll and No. 4 in this week's D3Football.com national rankings.
Click here to view last week's poll results:
St. Thomas has won 50 of its last 54 games… Over the last three seasons, UST is 37-2, including a 13-1 record outside the MIAC... The Tommies are 19-2 against non-conference opponents under Glenn Caruso after going 2-12 in non-conference play in its previous 10 seasons… The Toms are 17-1 in September games under Caruso, with the lone loss in six overtimes at St. Olaf in 2008.
St. Thomas advanced to the NCAA Division III playoff quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year by rallying from 14 points down to defeat Elmhurst 24-17 on Saturday in O’Shaughnessy Stadium.
For the third straight week, St. Thomas spotted an opponent a first-quarter lead, and the 14-point deficit was the largest the Tommies had faced since trailing UW-Eau Claire 24-13 in the fourth quarter of the season opener. The Tommies had a slight edge in total offense –- 393 to 391 yards –- but ran only 50 plays compared with 75 for Elmhurst, which had more yards than any other St. Thomas opponent this year.
Brenton Braddock rushed for 100 yards – his third straight 100-yard game and fourth of the season. O’Connell finished with 283 yards of total offense, including 206 yards on 12 of 15 completions and 85 yards rushing.
--Five weeks ago, UST handed playoff-bound Bethel its first shutout loss since 2004 -- covering 90 games – in a 37-0 victory. Against a stingy Royals' defense, St. Thomas converted 8-of-18 on third down and 4-of-4 on fourth down.
--UST’s defense has allowed just two yards per rush attempt in the last three seasons. The swarming Tommie “D” limited Bethel to 31 net run yards on 17 attempts and rank among the Division III leaders against the run.
--UST’s defense has allowed just 21 touchdowns in 12 games.
--Junior linebacker Steve Dejewski had a 49-yard interception return for a fourth-quarter TD against Bethel. Last week, senior Ayo Idowu returned a fumble 86 yards for a TD against Elmhurst. Those were the 21st and 22nd return touchdown in the five-year Caruso era. That total includes nine interception returns, two blocked punt returns, and 10 Fritz Waldvogel kickoff/punt returns to the end zone.
-- St. Thomas has outscored opponents 99-38 in the first quarter this season, yet it has fallen behind early in each of the last three games.
--In his first career start on Sept. 1, Tommie sophomore QB Matt O'Connell scored the winning TD on a 32-yard run in the final 3:00 to beat UW-Eau Claire, 27-24. UST won its first game since 1993 in which it overcame a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit. On Sept. 15, O'Connell passed for 403 yards (301 in the first half) in a 43-9 home win over UW-River Falls.
--Over the last three seasons, St. Thomas is 31-0 in games when it throws a touchdown pass.
--In nine of their last 16 games, the Tommies have scored a touchdown in the last 2:00 seconds of the first half.
--18 different Tommies have scored a touchdown this season.
--Freshman RB Jack Kaiser couldn’t crack the Tommies’ 60-man travel list to start the season but posted back-to-back 100-yard rushing days in October.
--The Tommie offensive line has allowed just 10 sacks and has blocked for 100-yard rushing days by five different Tommies this season.
--O’Connell is 11-0 as a starter, averaging 280 yards of total offense, and has 20 TD passes in 11 games.
--Backup QB Ben Duncan caught a TD pass, had a TD run and threw a touchdown pass in the Hamline win.
--UST’s balanced offense is averaging 248 rushing yards and 228 passing yards a game.
--The Tommie defense is allowing just 75.9 rushing yards and 14.8 points a game and has stopped opponents in third-down conversions 74% of the time.
--UST has 24 different defensive players with a sack, interception or forced fumble.
--UST is plus-27 in sacks and plus-29 in tackles for loss.
--UST averages only 3.5 punts a game but averages 41.5 yards per punt.
--St. Thomas starts freshmen at both offensive tackle spots (Luke Marks, David Simmet), and has 22 freshmen and sophomores in its current 2-deep lineups.