Gene's Blog: Oh, brother, do we have news for you

It was this kind of weekend for St. Thomas athletics:

Twin brothers Justin and Tyler Oliver combined to score all four goals in a conference road soccer win Saturday for the No. 9-ranked team in the country… and that wasn't the first or even second most talked about story of the weekend for the Tommies.

With that teaser, it's time for another edition of Fast Facts.

1. A record 37,355 tickets were sold Saturday for the first football game held at Target Field, a 20-17 St. Thomas victory over archrival St. John's.

2. Our sun-drenched crowd topped the attendance totals of 84 Division I games played last weekend -- 28 FBS contests, and 56 of the 57 FCS games. Among the prominent matchups where attendance couldn't match the Tommie-Johnnie total included Maryland at Central Florida, West Virginia at Kansas, Texas Tech at Houston, Virginia at Boise State, and Nevada at Washington State.

3. You may have already read this, but our crowd will also exceed the gate at 80 of the 81 Minnesota Twins regular-season games played at Target Field. It was larger than 20 of the 40 major-college bowl games last season.

4. It was a record-setting day on, too, for the game's live video stream. The video attracted 17,000 hits. Our previous high for live web traffic was 9,000 hits last December for an NCAA quarterfinal playoff loss to UW-Oshkosh.

5. Approximately 5,000 game programs were sold


History Books

6. The first touchdown in Target Field history was scored by UST tight end Matt Christenson, whose hometown of Nicollet, Minn., has 1,114 residents.

7. Target Field's first PAT kick in Target Field was scored by UST kicker Bryan Steinsapir, whose hometown of Santiago, Chile, has a metro-area population of 6.5 million residents.

8. The first football touch in Target Field was executed by Tommie kickoff man Carter Schmitz, whose hometown of Germantown, Wis., a Milwaukee suburb, has a population of just over 19,000.

9. The game's leading rusher, with a college career-best 61 yards, was UST senior fullback Jeremy Molina, whose hometown of Chicago, Ill., has 2.7 million residents.

10. There was a wide spectrum of media coverage before, during and after the game. A pregame feature story by Pat Borzi was published in the New York Times, which is printed 1,200 miles to the east. A national wrap-up story that led off with Tommie-Johnnie attendance was printed by the Los Angeles Times, located 1,930 miles to the west.

11. The Johnnies kept the game in doubt until the end despite UST's 386-151 total-offense advantage. St. Thomas held the Johnnies to one net yard rushing on 20 carries. In part because college football counts sack yardage lost as rushing yards, in the Toms' current four-game win streak in the series, they've allowed just 178 Johnnie rush yards on 115 runs in the four games combined. Sam Sura rushed 36 times for 210 yards to lead the last St. John's win over St. Thomas, in 2014.

12. The Johnnies' 151 total yards on Saturday were their fewest in 10 seasons, since they were limited to 139 yards in a 2008 playoff loss at UW-Whitewater (29 rushing, 110 passing). Saturday's rushing total was their fewest since a 2005 road win at Concordia-Moorhead (minus-15 yards).


Streak Talk

13. Since 2011 the Tommies are 70-0 in games when they allow 19 or fewer points and 69-0 in games when they lead at halftime.

14. Saturday was the first time in 31 games that the Tommies made two field goals in one game.

15. Saturday may have produced a Division III first: A Gatorade state player of the year as a QB (Jacques Perra, Minnesota 2013) threw a touchdown pass to another Gatorade state player of the year as a QB (Gabe Green, Illinois, 2014). Since switching from QB to WR this season, Green is averaging 32 yards on four catches with two touchdowns.

16. Saturday ended UST's streak of 39 consecutive games scoring three or more touchdowns in a game.

17. The two Johnnie touchdown drives were one play and two plays. St. Thomas also had a one-play TD drive.

18. St. Thomas' three-headed tailback platoon of Jordan Roberts, Josh Parks and Tucker Trettel combined for 101 tough yards on 30 rushes on Saturday.

19. The Toms' next contest, Sept. 30 at Augsburg, will feature another tough opposing quarterback. Quinn Frisell has thrown for 16 TD passes and 367 yards a game for a 3-1 Auggie team averaging 41 points a game overall but allowing 35 points a game in the conference.

20. St. Thomas, which moved up to No. 7 in both Division III polls, has now won 21 consecutive games against MIAC opponents.


Oliver Attack

21. Now about those Tommie soccer siblings: Tyler Oliver transferred to St. Thomas last season after starting his career at Eastern Illinois. In 29 games with the Tommies he has eight goals and six assists. This season Justin Oliver – himself a former Gatorade state player of the Year at Tartan High -- transferred to UST after starting his career at Eastern Illinois. Justin has collected nine goals and one assist in eight games.

22. From 2002 through 2014, St. Thomas Men's Soccer scored just five goals total in 15 contests against Gustavus. Last Saturday against the Gusties, UST scored four goals in the game's first 56:00 on the clock.

23. St. Thomas football, volleyball and soccer teams are all nationally ranked and are a combined 29-5-1 overall (11-1 MIAC).


Gene's Blog is a sports column penned by UST sports information director Gene McGivern. Gene is starting his 24th season at St. Thomas and 30th overall in the MIAC. He blogs periodically on various topics regarding the Tommies, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and Division III sports.

If you have comments or questions, e-mail Gene at