St. Thomas is ranked No. 3 in the 2018 preseason top-25 poll released Thursday by D3football.com.
UST has been nationally ranked in 118 of the last 119 D3Football.com polls since the start of 2009.
Mount Union, Mary Hardin-Baylor, St. Thomas, UW-Oshkosh and Linfield took the first five spots. Nine of the first 13 ranked schools are located west of Chicago.
Also from the MIAC, St. John's is ranked No. 11, and Concordia-Moorhead is third among 23 teams receiving votes just outside the top 25.
Under coach Glenn Caruso, the Tommies are 37-4 over the last three seasons. They will return 14 players with starting experience -- including eight on offense -- from an 11-2 squad of 2017 that reached the NCAA playoff quarterfinals. They had a season-ending road loss to eventual NCAA runner-up Mary Hardin-Baylor 24-10 in a game that was tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter.
The Tommies joined Mary Hardin-Baylor and Mount Union as the lone teams ranked in the top five each of the last three D3Football.com preseason polls. This marks the 10th consecutive season St. Thomas has been ranked in the top 25 in the preseason by D3football.com, including a top-five slot in six of the last eight years.
Over the last 13 seasons in Division III, just four programs have made multiple trips to the Stagg Bowl title game: Mount Union (12 times); UW-Whitewater (nine times); and Mary Hardin-Baylor and St. Thomas (twice each).
UST won the 2017 conference title with an 8-0 finish, including a fourth consecutive victory over archrival St. John's. It was the Toms' sixth MIAC championship in the last eight seasons.
The September 2017 Tommie-Johnnie game at Target Field shattered a Division III attendance record (37,355) and ranks among the largest college crowds ever to see a non-FCS football game.
Caruso surpassed 100 wins here (110-17 in 10 seasons). That includes a 92-12 record this decade (.885 win%).
UST's 21.9 net rushing yards allowed per game in 2017 were the fewest allowed by any NCAA football team (all four levels) in one season in the last 16 years.
UST's defense's 157.6 total yards allowed per game were the fewest allowed by any NCAA team in one season in the last 20 years. It was 50 yards better than the next closest team.
UST broke a conference and school record with one net yard allowed (51 plays) last fall against Gustavus, the fewest yards ever allowed in a conference game.
Four St. Thomas players received All-America honors last season, and one retrns in 2018: center Matt Beck. All-America honorees Austin Jochum (DL), Isaac Seering (S) and Matt Christenson (TE) were among a deep senior class that graduated.
Jochum became the third Tommie in a row to win the MIAC's annual Mike Stam Award for top lineman
UST's current 28-game football win streak over conference opponents -- tied for an MIAC record -- leads all 240 D-III programs and ranks in the top five among all NCAA institutions.
UST's 277 touchdowns scored over the last three seasons (41 games) rank second among all NCAA programs (Mount Union ranks first).
Best NCAA FB Records/This Decade
School Best D-III% W-L
Mount Union (D-III) (.950) 113-6
Mary Hardin-Baylor (D-III) (.927) 101-8
UW-Whitewater (D-III) (.916) 98-9
Alabama (FBS) (.892) 99-12
North Dakota State (FCS) (.891) 106-13
St. Thomas (D-III) (.885) 92-12
NW Missouri State (D-II) (.881) 97-13
Linfield (D-III) (.872) 82-12