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Football gets top spot in MIAC preseason poll

Mike Ekern photo
Mike Ekern photo

2018 MIAC Football Preseason news release

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St. Thomas repeated as the preseason pick atop the 2018 MIAC Football Coaches' Poll released Thursday. This is the 10th year in a row Coach Glenn Caruso's Tommies have been picked first or second in the coaches' summer voting.

St. John's, Concordia, Bethel and Gustavus again took the 2-3-4-5 poll spots. The Johnnies took two first-place votes, while St. Thomas received the other seven.

The Tommies have to travel this fall to face those four teams that are picked 2-3-4-5 in the poll, and get them all at home again in 2019.

Led by more than 50 juniors and seniors, St. Thomas is also ranked No. 3 nationally by D3Football.com.

UST will play its first three 2018 games -- and six of its first eight -- at home at Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium.

A key three-game stretch from Sept. 29-Oct. 13 starts with a road game at Concordia (the Cobbers' Homecoming); continues with a home game against Augsburg (UST's Homecoming and Family Weekend); and concludes with the annual Tommie-Johnnie showdown (this season back in Collegeville). 

The Sept. 1 opener is against Trinity International, an NAIA school located in Deerfield, Ill. It will be Tommie Football's first non-NCAA Division III opponent since 1997 (Concordia-St. Paul). Concordia (then known as the Comets and now Golden Bears) was in NAIA before it joined NCAA Division II in 1999.

The Tommies graduated four players who received All-America honors during their Tommie career. But they return 32 of their 50 players listed on last year's postseason two-deeps, led by 2017 All-America center Matt Beck. That includes at least 14 players with starting experience -- including eight on offense -- from an 11-2 squad of 2017 that reached the NCAA playoff quarterfinals.

St. Thomas football returns 85 career touchdown runs or receptions from these seven backs or receivers: Tucker Trettel (31), Josh Parks (22), Stephen Wagner, WR Gabe Green, QB Jaques Perra, WR Vinny Pallini and WR Emitt Peisert.

 

Looking Back

Over the previous eight seasons, the Toms have a 60-4 record in conference play. That includes six MIAC championships and five 10-0 regular-season records in the span since 2010.

Overall in 11 seasons under Caruso, the Tommies are 110-17, including a 92-12 slate this decade. 

Over the last 13 seasons in Division III, just four programs have made multiple trips to the Stagg Bowl title game: Mount Union (11 times), UW-Whitewater (nine times), and St. Thomas and Mary Hardin-Baylor (two each).

St. Thomas has been ranked in the D3Football.com top 25 for 118 of the last 119 polls.