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Game Preview - St. John's vs. St. Thomas at Target Field

A Record in the Making?
Gary Fasching SJU and Glenn Caruso UST
This game has been talked about for almost a year.   It will be the first football game at Target Field, the baseball home the Minnesota Twins.    Why would these teams be doing this you ask?   One word — Records.    This game has historically held the record for largest crowd to attend a DIII football game with 17,000 - 18,000 getting crammed in the Clemens Stadium in Collegeville.  That was until UW-Whitewater and UW-Oshkosh broke the record roughly a year after the largest crowd ever to see St. John’s and St. Thomas.   So far over 30,000 tickets have been sold for this year's game which would shatter the record, but the weather forecast for the game is showing that rain is likely — stay tuned.

Regardless of attendance, one record that St. John’s is hoping to break is the recent trend of dominance by St. Thomas, winners of 6 of the last 8 meetings (St. John’s leads all time 51-34-1 dating back to 1901).   St. John’s fans might feel like this is their year as they come into the game ranked 7th in the nation while St. Thomas is 10th after a surprising road loss two weeks ago to un-ranked UW-Stout.   Rankings and records don’t always matter in this rivalry as both schools always seem to bring out the best in each other.

The teams this season
St. John’s comes into the game averaging 67.6 points on offense while only allowing 7.   St. Thomas is averaging 45 on offense while allowing 12.7.    Looking at yardage, St. Thomas is averaging 453 yd/game while allowing 234.7 while the Johnnies have a MIAC leading 519.7 yd/game while allowing 163.    On paper, these look to favor St. John’s but the numbers are skewed by their 98-0 win against St. Scholastica — especially rushing yards that has accounted for 2/3 of St. John’s total offense.   These yards will be much tougher to come by against St. Thomas as they are allowing only 63 yd/game — 3rd best in the MIAC (St. John’s is #1).

Bottom line, I look for a very close game with an edge going towards St Thomas given their recent dominance.  I also do not expect them to commit the number of penalties that were a major contributor to their loss against UW-Stout.   Prediction - St. Thomas 31, St. John’s 28.

Editorial Note:  Your current contributor is a graduate of St. John’s and would be happy if the prediction is incorrect. 

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