Game of the week

St. Thomas at Gustavus, 1 p.m. Saturday: St. Thomas already has secured the MIAC’s automatic Division III playoff berth, but the Tommies are playing for postseason seeding and home-field games, while the Gusties have a chance to finish 8-2 for the first time since 1998. Even with a victory, Gustavus would be a long shot to get a playoff bid. But the Gusties could put an exclamation mark on the program’s resurgence. It’s the final regular-season game for a trio of seniors who have made Gustavus one of the nation’s top passing teams: QB Mitch Hendricks (2,876 passing yards, 32 TDs) and wide receivers Gabe and Matt Boyce, who have combined for 133 catches and 22 TD receptions this season.

 

Week 11 storylines

• Minnesota State Mankato can’t afford a letdown after last week’s 44-3 victory over Sioux Falls when it hosts Wayne State on Saturday. The Mavericks look to be in great shape as far as earning a Division II postseason bid, rising to No. 2 in the Super Region Three rankings. Sioux Falls dropped to No. 7. The top seven region teams will earn playoff bids. NSIC member Augustana is No. 5.

• St. John’s will likely secure a Division III playoff bid with a win Saturday over visiting St. Olaf. But there’s little margin for error in D-III. There are only six at-large bids available nationally, and UW-Whitewater and Wartburg are among 8-1 teams in search of those coveted at-large bids. St. John’s has a 45-9 victory over Iowa Intercollegiate Conference champ Dubuque, which has defeated Wartburg. St. Scholastica has a bye this week after securing the Upper Midwest Conference’s automatic bid with a 9-0 league record.

Players to watch

Dre Person, RB, Minnesota Crookston: The junior from Detroit ran for 215 yards and four TDs in a 45-10 victory last Saturday over Minot State. The victory snapped the Golden Eagles’ 24-game losing streak dating back to Oct. 16, 2013. Person has 775 yards rushing this season, and his average of 77.5 yards rushing per game is sixth in the NSIC.

 

William Johnson, DB, Augsburg: The Auggies edged Hamline 35-26 thanks in large part to Johnson’s two blocked kicks, both leading to points, and a 54-yard interception that set up another score. Johnson blocked a punt that led to a TD, then blocked an extra point that resulted in a 98-yard return for a defensive two-pointer.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Tackles by Gustavus’ Iker Ortiz-Hidalgo that resulted in negative yardage against Concordia. Ortiz-Hidalgo had a sack and three tackles for losses, plus a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

21 Rushing TDs for St. Thomas’ Jordan Roberts, one off the Division III national lead, and two ahead of fellow MIAC back Sam Sura of St. John’s.

12.8 Points per game allowed by Minnesota State Mankato, good for second nationally in Division II behind Northwest Missouri State’s 11.8 points per game. NW Missouri State is 10-0 and ranked No. 1 in Super Region Three, just ahead of MSU Mankato.

Dennis Brackin