GAME OF THE WEEK
Bethel (9-0, 7-0 MIAC) at St. John’s (7-2, 5-2), 1 p.m. Saturday: Bethel, ranked No. 6 in the d3football.com poll and No. 2 in the Div. III West Region poll, has clinched the MIAC title and the conference’s automatic spot in the Div. III playoffs. The Royals defeated St. Olaf, 47-0, last Saturday. The Johnnies, coming off a 20-14 victory over Hamline, are in a three-way tie – with St. Thomas and Concordia (Moorhead) for second place in the MIAC. Bethel has won the last three meetings between the two, including 27-22, in 2012.
WEEK 11 STORY LINES
• Div. II Super Region 3: NW Missouri State (10-0) remained No. 1 and MSU Mankato (10-0) remained No. 2 in the regional rankings. Minn. Duluth is ranked No. 4 and St. Cloud State is ranked No. 7. Henderson St. (No. 3), Pittsburg St. (No. 5) and Emporia St. (No. 6) round out the region’s top six. The top six teams in the final region rankings earn a spot in the Div. II playoffs.
• Div. III Central Region: Wis.-Whitewater, which has clinched the WIAC title and an automatic berth in the Div. III playoffs, is ranked No. 1 and Bethel is ranked No. 2 in this week’s regional rankings. The rest of the region’s Top 10 are: Linfield (3), Wis.-Oshkosh (4), Wis.-Platteville (5), Pacific Lutheran (6), St. Thomas (7), Wartburg (8), Concordia (Moorhead) (9) and St. John’s (10).
• Playoff implications: Concordia (Moorhead), St. John’s and St. Thomas will be in must-win situations on Saturday to keep their Div. III playoff hopes alive. Two other games on Saturday will have implications for those playoff hopes: Wis.-Platteville (8-1, 5-1 WIAC) at Wis.-Oshkosh (8-1, 5-1) and Linfield (8-0) at Pacific (Ore.) Pacific Lutheran (8-1) has concluded its regular season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Charlie Kern, QB, SW Minnesota State: The 6-3 junior from Belle Plaine is second in the NSIC in total offense (314 yards per game) and has thrown a NSIC-leading 28 TD passes. Kern has passed for 2,759 yards and completed 64.5 percent of his passes with just seven interceptions
Josh Bungum, WR, St. John’s: The 5-9 sophomore from Paynesville, Minn., leads the MIAC with 74 receptions. As a freshman in 2012, Bungum led the Johnnies with 42 receptions.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 Times – since joining the NSIC in 2008 – that MSU Mankato has started a season 10-0. The Mavericks also opened with 10 consecutive victories in 2009 and 2012.
5 MIAC conference titles for Bethel, which earned its first conference title since 2007 with a 47-0 victory over St. Olaf last Saturday.
9 Winning seasons in the 46-year history of SW Minnesota State football. The Mustangs defeated Concordia (St. Paul) 55-24 last Saturday for their sixth victory of the season – their most since 2008.