St. Thomas, Bethel will battle for likely playoff berth

GAME OF THE WEEK

St. Thomas (8-1, 6-1 MIAC) at Bethel (8-1, 6-1), 1:10 p.m., Saturday: Sole possession of second place in the MIAC and a likely berth in the Div. III playoffs is at stake. St. Thomas, ranked No. 9 in Division III, has won the past three games in the series. Bethel, ranked No. 22, is enjoying its best season since 2013. The only loss for each team was to St. John's. The Johnnies defeated Bethel 34-16 on Oct. 6, and a week later St. John's defeated St. Thomas 40-20.

WEEK 11 STORYLINES

Wis.-Whitewater (9-0) remained No. 1 in this week's Division III West Region rankings. St. John's is No. 2, followed by Whitworth (No. 3), Bethel (No. 4), Linfield (No. 5), St. Thomas (No. 6), Monmouth (No. 7) and Wis.-La Crosse (No. 8).

• The Division II Super Region Four rankings remained unchanged this week, with MSU Mankato No. 1, Tarleton State No. 2 and Minn.-Duluth No. 3.

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) and Northland will play for the MCAC and NJCAA Region XIII title Sunday at St. Cloud State. Northland (7-2), the defending state champion, defeated NDSCS (9-1), 14-7, on Oct. 13. Northland QB Craig Wells, a freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., leads the NJCAA with 31 TD passes and 305.1 passing yards per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Austin DeNoyer, RB, Martin Luther: The sophomore from Lake Mills, Wis., leads the UMAC with 896 rushing yards and is tied for the lead with 11 rushing TDs.

Jake Richter, WR, MSU Moorhead: The sophomore from Detroit Lakes, Minn., leads the NSIC in receiving yards per game (100.6) after catching 13 passes for 234 yards last week in the Dragons' victory over Bemidji State.

BY THE NUMBERS

18 Rushing TDs (a school single-season record) by MSU Mankato's Nate Gunn.

19 Sacks (in 16 career games) for Concordia-St. Paul sophomore DE Chris Garrett.

192.6 Yards allowed per game (fewest in Division II) by the Minn.-Duluth defense.

2,891 Passing yards (a school single-season record) for St. Scholastica's Zach Edwards.

JOEL RIPPEL