Unbeatens collide

GAME OF THE WEEK

St. Thomas (5-0, 3-0 MIAC) at St. John's (5-0, 4-0), 1 p.m., Saturday: The 88th game in the series, which began in 1901, features two of the top three defenses in Division III. The Tommies, ranked No. 3 in the d3football.com Top 25, have the No. 2 ranked scoring defense (5.6 points per game), the No. 2 ranked scoring offense (61.2) and are ranked No. 1 in turnover margin (+14) in Division III. The No. 8 Johnnies are ranked No. 3 in scoring defense (5.8) and 20th in scoring offense (43.4.). The Tommies have won the past four meetings.

WEEK 7 Story lines

Unbeaten St. Olaf (5-0, 3-0 MIAC) plays host to Bethel (4-1, 2-1) on Saturday. With a victory, the Oles would be 6-0 for the first time since 2005, when they opened an 8-2 season with seven consecutive victories. The Oles, who have outscored their opponents 190-74, play Bethel, St. John's and St. Thomas in the next three weeks.

Bemidji State (5-1) is ranked No. 1 in Division II in red zone defense. The Beavers' opponents have scored points on only 10 of 22 trips (45.5 percent) into the Beavers' red zone.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nate Gunn, RB, MSU Mankato: The junior from Minooka, Ill., is second in the NSIC in rushing yards (620) and rushing touchdowns (12). His 12 TDs in six games match his total in 11 games last season.

Josh Parks, RB, St. Thomas: The senior from Chisago Lakes is averaging a conference-best 10.7 yards per carry in MIAC games — 395 yards and six TDs in 37 carries. On the season he's rushed for 591 yards (9.7 per carry).

BY THE NUMBERS

10 Sacks (a single-game school record) for 76 yards by MSU Mankato in its 42-20 victory over MSU Moorhead.

18 Consecutive victories against NSIC North teams by Sioux Falls before a 25-21 loss to Bemidji State last week.

19 Consecutive losses by Crown dating to October 2016.

JOEL RIPPEL