GAME OF THE WEEK
MSU Mankato (2-0) at Minn. Duluth (1-1), 6 p.m., Saturday: The top two picks in the NSIC preseason coaches’ poll face off in Duluth. MSU Mankato, ranked No. 8 in Division II, is coming off a 56-19 victory over Minn.-Crookston. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 20, are coming off a 33-21 victory over Upper Iowa. The Mavericks have won the past three meetings in the series, including 20-17 in 2015.
WEEK 3 STORYLINES
• The MIAC opens conference play with three teams — St. John’s (No. 7), St. Thomas (No. 10) and Concordia-Moorhead (No. 23) — ranked in the Div. III Top 25 for the first time since Week 9 of the 2015 season. St. John’s (2-0), which plays at St. Olaf, and St. Thomas (1-1), which plays at Carleton, will try to avoid looking past their opponent in anticipation of their showdown at Target Field in Minneapolis next week.
• Bethel will try to avoid opening a season 0-3 for the second straight year when it travels to Moorhead to take on Concordia (2-0), which is coming off a 25-17 victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater. A loss to Concordia last season in the third week left the Royals with an 0-3 record. The Royals regrouped to win four of their last five games to finish 5-5 overall and 5-3 in the MIAC. The Royals haven’t had a losing season since 1993.
• Macalester has opened a season 2-0 for the first time since 2012 with victories over rivals Carleton and Hamline. It’s the first time since 1985 that the Scots have beaten both Carleton and Hamline in the same season. The Scots are idle this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Casey Bednarski, K, MSU Mankato: The junior from Oconomowoc, Wis., a transfer from DuPage College, kicked four field goals — including a school- and NSIC-record 63-yarder and a 50-yarder — in the Mavericks’ victory over Minn.-Crookston.
Chad Johnson, RB, Concordia (Moorhead): The senior from Glyndon, Minn., leads the MIAC in rushing with 280 yards. Last week he rushed for 146 yards in 20 carries (his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game) in the Cobbers’ victory over Wisconsin-Whitewater.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 Losses in 20 nonconference regular-season games for St. Thomas in 10 seasons under coach Glenn Caruso. The Tommies lost at Wis.-Stout 25-22 on Saturday.
4 Interceptions (a school record) by SW Minnesota State’s Je’Darien Jackson-Hanchett in the Mustangs’ 51-35 victory over MSU Moorhead on Sept. 9.
348 Rushing yards (most in nation in NJCAA) by Fond du Lac running back Lorine Parker. Parker is a sophomore from Zephyrhills, Fla.