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Top area college games this weekend

  • September 14, 2012 - 5:58 AM

GAME OF THE WEEK

St. Thomas at St. John's, 1 p.m. Saturday: The last time these two rivals played this early in the season was 1991. The Tommies, ranked No. 6 in the d3football.com Top 25 and winners of 26 consecutive regular-season games, and the Johnnies are each 2-0. Each team has a three-point, come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Tommies beat the Johnnies 27-26 in overtime in Collegeville in 2010 and 63-7 in St. Paul last season -- the first time they won back-to-back games in the series since 1986 and 1987. The Johnnies, who defeated the Tommies 12 consecutive times between 1998 and 2009, have won six consecutive games since the 2011 loss to St. Thomas.

WEEK 3 STORY LINES

Auspicious start: MIAC teams prepared for the start of their conference schedules by going unbeaten in the first two weeks of the 2012 season. After going 7-0 in nonconference games in Week 1, they went 6-0 last week. It's the first time since at least 1961 that MIAC teams have opened the season with consecutive unbeaten weekends. After two weeks, MIAC teams rank 1-9 in NCAA Division III strength of schedule.

Trophy game: MSU Mankato and St. Cloud State first met in football in 1923. Since 1978, the two have been playing for the Traveling Training Kit trophy. On Saturday, MSU Mankato (2-0) will be going for its first victory in St. Cloud since 1999. The Huskies (1-1), who have won three consecutive meetings in the series (and eight of the last nine), defeated the Mavericks 31-13 in St. Cloud last year. The Huskies lead the all-time series 40-32-4.

Road weary: Eureka (Ill.), which lost to St. Scholastica 35-10 in Duluth last Saturday, makes its second 1,000-mile round trip in eight days with a game at Crown. Eureka's Sam Durley, who passed for an NCAA Division III single-game record 736 yards in a 62-55 victory over Knox on Sept. 1, was held to 228 yards by Scholastica. Crown (1-1) ended a 12-game losing streak with a 35-28 victory at MacMurray last Saturday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brett Baune, RB, Concordia (Moorhead): The 6-3 senior from Fargo, N.D., rushed for a school-record 258 yards in the Cobbers' 38-14 victory over Buena Vista. Baune's effort -- 10.3 yards per carry in 25 carries -- was part of the Cobbers' 547 rushing yards. Baune, who rushed for 770 yards last season, has rushed for 329 yards in two games.

Tre Spears, RB, Concordia (St. Paul): The 5-10 sophomore from Chicago, who sat out the 2011 season because of an injury, leads the NSIC in rushing. Last week, Spears rushed for 187 yards to help the Golden Bears rally for a 34-24 victory at Minnesota-Crookston. Spears, who has rushed for 304 yards, rushed for 67 yards in a backup role as a freshman in 2010.

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Rushing touchdowns (tying a school record) for Crown's Amos Schmidt in the Storm's 35-28 victory over MacMurray.

28 Victories in the past 30 road games for Minn.-Duluth, which plays at Concordia (St. Paul) on Saturday.

5,419 Career passing yards for St. Cloud State junior Phillip Klaphake. Klaphake is third on the school's career list.

JOEL RIPPEL

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