Area colleges: Can the Oles top the Johnnies?

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2011 - 12:02 PM

SATURDAY'S STORY LINES

• If St. John's hopes to reach its goal of a 6-4 record, it must defeat No. 24 St. Olaf (7-1) in its final home game of the season. The Johnnies (4-4) took a significant step forward in last week's 47-14 pummeling of Carleton, recording season highs in points, passing yards (371) and total offense (495 yards).

• St. Cloud State (8-1), which rose to No. 6 in the Division II rankings after ambushing Minnesota Duluth 35-7 last week, goes to Bemidji State (6-3) for a tough road test. The Beavers had been ranked No. 20 before losing back-to-back games, and they will be eager to get their season back on course.

• Pity poor Minnesota Crookston (1-8), still in search of its first NSIC victory since 2008. The Golden Eagles -- who have lost 34 consecutive league games -- aren't likely to end that streak at No. 15 Minnesota Duluth (7-2), which will be looking to unload a whole lot of frustration after last week's drubbing.

• St. Thomas (9-0) ends its regular-season schedule at Carleton (2-6) in the hope of running the table for the second consecutive season. The Tommies, who finished the regular season 10-0 in 2010, have an 18-game winning streak against the Knights dating to 1992.

• A week after setting multiple school records in a 70-20 victory over Presentation, St. Scholastica (8-0) finishes its regular-season home schedule against Martin Luther (2-7). The Saints rolled up 700 total yards, 406 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns last week as they clinched the first NCAA playoff berth for the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brent Graboski, WR, St. John's

The aptly named senior fell just 10 yards short of setting a Johnnies single-game record for receiving yardage last Saturday, when he caught five passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns to help defeat Carleton. His shortest gain of the day went for 19 yards, with his touchdown catches covering 70 yards and 31 yards.

Taylor Selby, OLB, Concordia (St. Paul)

Wreaking havoc on NSIC offenses is the specialty of this senior, who leads the league in tackles for loss (18 1/2) and forced fumbles (four). In last week's victory over Minnesota Crookston, Selby had six tackles for loss -- tying the school record he set a week earlier -- and added two sacks, three forced fumbles and a pass breakup.

BY THE NUMBERS

3,004

Career rushing yards for St. Olaf running back Leon Clark, whose 174 yards in last week's victory over Hamline made him the third player in Oles history to crack the 3,000-yard mark.

1

Interception thrown this year by St. Scholastica quarterback Alex Thiry, who has thrown for 28 touchdowns and remains the most efficient passer in Division III (233.40 rating).

0

Home losses for Minnesota State Mankato, which finished 5-0 at Blakeslee Stadium and will complete the regular season at Southwest Minnesota State and Minnesota Duluth.

1949

The last year St. Thomas claimed a second consecutive MIAC football title, a feat it repeated last week when it clinched at least a share of the championship with a victory over Gustavus.

5

Blocked kicks in last week's Bemidji State-Northern State game; the Beavers thwarted three NSU field-goal attempts, while the Wolves blocked a pair of punts as they defeated BSU 14-0.

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