GAME OF THE WEEK
Sioux Falls at Minnesota State Mankato, 1 p.m. Saturday: Sioux Falls (8-1, 4-1 NSIC South), ranked No. 17 in the AFCA Division II poll, has won three consecutive games since a 10-9 loss at Winona State on Oct. 6. MSU Mankato (9-0, 5-0 NSIC South), ranked No. 6 in the AFCA Division II poll and No. 2 in the d2football.com poll, outlasted Wayne State 42-35 last Saturday.
WEEK 10 STORY LINES
MIAC title chase: With two weeks left in the regular season, two games this week will feature the top four teams in the MIAC standings. Bethel (7-1, 5-1 MIAC), which is tied for second place, travels to Northfield to take on fourth-place St. Olaf (6-2, 4-2) while conference-leading St. Thomas (8-0, 6-0) travels to Moorhead to take on Concordia (7-1, 5-1), which is tied for second. St. Thomas, which has won the past two conference titles, can clinch a share of the title with a victory Saturday.
Division III region rankings: Three MIAC teams were ranked in the Division III West Region rankings released Wednesday -- St. Thomas at No. 3, Bethel at No. 4 and Concordia (Moorhead) at No. 5. Unbeaten Linfield (7-0) was ranked No. 1 in the region, followed by Wisconsin-Oshkosh at No. 2. Cal Lutheran (No. 6), Coe (No. 7), Pacific Lutheran (No. 8), Wisconsin-Platteville (No. 9) and Lake Forest (No. 10) round out the region's top 10.
Mavericks fall to No. 2: Despite a 42-35 victory on the road at Wayne State, MSU, Mankato dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the NCAA Div. II Super Region 3 rankings. The Mavericks were supplanted by Henderson State, which was ranked No. 2 in the initial region rankings. Henderson State (9-0) defeated Southern Arkansas 44-36 last week. Three other NSIC teams are ranked in the region top 10: Minn. Duluth (No. 7), Winona State (No. 8) and Sioux Falls (No. 9). The top six teams in the final region rankings earn a spot in the Div. II playoffs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tom Obarski, P/K, Concordia (St. Paul): The 5-11 sophomore, an Apple Valley graduate, kicked a 59-yard field goal in the Golden Bears' 35-27 loss to Augustana last Saturday. It is the longest field goal in NCAA Div. II this season. Obarski, who also has field goals of 56 and 52 yards, is third in the NSIC with a 40.3-yard punting average.
Maze Thompson, LB, St. John's: The 6-2 sophomore, a Mounds View graduate, had 12 tackles (nine solo), three tackles for loss and a sack in the Johnnies' 31-17 victory over Gustavus. Thompson also forced a fumble and blocked a field goal. On the season, Thompson has 51 tackles (21 solo) and is eighth in the MIAC with 6.5 tackles for loss.
BY THE NUMBERS
8 Consecutive victories for Northwestern (Roseville), which has clinched a share of the UMAC title.
70 Yards Bethel's Landen Strilzuk returned a punt for a TD in the Royals' 56-21 victory over Hamline. It was the longest return by a Bethel player since 1975.
606 Passing yards (an NSIC single-game record) by Upper Iowa's Cole Jaeschke in the Peacocks' 54-41 loss to Sioux Falls.