Vinny Pallini set the tone for St. Thomas on Saturday.
The junior from Green Bay, Wis., returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and then converted the PAT to spark the Tommies to a 76-7 victory over Trinity International in St. Paul.
The Tommies, the favorite in the MIAC coaches’ preseason poll and ranked No. 3 in the d3football.com Top 25, added four touchdowns in the first quarter to build a 34-0 lead.
Josh Parks rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown and Tom Loeffler contributed three rushing touchdowns as the Tommies ran for 386 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Tommies defense limited Trinity International, an NAIA program from Deerfield, Ill., to 106 yards in total offense and seven first downs. Trinity was without Jonathan Santos, who passed for an NAIA record 732 yards last week.
St. John’s 27, Wis.-Stout 0: Junior Jackson Erdmann passed for 241 yards and four touchdowns to lead the host Johnnies, ranked No. 11, to their 14th consecutive victory in a season opener. Max Jackson and James Inman each had interceptions for the Johnnies.
Macalester 48, Carleton 38: Senior Cody Petrich threw a school-record six touhcdown passes as the Scots defeated Carleton in St. Paul to retain the Book of Knowledge trophy. Receiver Alec Beatty had eight catches for 201 yards, including three for touchdowns. Knights quarterback Christian Zaytoun threw five touchdown passes and was 46-for-64 for 482 yards, including 15 catches for 148 yards and three TDs by Fletcher Metz.
Augsburg 31, Ripon 28: Matthew Kreye recovered a Ripon fumble with 1:50 remaining to help the host Auggies hold on for the victory. Tyler Hanson’s 29-yard field goal with 5:44 remaining broke the 28-28 tie. On its ensuing possession Ripon drove to the Auggies 42-yard line before Kreye’s fumble recovery. Quinn Frisell passed for 239 yards and two touchdowns for the Auggies.
Bethel 41, Simpson 29: Sophomore Sam Gibas rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns to help the Royals outlast the Storm in Indianola, Iowa. Gibas’ 6-yard touchdown run with six minutes remaining gave the Royals a 35-22 lead. Simpson pulled within six points with 4:09 remaining, but the Royals sealed the victory with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Jaran Roste to Drew Larsen with 1:04 remaining.
Concordia (Moorhead) 28, Nebraska Wesleyan 3: Rylie Sheridan’s 91-yard touchdown run on the Cobbers’ second offensive possession and a stifling defense propelled the Cobbers to the victory in Moorhead, Minn. Sheridan finished with 128 yards in six carries and Blake Kragnes passed for two touchdowns and ran for another for the Cobbers.
Gustavus Adolphus 32, Martin Luther 20: Brayton Finch scored three touchdowns and Michael Veldman passed for 248 yards and three touchdowns to help the Gusties overcome a slow start in New Ulm, Minn. The host Knights led 13-6 in the first quarter.