St. Thomas and St. John’s both will play home games to open the NCAA Division III football playoffs Saturday, and for the second year in a row, the two MIAC schools would meet in the second round if they both advance.
St. Thomas (10-0) will play La Verne (9-1) in the first round of the 32-team tournament, which was unveiled Sunday. St. John’s (9-1) faces Dubuque (8-2). Both games are at noon.
St. Thomas is the outright MIAC champion and the fourth-ranked team in D-III. The Tommies are averaging 56.4 points per game, with their 35-14 victory at St. John’s on Sept. 26 their closest game. It was also the Johnnies’ only loss.
St. John’s, which is making its 22nd D-III playoff appearance, beat Dubuque 45-9 to open the season.
On the other side of the bracket, UMAC champion St. Scholastica (9-1) will visit Wisconsin-Oshkosh (9-1). Wisconsin-Whitewater (9-1) plays host to St. Norbert (10-0) and could potentially face Mount Union in the semifinals.
Minnesota State Mankato (10-1) received the second seed in Super Regional 3 of the 28-team D-II tournament and will play host to Emporia State (9-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Mavericks lost to Colorado State-Pueblo in last year’s championship game.
Two other NSIC schools are also in the regional; fifth-seeded Augustana (9-2) plays at Humboldt State (9-1) and Sioux Falls (9-2) at Henderson State (10-1). Minnesota Duluth (9-2) did not get an invite but will play Fort Hays State in the Mineral Water Bowl on Dec. 5 in Excelsior Springs, Mo.