GAME OF THE WEEK
Bethel at St. Thomas, 1:10 p.m. Saturday: For the third consecutive week, Bethel (5-0, 3-0 MIAC) will face a fellow unbeaten team with first place in the conference standings at stake. Bethel, ranked No. 7 in the AFCA NCAA Division III poll, defeated Augsburg two weeks ago and rallied for a 15-14 victory over Concordia (Moorhead) last Saturday. No. 3 St. Thomas (5-0, 3-0) overcame six turnovers with a school-record 12 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in beating Gustavus Adolphus 28-14, the Tommies' 29th consecutive regular-season victory.
WEEK 7 STORY LINES
Daunting schedule: Augsburg (4-1, 3-1 MIAC), coming off a 48-17 victory over St. John's, travels to Northfield this week to face St. Olaf (5-1, 3-1). The teams are tied for third place in the MIAC standings. After the Oles, the Auggies play host to Concordia (Moorhead) and then play at St. Thomas. Only a one-point loss to Bethel kept the Auggies from an unbeaten first half of the season. The Auggies have made the D-III playoffs just once in school history -- in 1997.
Rare losing streak: St. John's has started MIAC play with an 0-4 record for the first time since 1929 and its four-game losing streak is its first since 1930.The Johnnies have not lost more than four conference games in a season since John Gagliardi became their coach in 1953. The Johnnies, who haven't had a sub-.500 record in the MIAC since going 3-4 in 1973, have four games remaining -- Carleton and Gustavus at home and Hamline and Bethel on the road.
Mavericks continue on a roll: Minnesota State Mankato has opened a season 6-0 for only the third time since 1926, but it's the second time in the past four seasons. The Mavericks, who rushed for 262 yards in a 52-14 victory at Augustana last Saturday, opened the 2009 season with 10 consecutive victories. The Mavericks play host to Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Matt O'Connell, QB, St. Thomas: The 6-0 sophomore from Clear Lake, Wis., leads the MIAC in passing (257.2 yards per game). He also leads the Tommies in rushing with 354 yards on 50 carries (7.1 yards per carry) and has passed for 1,286 yards and 10 TDs. He has completed 100 of 177 passes (56.5 percent).
Warren Matthews, RB, Southwest Minnesota State: The 5-9 senior from Minneapolis is third in the NSIC in rushing (89.2 yards per game). Matthews, who rushed for 150 yards in the Mustangs' 40-24 victory over Wayne State (Neb.) last Saturday, is sixth (1,916 yards) on the school's all-time rushing list.
BY THE NUMBERS
15 Turnovers in five games for unbeaten St. Thomas. The Tommies are minus-2 in the giveaway/takeaway category.
19 Consecutive games Sioux Falls had not allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards before Winona State's Rayon Simmons rushed for 191 yards in a 10-9 victory.
30 Career rushing touchdowns -- a school record -- for Southwest Minnesota State's Gannon Moore. Moore rushed for 157 yards and a TD in the Mustangs' victory over Wayne State.