GAME OF THE WEEK
Gustavus at St. John’s, 1 p.m., Saturday: The game has significant implications for the MIAC title and postseason berths. Gustavus (6-0) and St. Thomas (5-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the league. Gustavus had the same record a year ago when it took on St. John’s. The Gusties jumped to a 10-0 lead and trailed only 20-19 early in the fourth quarter before losing 29-19. Gustavus QB Mitch Hendricks, who leads the nation in passing yardage, threw for 356 against the Johnnies last season but was intercepted three times. The Gusties lost their final four games, although setbacks to Bethel and Concordia (Moorhead) were single-digit losses. St. John’s (4-1) needs a victory Saturday to keep its playoff hopes alive.
WEEK 7 STORY LINES
• St. Scholastica will put its 26-game UMAC winning streak on the line Saturday (6 p.m.) at Northwestern (St. Paul). Both teams are 5-0 in league play, 5-1 overall, meaning a postseason berth is likely at stake. It’s uncertain whether CSS starting QB Dakota Paulson will return after missing the last two games with an injury.
• Twin Cities fans can see the nation’s top Division II team, Minnesota State Mankato, play at Concordia (St. Paul) at noon Saturday. Concordia (1-5) has lost three consecutive games, allowing an average of 50 points in those games.
A key NSIC game finds Sioux Falls, 6-0 and ranked No. 4 nationally (d2football.com), at Southwest Minnesota State, 5-1. The last time Sioux Falls visited Marshall in 2013 it escaped with a 55-48 victory when Luke Papilion — still the Sioux Falls QB — ran 17 yards for a TD in the final minute.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jake Douglas, TE, Gustavus: It’s easy to overlook the senior in the Gusties’ passing attack, which generally features brothers Matt and Gabe Boyce and their combined 90 receptions. Douglas had only six catches before making nine receptions for 172 yards and three TDs in last Saturday’s 58-34 victory over St. Olaf.
Alquan Vickers, WR, Concordia (St. Paul): The redshirt freshman had 188 all-purpose yards, including a 91-yard kickoff return, in last week’s 52-20 loss to Upper Iowa. Vickers leads Division II nationally in combined return yards (737) and kickoff return TDs (2) and is 12th in all-purpose yards (172.5 per game).
BY THE NUMBERS
4 Sacks last Saturday by Minnesota State Mankato DE Joshua Gordon, the third time he has recorded four sacks in a game.
424 Passing yards by St. Cloud State QB Nate Meyer — third-highest total in school history — in last week’s 34-27 loss at Minnesota Duluth.
200 Career tackles for St. Scholastica senior linebacker Alex Mangan, including 13 in last week’s 41-7 victory over Iowa Wesleyan, when he also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and returned a blocked punt 50 yards for a TD.