GAME OF THE WEEK

St. Thomas (5-1, 3-1 MIAC) at Bethel (5-1, 4-0), 1:10 p.m., Saturday: Since losing to St. John’s in their conference opener, the Tommies, ranked No. 22 in the d3football.com poll, have been impressive in victories over St. Olaf (69-7), Augsburg (45-27) and Hamline (62-24). MIAC-leading Bethel, ranked No. 11, has won five consecutive games since a 31-14 loss to Wartburg in its season opener. The Royals defeated the University of Chicago 52-21 last Saturday. Bethel defeated the Tommies 28-21 last year to end a five-game losing streak to UST.

 

WEEK 8 STORY LINES

• MSU Mankato, which is 7-0 this season and has won 29 consecutive regular-season games, moved into the No. 1 spot in the d2football.com and AFCA Division II Top 25 this week, after defending Division II champion NW Missouri State lost to Pittsburg State 35-17 at home last Saturday. The loss ended a 22-game winning streak for the Bearcats. NW Missouri State and MSU Mankato were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the Super 3 Region rankings last season. The first region rankings for 2014 will be released in early November.

• Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance Leipold has reached 100 career victories faster than any other coach in NCAA football history. The Warhawks’ 52-3 victory over UW-Eau Claire last Saturday — the Warhawks’ 23rd consecutive victory — gave Leipold, in his eighth season as coach, a 100-6 career record. Leipold broke the record set by Gil Dobie, who reached the milestone in his 108th game while at Cornell in 1921. Dobie, a Hastings, native and University of Minnesota graduate, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. The Warhawks are 29-1 in Division III playoff games under Leipold.

• Central Lakes, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 8 in the NJCAA poll, completed its regular season with an 8-0 record. The Rangers will play Fond du Lac on Saturday in the MCAC quarterfinals. Freshman QB Jake Faber has passed for 2,254 yards and 30 TDs to pace Central Lakes. Other games Saturday: Vermilion at Dakota College, Minnesota West at Fergus Falls and NDSCS at Rochester.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cody Hickman, LB, Minn.-Morris: The 5-9 senior from Morris has moved into eighth place on the Division III career tackles list with 459. Hickman, who has 80 tackles this season, set the school-record with 140 last season.

Adam Jiskra, WR, MSU Moorhead: The 6-2 junior from Grafton, N.D., has become the Dragons’ leader in career receiving yards (2,468). This season Jiskra leads the Dragons with 53 receptions for 837 yards and six TDs.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Consecutive victories for Macalester — the Scots’ longest winning streak since 2002.

27 Sacks (first in the NSIC) by MSU Mankato. The Mavericks have 14 the past two weeks.

70 Victories (in 81 games) for St. Thomas under coach Glenn Caruso.

Joel Rippel