COLLEGEVILLE, MINN. – St. John’s football is used to having its way in season openers, but this one was off the charts even for the Johnnies.
St. John’s rolled to a 98-0 victory over St. Scholastica on Saturday, scoring the most points in a game involving two NCAA Division III teams in 40 years.
The four-time national champion Johnnies won their 13th consecutive season opener. Their previous three were won by an average margin of 37 points. They almost tripled that margin against the Saints.
It was the most points in a game between D-III teams since host Concordia (Moorhead) beat Macalester 97-6 on Sept. 24, 1977. The D-III record for points scored in a game came Sept. 6, 2003, when host Rockford beat then-NAIA program Trinity Bible College 105-0.
On Saturday, the Johnnies, ranked No. 10 in the D3Football.com preseason poll, had 560 yards of offense to the Saints’ 52. That included a 201-1 advantage in the first quarter, which ended with St. John’s leading 28-0.
The Johnnies added 35 points in the second for a 63-0 halftime lead — the largest halftime lead in school history. In a 69-0 victory over Hamline in 1993, St. John’s led 62-0 at halftime.
Freshman Bryar Topo scored the last of St. John’s 14 touchdowns — on a 21-yard run — with 10:06 remaining. The Johnnies had 13 players score a TD. Will Kleinschmidt, who caught two TD passes, was the only player to score more than one.
Jackson Erdmann, the first of three Johnnies quarterbacks, completed all seven of his passes for 129 yards and three TDs. The Johnnies defense contributed two touchdowns, a 37-yard interception return by David Franta and a 73-yard return of a fumble recovery by Max Jackson.
The Johnnies’ previous record for points scored was 77 set in a 77-12 victory over Bethel on Oct. 16, 1993. That victory was the 300th career victory for legendary coach John Gagliardi.
St. John's plays host to Presentation College, an NAIA school in South Dakota, next weekend.