St. Thomas will be looking to end its longest losing streak of Coach Glenn Caruso's tenure when it opens its third season in the Pioneer League on Saturday.
The Tommies (1-2) have lost consecutive games — at South Dakota and at Harvard — for the first time since the 2007 season, when they closed out a 2-8 season with four consecutive losses. Caruso was hired in January 2008.
The Tommies, the defending Pioneer League champion and heavy favorite to repeat in the conference coaches' preseason poll, play host to Morehead State (Ky.), which was picked 10th in the preseason poll. The Tommies and Eagles have never met in football.
St. Thomas has a 10-game winning streak in the Pioneer League dating to 2021. The Tommies have won 27 consecutive games at O'Shaughnessy Field — the longest home winning streak in college football. The Tommies haven't lost at O'Shaughnessy since the 2016 season.
Morehead State (1-1) was idle last week after losing at Mercer 48-22 on Sept. 9. Last season, the Eagles were 2-9 overall and lost their last six conference games to finish 1-7 in the league.
Here are four other Minnesota college football story lines this week:
MIAC opens conference play
Bethel, ranked No. 19 in Division III, plays at No. 8 St. John's on Saturday as MIAC teams begin their third season of the divisional format (Northwoods Division and Skyline Division).
Bethel and St. John's have dominated their respective divisions in the first two seasons of the format. The Royals (Skyline) and Johnnies (Northwoods) have each gone 4-0 in each season and then faced off in the championship game, with the Johnnies winning the MIAC title each time.
Bethel (1-1) is coming off a 24-0 nonconference victory at UW-Eau Claire on Sept. 16. The Johnnies (1-1) were idle last week after losing at UW-Whitewater 56-28 on Sept. 9.
Augsburg off to historic start
Augsburg has started its season with two nonconference victories — 52-10 over Northwestern (St. Paul) and 62-0 over Martin Luther. The 114 points are the most in two games in school history.
The Auggies, who open conference play at Gustavus Adolphus on Saturday, are ranked fourth in D-III in scoring offense and eighth in scoring defense.
Cade Sheehan, a senior from Rochester Mayo, passed for 445 yards and threw five touchdowns in the two victories. Sheehan ranks fifth in passing yards (5,594) and third in passing touchdowns (60) in school history.
Beavers, Mavericks look to remain unbeaten
Bemidji State and Minnesota State Mankato, who tied for the lead in the NSIC with 3-0 records, will try to avoid upsets this week before their showdown in Bemidji on Sept. 30.
On Saturday, Bemidji State, ranked No. 7 in Division II, travels to Bismarck, N.D., to take on the University of Mary (0-3), while fifth-ranked MSU Mankato plays host to Concordia (St. Paul), which is 1-2.
Bemidji State edged MSU Mankato 131-125 in the voting for the top spot in the NSIC coaches' preseason poll.
Strand among Division II leaders
MSU Moorhead sophomore Jack Strand ranks in the Top 10 in D-II passing categories. He is first in completions (102), third in passing yards (1,037), tied for second in touchdown passes (12) and is sixth in completion percentage (70.3).
In the Dragons' season-opener — a 31-23 loss at Wayne State (Neb.) — Strand completed 42 of 58 passes for 351 yards. The 42 completions were three shy of the NSIC single-game record, which he set last season.
Strand, from Bloomer, Wis., threw for 2,280 yards and 16 TDs last season. The Dragons (2-1) play at Augustana on Saturday.