September 12, 2013

MIAC Football Preview - Week 2

September 12, 2013 - http://www.miacathletics.com/sports/fball/2013-14/releases/previews/week_2

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It doesn't get much better than this.

The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) opened the 2013 football season last weekend with seven of its nine teams in action, including three new head coaches making their much-anticipated debuts. When the final buzzers sounded, the MIAC stood victorious in all seven games against nonconference foes, and Saint John's, St. Olaf and Hamline fans all celebrated victories at the dawning of new eras.

The season started in incredible fashion with a rare kickoff under the Fright night lights, as Saint John's traveled to UW-River Falls to begin its first season without legendary John Gagliardi on the sidelines in 61 years. Gary Fasching - a former Johnnie player and longtime Gagliardi assistant - opened his tenure as the team's head coach with an unforgettable victory as SJU rallied with 10 points in the final 55 seconds to stun the Falcons, 17-14, and start the MIAC season in impeccable style.

That would prove to be the MIAC's closest call during a banner weekend for the league, as the conference went 7-0 over the opening weekend for the second-straight season. The league improved to 23-2 in nonconference play in 2012 and 2013 combined while continuing its impressive performances against out-of-league foes.

St. Olaf used a big day in the passing game to give Head Coach Craig Stern a 37-18 home-field victory over Northwestern to begin his tenure. Stern was promoted to the head job in the offseason, after serving as the Oles' assistant head coach. Hamline also welcomed home alum and former assistant Chad Rogosheske in style. The Pipers gave their new head coach a 41-33 victory over UM-Morris in their season and home debut Saturday afternoon.

The MIAC's three-time defending champion St. Thomas proved worthy of its No.2 national ranking with a 52-7 thrashing over UW-Eau Claire in a rematch of the Tommies' closest regular-season call a year ago. The two MIAC teams receiving votes in the Top 25 - Concordia and Augsburg - also opened in style. The Cobbers rolled to a 39-14 win over Jamestown, and the Auggies were explosive on the road, beating Concordia-Wis. 51-17. Carleton added a 29-10 win over Grinnell in front of the Knights' home fans, thanks to a 20-0 first-half performance. No. 6 Bethel and Gustavus were both idle to start the season, and begin their 2013 campaigns this week. For more details on a thrilling start to the season, a complete recap of week one is available online.

The next task for the MIAC? Six more nonconference games on the schedule this week, and the chance to match last season's collective start of 13-0 over the season's first two weeks. After heartbreak against the Johnnies, UW-River Falls welcomes Glenn Caruso's St. Thomas team for another night game - this time a Thursday night, 7:10 p.m. affair - and the Tommies will look for another complete performance against a WIAC foe.

Saturday features five MIAC nonconference games - all with 1 p.m. starts. No. 6 Bethel opens at home against Wartburg and Gustavus hosts Simpson as both teams make their 2013 debut. The Johnnies flip-flop opponents with the Tommies as the Fasching era hosts its first home game, with UW-Eau Claire coming to Collegeville after its loss to UST. St. Olaf hits the road to take on Luther in Decorah, Iowa, and Concordia hopes to keep its strong start rolling with a trip Iowa as well to face Buena Vista.

The rest of the Week 2 MIAC Football Preview has a complete schedule and links to track this weekend's action, including links to the MIAC football scoreboard and free mobile app to easily stay connected to the conference. The preview also contains a MIAC Media's football coverage, a look at how MIAC teams rank in the national polls, links to recent MIAC football media coverage, MIAC Athletes-of-the-Week, "In the Trenches" to honor outstanding play on the offensive and defensive lines, and a closer look at some telling statistics in "By the Numbers."

The MIAC thanks Supreme Images Photography for contributing graphics for the MIAC Football Preview throughout the season.


MIAC FOOTBALL WEEK 2 - SCHEDULE AND LINKS

Schedule | Scoreboard | Stats | Standings | App |

Thu. Sep. 12

St. Thomas

 

Wis.-River Falls

 

7:10 PM

Audio

 
 
 

Sat. Sep. 14

Concordia

 

Buena Vista

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video Audio

 
 

Wis.-Eau Claire

 

Saint John's

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Audio Audio Directions 

 
 

Wartburg

 

Bethel

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video

 
 

St. Olaf

 

Luther

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video

 
 

Simpson

 

Gustavus

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Live stats Video Audio

 

MIAC MEDIA COVERS FOOTBALL'S OPENING WEEK

MIAC Media offered extensive coverage of the start of the 2013 MIAC football season. The MIAC Weekly Podcast with Host Mike Gallagher covered the first week of action and interviewed Hamline Head Coach Chad Rogosheske about his first win at his alma mater. The MIAC Media Blog provided a report from its tour of five MIAC preseason camps, along with other season-opening thoughts. And the MIAC Media video series aired a pair of football videos - one to promote the start of the season, and another with highlights from Saturday's action in Northfield as both Carleton and St. Olaf opened with wins. The MIAC also has photo galleries online from both the Carleton and St. Olaf victories.


MIAC IN THE POLLS

The MIAC entered the 2013 with several teams recognized by various national polls, starting with the defending national runner-up, St. Thomas, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation by D3football.com, Lindy's Division III Top 25 and the USA TODAY Preseason Top 10. Bethel joined the Tommies in all three rankings, at No. 6 (USA TODAY), No. 8 (D3football.com) and No. 12 (Lindy's). Concordia and Augsburg both received votes from D3football.com as well.

After one week, the only updated poll is the D3football.com Top 25, with the only MIAC changes coming in the "Others receiving votes" section. However, St. Thomas received eight first-place votes and 601 total points to move as close as possible to the No. 1 spot. The second-ranked Tommies were just one point and two first-place votes behind defending Division III champ Mount Union (602 points, 10 first-place votes).

Bethel remained at No. 8 with 404 points. Augsburg went from one point in the preseason poll to 53 after week one, and is now the first team outside the Top 25 in the "Others receiving votes section. Concordia received 17 points as well, and is the seventh team outside the Top 25, giving the MIAC four teams among the top 32 in the nation.

D3football.com Top 25 | AFCA Division III Coaches' Poll | Lindy's Division III Top 25 | USA TODAY Preseason Top 10 |


MIAC IN THE PRESS

Here's a look at the top MIAC football stories in the media over the past week.

9/12/2013 - The MIAC 3: Top games on the gridiorn to watch for this weekend - Bring Me The News
9/10/2013 - Rajkowski column: Taking an early look at MIAC - St. Cloud Times
9/6/2013 - Legendary task: Fasching takes over for Gagliardi at St. John's - Star Tribune
9/4/2013 - Two Division III schools already have huge losses - USA Today


ATHLETES-OF-THE-WEEK

Concordia's Griffin Neal was the only MIAC quarterback to top the 300-yard passing mark over the season's opening weekend. His 303 passing yards (16-for-19) and three total touchdowns in the Cobbers' 39-14 win over Jamestown resulted in his selection as MIAC Football Offensive Player-of-the-Week. The first MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week award of 2013 went to Carleton's Josh Estes, who led a strong defensive effort in a 29-10 win over Grinnell. Estes had 10 tackles to lead all MIAC defensive backs and a key interception on Carleton's two-yard line. Saint John's freshman kicker Alexi Johnson started his college career in style, earning the MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week Award. Johnson kicked the game-winning, 40-yard field goal with two seconds left to help the Johnnies defeat UW-River Falls, 17-14, on Friday night. 

In addition, Augsburg was honored with a pair of selections to the D3football.com Team of the Week. Junior LB Michael Juberian was selected for his 10-tackle performance, which included two tackles for a loss, one sack and a forced fumble. The Auggies offensive line was also honored on the Team of the Week. See "In the Trenches" below for full details on their performance.

MIAC Football Athletes-of-the-Week | D3football.com Team of the Week |


IN THE TRENCHES

The Augsburg offensive line certainly started its 2013 in mid-season form, as the Auggies up front paved the way for 309 yards on the ground on 41 attempts, good for an average of 7.5 yards per carry and five scores. After one week, Augsburg leads the MIAC in rushing yards, yards per carry, rushing touchdowns and total offense (606 yards) and is second in total points (51). The line didn't allow a sack all game, and just three tackles-for-loss. The Auggie starters on the offensive line in Saturday's 51-17 win over Concordia-Wis. were center Chad Thompson, guards Matt Green and Cory Strasserand tackles Bob Rose and Andrew Konieczny.

d is The Hamline defensive line had an outstanding game in its season-opening win over UM-Morris, as the Cougars struggled to move the ball on the ground, or keep their quarterback clean. The Pipers allowed just 33 yards on the ground on 25 carries for a paltry average of 1.3 yards per carry. Hamline also racked up 10 tackles for a loss totaling 34 yards and seven sacks for 29 lost yards in a dominant performance up front. Hamline's starters on the defensive line were nose tackle Charles Jones and defensive ends Matt Wildes and Derek Wilson.


BY THE NUMBERS

0 - Losses by MIAC teams over the season's first week. This marks the second season in a row the conference started a perfect 7-0.

10 - Points scored by Saint John's in the final 55 seconds of Friday's 17-14 win at UW-River Falls.

40 - Distance on SJU's game-winning field goal, kicked by freshman Alexi Johnson with only two seconds remaining in his college debut.

3 - Victorious MIAC coaching debuts by Saint John's Gary Fasching, St. Olaf's Craig Stern and Hamline's Chad Rogosheske; Incomplete passes by Concorida QB Griffin Neal, who was 16-for-19 for 303 yards; receiving touchdowns by St. Olaf's Jake Schmiesing; sacks by Hamline LB Corey Touchette.

482 - Combined rushing/passing yards for Augsburg QB Ayrton Scott in a 51-17 win over Concordia-Wis.

24 - Combined total tackles by Carleton defenders Luke Reppe (14) and Josh Estes (10).


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