MIAC Football Preview - Week 3
September 19, 2013 - http://www.miacathletics.com/sports/fball/2013-14/releases/previews/week_3
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conferences' (MIAC) nine football teams have enjoyed successful starts to the 2013. All nine started the season 1-0, and the league is a collective 12-1 after two weeks of play against nonconference competition. However, now the real fun is about to begin.
Nine weeks of conference play and eight MIAC games for each team kicks off Saturday. If the first two weeks of the season are any indication, fans of the conference are in for an extremely competitive, balanced and proficient two-plus months of MIAC football.
The conference season starts with a plethora of marquee
matchups, and we'll learn a lot about many of the MIAC's teams
right off the bat. That starts with a storied rivalry game that has
been the most-watched games in Division III history over the past
three seasons. No. 2 St. Thomas hosts rival Saint John's Saturday
at 1:10 p.m. in the first Tommie-Johnnie game without retired SJU
coach John Gagliardi in more than 60
years. However, it's Glenn Caruso's UST
team that holds a three-game winning streak in the rivalry series
entering the 2013 edition that fittingly kicks off the conference
In 2010, a Division III-record 16,421 spectators saw St. Thomas
begin its streak with a 27-26 overtime win. A Tommie home record
10,421 fans attended 2011's game in St. Paul, and 14,286 fans
attended last year's game in Collegeville. That's 41,128 fans over
the course of three years - more than would fit into the Minnesota
Twins' Target Field - with another great crowd expected Saturday.
Both teams enter 2-0, with St. Thomas looking to keep its streak
alive and keep inching towards the No. 1 ranking, while Saint
John's is looking for a signature victory that would define its
ascent under new Head Coach Gary
The St. Thomas offense will be led by dual-threat
QB Matt O'Connell, who averages more than 250
yards of total offense per game. Saint John's offensive star has
been WR Josh Bungum, who lead the MIAC with
15 catches and is second with 221 yards. Special teams should also
be special, as Johnnie kicker Alexi
Johnson and the Tommies' Paul
Graupner have both already connected from 40 yards or
longer, and the two were the MIAC's first two Special Teams
However, there's much more excitement in store Saturday. Concordia (2-0) hosts St. Olaf (1-1) as the two teams engage in their annual battle for The Troll traveling trophy. In fact, the game in Moorhead could draw national attention, with ESPN's College GameDay broadcasting live that morning from the North Dakota State campus in nearby Fargo. Cobber sports information reached out to GameDay on Twitter about The Troll, and the show expressed interest in giving the unique Division III rivalry some air time. Tune into GameDay Saturday morning to see if the MIAC gets a mention, and then prepare for a heck of a game between two of the MIAC's upper-echelon programs in Moorhead at 1 p.m.
The battle for The Troll could be fought in the air. The Cobbers
come into Saturday's game behind the outstanding combination of
QB Griffin Neal (225 passing yards per
game) and WR Brandon Zylstra (253
receiving yards, 3 TD). The Ole passing game is also lethal behind
QB Nate Penz and star
receivers Stephen Asp (143 yards, TD)
and Jake Schmeising (202 yards, 3
Augsburg returns to action, hopeful to enter the Top 25 in the
coming weeks, with Gustavus coming to town in the MIAC debut for
both teams. Both enter with 1-0 records and both will roll out
their versatile quarterbacks - Ayrton
Scott for the Auggies, Mitch
Hendricks for the Gusties, and the fans in
Minneapolis Saturday at 1 p.m. will likely be in for an offensive
The day's final MIAC contest is also rich with storylines.
Carleton hosts Hamline in the conference's only night game of the
season, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. in St. Paul. The Pipers will
honor their 1988 MIAC Co-Championship team during the game, and the
coach of that squad - Dick Tressel - is
now an assistant for the Knights. Tressel's former player and
assistant coach, Chad Rogosheske, is in his
first year as Hamline's head coach. Luke
Tressel(Dick's son), is one of Rogosheske's assistants, so
there will be plenty of familiarity on Saturday night. In addition,
both teams enter the season 1-0 and, after occupying the last two
spots in the standings a year ago, each is optimistic of better
fortunes in 2013. Each will showcase a dynamic offensive playmaker
as well, in Carleton receiver Anthony
Kemper and Hamline running back Austin
In the only nonconference game of the day, seventh-ranked Bethel
hopes to improve to 2-0 with its first road trip of the season. The
Royals travel to Buena Vista to face a team hosting a MIAC foe for
the second-straight week. A week ago, BV was beaten at home by
Concordia in a good game, 21-13. The Royals got 311 passing yards
from QB Erik Peterson and 109 yards and
two scores from Brandon Marquardt on the
ground, along with huge defensive days from Josh
Treimer (3 INT, TD) and Seth
Mathis (13 tackles, 0.5 sacks), so the Bethel stars
are already rounding into midseason form.
There's been a full offseason of speculation, the preseason coaches' predictions and now two
weeks of nonconference evidence to judge where each MIAC football
will finish in 2013. However, the beauty of sports is that results
are what matters, and in this conference, that begins this week. An
exciting nine weeks kicks off Saturday, and by Sunday the first
results that truly matter will be in the books and the 2013
football season will really start to take shape.
The MIAC thanks Supreme Images Photography for contributing graphics for the MIAC Football Preview throughout the season.
Sat. Sep. 21
MIAC MEDIA FOOTBALL COVERAGE
A new blog post and video from MIAC Media added to the conference's football coverage as league play is set to begin. The MIAC Media Blog followed up on last Friday's feature about the coaching change at Saint John's with some interesting leftover materials - especially some details on Mike Grant's withdrawal during the search process. The MIAC Media video series also previewed the start of conference play, with thoughts from players and coaches from Augsburg and Bethel about competing in the always-tough MIAC.
MIAC IN THE POLLS
St. Thomas remained at No. 2 in the MIAC polls last week, but top-ranked Mount Union doubled its lead on the Tommies ... to two whole points. After being just one point behind the defending national champs a week ago, St. Thomas finished with 600 total points this week to Mount Union's 602. The Tommies received seven first-place votes with Mount Union claiming 11, No. 3 Linfield getting six and No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor getting the other one.
Bethel's season-opening win helped the Royals move up a spot from No. 8 to No. 7, as the Royals received 435 points in the poll. Idle Augsburg continues to sit just outside the top 25, as the Auggies received 37 points and are the first team listed in "Others receiving votes" to essentially rank them No. 26. Concordia also continued to receive votes with 10 points in this week's poll.
The AFCA Division III Coaches' Poll has not yet begun its weekly rankings. They are expected to begin following this week's action.
MIAC IN THE PRESS
Here's a look at the top MIAC football stories in the media over the past week.
9/18/2013 'Ugliest traveling trophy' back in play for Cobbers
on Saturday - Fargo Forum
9/15/2013 MIAC Roundup: Johnnies build 17-point lead, win by three - Star Tribune
9/14/2013 Recap of the MIAC 3 - Bring Me The News
Saint John's wide receiver Josh Bungum caught eight passes - including an 84-yard touchdown Saturday - which also led to him receiving the MIAC Football Offensive Player-of-the-Week award. Bungum finished with 185 yards from scrimmage in SJU's 17-14 win over UW-Eau Claire. Bethel's Josh Treimer intercepted three passes en route to the MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week honor, including one he returned for a touchdown. Treimer added three tackles and a pass breakup in the Royals' 30-17 win over Wartburg. The MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week award was presented to St. Thomas kicker Paul Graupner. The Tommie kicker made a 41-yard field goal and both PATs and sent all four kickoffs inside the 10-yard line in UST's 25-7 victory over UW-River Falls.
Treimer received additional honors outside the league when he
was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week for his
three-interception performance in Bethel's season-opening
IN THE TRENCHES
The Concordia offensive line helped the Cobbers grind out a
21-13 victory at Buena Vista Saturday to improve to 2-0, with big
contributions on the ground and a handful of big plays as well.
Concordia rushed for more than 200 yards in the win - 214 to be
exact - while averaging nearly five yards per carry. Two of the
three Concordia TDs came on the ground - including a 42-yard Matt
Peterson touchdown run late in the first quarter - and the Cobbers
allowed just one sack on 20 drop-backs. The Concordia starters up
front were center Tyler Johnson,
guards Dave Brown and Cody
Pederson and tackles Ben
Tamm and Clay Bachmeier.
The Gustavus defensive line was certainly the anchor of a great performance in the Gusties' 28-21 season-opening victory over Simpson Saturday. The Gusties up front helped limit Simpson's rushing attack to just 63 yards on 32 carries for an even average of 2.0 yards per carry. Gustavus had five tackles-for-a-loss, two sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries in the big win. The Gustie starters along the line were defensive tackles Donte Green and Mitch Snare and defensive ends Adam Neubarth and Cameron Cropsey.
BY THE NUMBERS
28-3 - The MIAC's record against
nonconference competition over the past two seasons (2012 and 2013)
8 - Conference games for each team to
decide the 2013 MIAC championship, with league play beginning
3 - Interceptions by Bethel
DB Josh Triemer, with one returned for a
touchdown in Bethel's win over Wartburg Saturday.
2 - Touchdown catches of 80 yards or more
for MIAC receivers Saturday. Concordia's Brandon Zylstra had an
85-yard TD catch less than five minutes into the game, and Saint
John's Josh Bungum had an 84-yard score just before halftime.
311 - Passing yards for Bethel QB Erik
Peterson in his 2013 debut.
50 - All 10 MIAC quarterbacks who qualify have completed at least 50 percent of their passes thus far in 2013. Six of the 10 are better than 63 percent, and three have a yards-per-attempt average better than 11.5.