September 19, 2013

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 season.

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 Fasching.

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 Players-of-the-Week.

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 TD).

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 treat.

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 Duncan.

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.


MIAC FOOTBALL WEEK 3 - SCHEDULE AND LINKS

Schedule | Scoreboard | Stats | Standings | App |

Sat. Sep. 21

St. Olaf

 

Concordia

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video Audio

 

Gustavus

 

Augsburg

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video Audio Audio

 

Bethel

 

Buena Vista

 

1:00 PM

Live stats Video

 

Saint John's

 

St. Thomas

 

1:10 PM

Video Audio Audio

 

Carleton

 

Hamline

 

7:00 PM

Live stats Video Audio


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.

D3football.com Top 25 | AFCA Division III Coaches' Poll |


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


ATHLETES-OF-THE-WEEK

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 win. 

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


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) combined.

8 - Conference games for each team to decide the 2013 MIAC championship, with league play beginning Saturday.

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.


MIAC Football Home Page

 
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