Stagg Bowl: St. Thomas faces 'gold standard' of D-III football

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(Photos courtesy: www.d3photography.com.)

Tonight, it’s showtime for St. Thomas, as the Tommies are in their first-ever Division III championship football game.

They couldn’t have picked a tougher opponent. The “Yankees” of D3 -- Mount Union -- have been in that title game 16 of the past 20 years, winning a record 10 championships, according to the Pioneer Press.

It's the first meeting ever between the two teams, who are led by two coaches who have seen incredible success. Mount Union's Larry Kehres, in his 27th season, has compiled a 331-24-3 record (.928).

St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso, in his fifth season, is 57-7 (.890).

Caruso tells columnist Bob Sansevere that the Purple Raiders are "exceptional" -- a team "what we aspire to be."

What St. Thomas is right now is a tough defensive team, which allowed only 25 rushing yards in last Saturday's semifinal victory over Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and forced four turnovers.

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