Salem Stadium in Salem, Virginia, is the site for Friday night's Division III national championship (Stagg Bowl) game between St. Thomas and Mount Union.
Mount Union is making its 11th consecutive appearance in the title game. That's not a misprint. Eleven. Consecutive. Appearances.
The game is a rematch of the 2012 Stagg Bowl when Mount Union beat the Tommies 28-10.
In terms of pure dominance, Mount Union is first in the nation in points scored and points allowed while St. Thomas is second in both categories, according to USA Today.
"We know that this is a different animal than all the others that we've seen," said St. Thomas coach Glenn Caruso. "We've been well prepared by both our league and playoff run, but there's going to be points in time when you're not going to get everything you're used to getting. That's why you're playing for a national championship."
The key to the Tommies being crowned champs, peratrick Reusse of the Star Tribune, will be winning in the trenches and finding a way to run through Mount Union's seemingly invincible rush defense.
Jordan Roberts, playing his first year of DIII football after transferring from South Dakota, leads the Tommies with 1,957 yards and 32 rushing touchdowns. Roberts, a native of Wyoming, is one of the few players on St. Thomas who don't call Minnesota home.
There are 155 players on the Tommies' roster, and 93 of them are from Minnesota, including these key players:
- QB: John Gould - St. Thomas Academy - 2,851 yards, 25 TD, 11 INT
- WR: Nick Waldvogel - St. Thomas Academy - 64 catches, 798 yards, 3 TD
- Tim McClanahan - Cretin-Derham Hall - 73 tackles
- Jordan Young - St. Louis Park - 4 interceptions
- Ryan Winter - Woodbury - 6.5 sacks
- Anthony King-Foreman - Eden Prairie - 7.5 sacks
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.