Linfield College Wildcats 17
St. Thomas Tommies 38
The Tommies are headed to the NCAA Division III national championship game after defeating Linfield College 38-3 Saturday afternoon in St. Paul in a semifinal game.
St. Thomas will face Mount Union for the title Friday evening at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in Salem, Virginia.
No. 2 Linfield, from McMinnville, Oregon, came into the game with a 12-0 record against No. 4 St. Thomas, which remains undefeated at 14-0.
But the Tommies overpowered the Wildcats right from the start, scoring 20 points in the first quarter alone.
1. Strong running game
The Tommies' offense tilted heavily toward the run. St. Thomas had 62 running plays for 389 yards, compared to just 12 pass plays, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
St. Thomas running back Jordan Roberts had a record-breaking game.
Roberts broke the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference single-season touchdown record and the St. Thomas single-season rushing record.
Roberts was recently profiled by Newsweek, which called him a "cleric in cleats," because in addition to being a dominant football player, he is a seminary student at St. John Vianney on the St. Thomas campus.
St. Thomas forced Linfield to turn the ball over five times, including a fumble and an interception in the first quarter that the Tommies converted into touchdowns, according to Tommie Media. They were up 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.
3. Rematch at the Stagg Bowl
St. Thomas will play in the Division III title game for the second time in four years. The Tommies played in the Stagg Bowl in 2012, but lost to Mount Union 28-10, according to the Pioneer Press.
Mount Union, the top-ranked team in the nation, earned a berth in the Stagg Bowl by defeating the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the other semifinal.
Fans who want to go to the game can find travel and ticket information here.