October 11, 2016 by Daniel Appel
We’ve reached the point of no return.
The previous game matters not.
History matters not.
There is but one goal: beat the Saints.
THIS WEEK- St. Scholastica Saints
There is an interesting, somewhat silly dynamic when it comes to UMAC football. If you don’t win the conference, your season basically ends. Did you go 9-1 and lose to the undefeated school? Well too bad for you, sit at home until next July. The scenario in which this isn’t the case is if the school is invited to the Victory Bowl, but it’s a consolation prize at best, and one that’s somewhat randomly chosen.
Northwestern has long dominated UMAC football, and finished at the top or near it for Kirk Talley’s entire tenure as head coach. Consistency, good defense, and a ground game to rival the best of them has earned the Eagles a name in DIII football. Unfortunately for them, the pond has another big fish in it.
The St. Scholastica Saints are unarguably the most dominant football school in the UMAC for the last 5 seasons. Over that time under Kurt Ramler the Saints have gone 43-1 in the conference. That isn’t just impressive, it’s ridiculous. The lone loss came to UNW in a 14-13 classic up in Duluth back in 2012. Almost more impressive than that is the fact that the program has only existed since 2008 and is already annihilating the UMAC year after year.
QB Kyle Stepka is completely decimating defenses. Through 6 games, he’s thrown 21 touchdowns and almost 1400 yards. 18 of those went to Aaron Olson and Hunter Thompson, who will be difficult to contain. Freshman running back Teddy Gildersleeve is a slippery back- 5.4 ypc, and Ben Buthe helps out on the ground too with 5.7 per carry and 2 TD. The offense is the main area of concern for the Eagles, as the Saints average 41 points a game.
They have but 10 sacks on the year which is almost 2 a game, but considering UMAC opponents, that number isn’t very impressive. They give up 20 points a game, which is also not the best especially when thinking of the offenses the UMAC serves up. None of that matters when you average 41 a game and every game you’re a threat to drop 60. This side of the ball is not the historically dominant Scholastica defense, but it’s still a solid bunch.
- UNW hasn’t beaten Scholastica in 4 years.
- The Saints’ homecoming is Saturday
- The Eagles boast an incredible defense that allowed 38 points to MacMurray last week
- The last point wasn’t sarcasm
- Cody Carlson’s last game at Scholastica saw the game winner glance off his hands and into an interception. He returns the best receiver in the UMAC and something to prove.
Oh, yes I did.
The weather will play a huge factor in the game (strong winds and rain expected), and missed extra points will reign supreme.
Do I have confidence in this pick? No.
But that’s not what sports are about. It’s about believing.
And I believe.
The game can be heard on The Remnant, with Daniel Appel and Cole Skoog on the call. The Remnant alumni and legend Josh Kolojeski will have pregame along side David Pederson starting at 3:30.