NCAA football playoff bid on line for St. Scholastica
St. Scholastica football coach Kurt Ramler doesn't need to be reminded what is at stake when his Saints host Greenville College at 1 p.m. today at Public Schools Stadium in a UMAC regular-season finale.
St. Scholastica football coach Kurt Ramler doesn’t need to be reminded what is at stake when his Saints host Greenville College at 1 p.m. today at Public Schools Stadium in a UMAC regular-season finale.
The winner receives the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III playoffs.
“This is for all the beans,” Ramler said.
St. Scholastica (9-0 overall, 8-0 UMAC) is looking to win its fourth straight UMAC title while increasing its conference winning streak to 21 games. Last year, it was Greenville coming into the finale undefeated.
Saints quarterback Tyler Harper of Minneapolis’ DeLaSalle High School is already the program’s all-time passing leader and is tied with Alex Thiry for career touchdown passes with 59.
“Tyler is the reason we’re 9 and 0. He’s a baller,” Ramler said. “His numbers maybe aren’t as lofty as some other guys, but he’s not a stat guy. He’s just a player.”
St. Scholastica is coming off a 40-2 victory at Minnesota-Morris last week as freshman Preston Robinson had a career-high 176 rushing yards and five touchdowns. The Saints received a vote in this week’s American Football Coaches Association D-III poll for the first time.
Ramler, however, admitted his team is banged up. Senior linebacker Paul Olson, another DeLaSalle product, will not play today because of a shoulder injury.
Greenville (7-2, 7-1) counters with a spread option offense that utilizes the shotgun snap. The Panthers are fourth in D-III with 345 rushing yards per game. Freshman running back Nathan Callaway leads the conference with 125 rushing yards per game and 13 touchdowns, while freshman QB Eric Northey is a threat running (573 yards) and throwing (926) the football.
“They throw a lot of things at you, so we’ve got to be prepared,” Ramler said. “Our offense has to come through and make it a little easier for the defense. It’s going to be a real battle.”
St. Scholastica will honor its 17 seniors today, but for Harper and Co., they certainly don’t want this game to be their last.
“It’s exciting,” Ramler said. “This is why people choose to play football at Scholastica, to have the chance to play in games like this.”
GREENVILLE (7-2, 7-1) AT ST. SCHOLASTICA (9-0, 8-0)
What: UMAC regular-season finale
When: 1 p.m. today
Where: Public Schools Stadium
At stake: Winner receives UMAC’s automatic qualifier into NCAA Division III playoffs