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St. Thomas football adds First Division opponents

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The Tommies, who were approved by the NCAA last July to move from Division III to Division I, are scheduled to play a Sept. 18 game against Northern Iowa at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Panthers will play in St. Paul on September 7, 2024.

The Panthers finished with a 10-5 record in the powerful FSC Missouri Valley Conference last season and were ranked number 5 in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches poll.

I’ve been able to see a lot of great teams in all my time and I really believe that you build your culture by playing the best league and having the best company, the guys we want to pull into the locker room, the teams we want to play, said Tommies coach Glenn Caruso. I am a big believer that iron sharpens iron.

The Tommies also announced road games against the University of South Dakota on September 9, 2023 in Vermillion and the University of North Dakota on September 5, 2026 in Grand Forks.

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These teams represent some of the best at FCS level, both in league and match days, and offer an opportunity to continue Tommie Football’s great legacy, athletics director Phil Esten said in a statement. We were grateful for these opportunities and we look forward to establishing new traditions.

The Tommies were a remarkably successful 13-season Division III program under Caruso, winning seven Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Conference championships and NCAA tournament bids, and twice competing in the Division III Stagg Bowl Championships in Salem, Virginia. Under Caruso, the Tommies are 126-21, winning 34 consecutive MIAC games at one point.

But FCS teams will be a big step forward; the best nations, such as three-time defending champions in the state of North Dakota, routinely beat Power 5 schools in non-conference games. Caruso holds a Masters degree from NDSU and was the team’s tight-end coach, running backs coach and offensive coordinator on the coaching staff for seven years (1997-2003).

There’s still a lot to do, Caruso said, but there’s been a process over the years, and this may sound like a coach talking, but I swear the process of how we do things on St. Thomas is always has come first. of how we’ve done things over the past 13 years. For me this is like when we came here after a 2-8 season (in 2007). It is the same.

Yes, there is no doubt that we pay attention to what is happening on the field, but I also know if your focus is on the process, the rest will take care of itself.

St. Thomas begins its Division I era in the Pioneer Football League, a no-scholarship conference of schools very similar to the 5,945 enrollment: Butler, Davidson, Drake, Dayton, Marist, Morehead State, Presbyterian, San Diego, Stetson, and Valparaiso. This fall, they will play an eight-game conference that has yet to be released.

The PFL is currently playing a six-game spring schedule, which is something St. Thomas hopes to do. The MIAC season of Tommies’ final season, including the annual St. Johns rivalry game, was swept away by the coronavirus pandemic. They haven’t played since a 17-7 victory at Bethel on November 6, 2019.

If you want to play games and find competition this spring, look for safe and healthy ways to do it in a timely manner, said Caruso, I know I have 110 players in the locker room fighting hard to play.

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