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|Scots to Host St. Thomas in 1st Round
|For the second consecutive year, the Monmouth College football team will be at home for their first round game of the NCAA Division III playoffs.
The Fighting Scots - ranked No. 8 in two national polls - will host St. Thomas (Minn.) Saturday in a noon kickoff at April Zorn Memorial Stadium. The Scots won the Midwest Conference title for the second straight year and put their 10-0 record on the line against the Tommies, the runners-up in the tough Minnesota League who enter the game with a 9-1 record. The Tommies only loss was a 20-17 defeat at St. John's.
"It wasn't a surprise," claimed Scots coach Steve Bell. "There were a couple of movements in the brackets, but the way they aligned this was one of the matchups I expected. The team was excited to finally find out who we play. That was a week's worth of anticipation."
Saturday's matchup will be the first meeting of the schools. The Tommies have returned to the postseason under second-year coach Glenn Caruso. Under Caruso, St. Thomas is ranked No. 10 by D3football.com and No. 12 by the American Football Coaches Association.
"They have a long-standing tradition of being very good," said Bell. "Coach Caruso has done a very good job of getting them back to where they expect to be."
The Tommies experienced a huge turnaround in 2008 - Carusso's inaugural season. St. Thomas experienced the third best turnaround in Division III that season posting a 7-3 record after finishing 2-8 the year prior.
Monmouth has recorded a 78-25 record in 10 years under Bell, tying him with Bill Reichow as the winningest coach in Monmouth history. Making their third appearance in the postseason under Bell, the Scots may have the routine down.
"Having been here before helps with all the fringe things that occur," said Bell of the behind-the-scenes-details. "A lot of the detail work seems to pile up on you the first time around. Last year, it seemed better than in 2005 and I think this time we'll be even better with our time-management. Knowing what to expect helps - and it's nice to play at home."
What the Scots expect this week is a normal game week routine - practice and prep. What the fans can expect is an entertaining game - the Scots boast the nation's second-best scoring offense, averaging 47.7 points per game, the Tommies can put points on the board, too, averaging 40.9 points per outing.
Ticket information for Saturday's game will be announced later in the week.
(Monmouth College Athletics)