MINNEAPOLIS — The St. John’s-St. Thomas rivalry game always draws a big crowd. This was an all-timer, with attendance of 37,355 to obliterate the NCAA Division III record.
The Tommies used a stingy defense to hang on for a 20-17 victory over the Johnnies on Saturday at Target Field, the home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, who played on the road. The only bigger Twins crowd this season was the opener on April 3 that drew 39,615 fans.
In the first college football game played at the ballpark, Jacques Perra passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns for St. Thomas, which was ranked 10th and 11th in the latest two national polls. The Johnnies were held to 151 total yards, including 1 net yard rushing, and went 0-for-11 on third-down conversions. They were ranked sixth in both polls this week.
The NCAA does not officially recognize attendance records, but the website d3football.com tracked St. John’s-St. Thomas games as four of the five biggest crowds in Division III history. The previous mark was set on Oct. 8, 2016, with 17,535 fans watching Wisconsin-Oshkosh play at Wisconsin-Whitewater.
St. John’s and St. Thomas first played in 1901. St. John’s leads the series 51-35-1, but St. Thomas has won seven of the last nine meetings.
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