Area college football: St. John’s overwhelms Northwestern 49-0 in opening round of playoffs

The Johnnies are off and running in the NCAA Division III football playoffs.

St. John’s got right down to business on Saturday, overwhelming Northwestern of St. Paul 49-0 in 14-degree temperatures and 18-mph winds on Saturday at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville, Minn.

Quarterback Aaron Syverson led the way for the Johnnies with four touchdown passes in the first half — 41 yards to Nick VanErp in the first quarter, then nine and 11 yards to Jimmy Buck and six yards to Alex Larson in the second for a 35-0 halftime lead.

Syverson finished the day completing 19 of 23 passes for 204 yards.

Northwestern quarterback Caden Cantrell kept the Eagles’ offense moving on 23 of 32 passing for 207 yards. He was intercepted twice.

St. John’s finished with 388 yards offense to Northwestern’s 213.

Northwestern finished 6-5 on the season after putting together a 6-0 record to win the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference championship.

St. John’s improved to 10-1 and moves into the second round of the Division III playoffs, where the Johnnies will play host to a tough foe in unbeaten Wartburg (Iowa), which improved to 11-0 with a 14-6 victory over Wisconsin-La Crosse on Saturday in Waverly, Iowa.

DIVISION II PLAYOFFS

Minn. State Mankato 26, Wayne State 9

The Mavericks (10-2) held the Wildcats (9-3) to just 216 yards of offense at Blakeslee Stadium in the opening round of the Division II playoffs for their sixth straight win.

Shen Butler-Lawson led the Mankato State offense with 113 yards rushing, the sixth time this season he has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game. The Mavericks rushed for a total of 287 yards.

Bemidji State 31, Winona State 7

With a stiff breeze blowing off Lake Bemidji and a game-time temperature of 12 degrees, the Beavers (10-2) found a way around the difficult playing conditions to beat the Warriors (8-4) in the first round of the Division II playoffs at Chet Anderson Stadium in Bemidji, Minn.

Bemidji State used a quick-strike third-quarter offense to pull away, with Brandon Alt connecting with Brendan Beaulieu for three touchdown passes in the space of nine minutes to stake the home team a 24-0 lead, with Beavers kicker Connor Cusick also connecting on a 22-yard field goal during that stretch.

OTHER GAMES

N.D. State 42, North Dakota 21

Quarterback Cam Miller tied the Bison’s single-game record with five rushing touchdowns, and North Dakota State (9-2) overwhelmed North Dakota (7-4) in Fargo, N.D., in the annual Harvest Bowl. It was the most rushing touchdowns in a game by any FCS player this season. Miller had scoring runs of 4, 7, 3, 5 and 30 yards. NDSU combined for 363 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

The 115th meeting between North Dakota State and North Dakota resulted in the Bison’s fifth straight win at the Division I level since 2015. UND leads the series 62-50-3 dating to 1894.

Northern Iowa 58, South Dakota 14

Theo Day threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score as the Panthers (6-5) routed South Dakota (3-8) in Vermillion, S.D.

The six total touchdowns — all in the first half — were Day’s career high. He completed 21 of 30 passes for 280 yards. His touchdown passes were spread among five receivers. Sergio Morancy had four catches for 135 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown.

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