Minnetonka, Minn. / Benilde-St. Margaret's
The second-ranked St. Thomas football team earned its second-straight convincing win over a WIAC foe Thursday with a 25-7 win at UW-River Falls. The Tommies' special teams - especially kicker Paul Graupner (Minnetonka, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret's) played a big role in the win. The UST sophomore was perfect in the kicking game, making his only field goal try and two PATs, and supplied great field position on kickoffs. For his performance, Graupner was named the MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week.
Graupner's only field goal try - a 41-yard attempt in the final quarter- was good to give the Tommies their final margin of victory as they held off the Falcons on the road. The field goal was just one yard shy of Graupner's career long, and the longest make in the MIAC thus far in 2013. The St. Thomas kicker also converted both extra point attempts to improve to 40-for-41 in his career. Graupner was also impressive in four kickoffs, sending one into the end zone and the other three inside the 10-yard line. He also had a successful onside kick attempt that St. Thomas got to first, but couldn't secure possession. So far in 2013, Graupner's 12 points lead all MIAC kickers.
After two weeks, the Tommies are among three teams in the MIAC to start 2-0, as the league has a 12-1 collective record against nonconference competition. St. Thomas is ranked No. 2 by D3football.com, just two points behind No. 1 Mount Union. Graupner and the Tommies start their quest for a fourth-straight MIAC title with a big rivalry contest to open MIAC play Saturday. UST will host Saint John's in the annual Tommie-Johnnie game in St. Paul at 1:10 p.m.