St. Cloud, Minn. / Tech
The Saint John's football team pulled off one of the biggest upset in Division III Saturday when it knocked off second-ranked rival St. Thomas 20-18 in front of 10,800 fans on the Tommies' home field. The Johnnie defense came up big in the game, holding UST to 18 points and creating several crucial turnovers. Leading the way was senior defensive back Nolan Lortz, who led the Johnnies in tackles and picked off a pass to set up for the game-winning field goal. For his performance, Lortz was named the MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week.
Lortz finished with 10 tackles - eight solo - to lead Saint John's to the big victory. However, his biggest play came late in the third quarter when he intercepted a pass and returned it 22 yards to the St. Thomas 21-yard line. That set up a 34-yard field goal that ended up being the difference in the two-point win. Lortz - who made his first career start a week earlier - now has 14 tackles and two interceptions in 2013. His two picks rank second in the MIAC and his 10 solo tackles are the 15th most thus far.
The win helped the Johnnies improve to 3-0 (1-0 MIAC) under new Head Coach Gary Fashing, and they entered the Top 25 rankings at No. 21 in both the AFCA Coaches' Poll and D3football.com poll. SJU and Lortz hope to continue their spectacular start Saturday when they host (RV) Concordia in a huge matchup of 3-0 teams. The game kicks off in Collegeville at 1 p.m.