It's on to Illinois for the SJU football team

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December 2, 2019

sju football players

Saint John’s University football players celebrate a touchdown scored by Henry Trost (5) on Saturday, Nov. 30, in Orange, California. Photo by Dan Borgeson.

There are eight teams remaining in the NCAA Division III football playoffs.

To paraphrase the old Elton John song, Saint John’s University is still standing among those eight.

The Johnnies (11-1 overall) play Wheaton (Illinois) College (12-0) at noon Saturday, Dec. 7 at McCully Stadium in Wheaton.

Both teams advanced in the playoffs with impressive victories on Nov. 30.

Saint John’s recorded 646 yards of total offense in a 55-26 win over Chapman University in Orange, California. Senior quarterback Jackson Erdmann – who earlier in the week was announced as a semifinalist for the 2019 Gagliardi Trophy for the second time – passed for 458 yards and five touchdowns, and running back Henry Trost scored three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Wheaton advanced with a 49-13 win over Central College (Iowa). Coupled with North Central’s 59-52 upset win Mount Union, it put two College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin teams in the national quarterfinals for the first time.

The Thunder are making their fourth quarterfinal appearance in program history (1-2 record in the previous three games). However, this is the first time they have played a quarterfinal game at home.

SJU is making its 18th appearance in the national quarterfinals, posting a 9-8 record in the previous 17 games.

The winner of this contest will face the winner of the quarterfinal game between Mary Hardin-Baylor (12-0) and Wisconsin-Whitewater (11-1). Mary Hardin-Baylor is the defending Division III national champion, and knocked SJU out of the playoffs in the 2018 quarterfinals.