Minnesota United and the University of St. Thomas announced that the University of St. Thomas football team will host St. John's University on Oct. 19, 2019 at Allianz Field. The Division III matchup, which will be a St. Thomas home game, will be the first-ever American football game played at Allianz Field, the new home to the Loons.
"Everyone at Minnesota United is excited to host this classic Minnesota rivalry — the St. Thomas-St. John's football game — at our brand-new home, Allianz Field," said MNUFC CEO Chris Wright. "We cannot wait to honor this great tradition by creating an incredible atmosphere and experience for the players, coaches and — most importantly — the fans."
The rivalry between St. Thomas and St. John's football teams dates to 1901. Since then, the schools have met 88 times and continually set NCAA Division III record attendance marks. Six of the top 14 all-time Division III attendance marks have involved the Johnnie-Tommie rivalry.
Since 1901, seven of the 88 games have been played off-campus, including the 1901 game at Lexington Park in St. Paul – just a few blocks from the future site of Allianz Field. Off-campus games have also been held at St. Cloud Tech High School in 1945 and the Metrodome in 1996 and 1997. Most recently the rivalry was showcased at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins, in 2017.
The universities have played every year in football since 1952, and twice in 2015. St. John's leads the all-time series 52-35-1, although St. Thomas has won seven of the last 10 meetings.
The Johnnie-Tommie rivalry has featured at least one Division III top-10 ranked team in 11 of the past 12 seasons and regularly attracts more than 10,000 spectators. The 2015 game, won by St. Thomas 35-14, drew a then-record crowd of 17,327, while the contest at Target Field set a NCAA Division III-record crowd of 37,355.
Set to open in the spring of 2019, Allianz Field will have a capacity of 19,400.
"We're excited for this opportunity to showcase Division III's best football rivalry game in yet another spectacular venue," said Steve Fritz, St. Thomas athletic director. "People who follow both universities and many Minnesota sports fans in general always look forward to attending this game."
More Stadium Games
The Tommies edged St. John's 20-17 in a September 2017 game at Target Field -- the first football game ever played in the Minnesota Twins' baseball stadium. That game shattered the NCAA Division III football attendance record with 37,535 on hand.
The Tommies also played the first game in the Dakota Dome in Vermilion, S.D. in 1979 with a 22-6 loss to the host South Dakota Coyotes.
The Tommies played in outdoor pro stadiums in Minneapolis in 1947 and 1950 against Augsburg when the Auggies used Minneapolis' minor league baseball field, Nicollet Park, the home of the Minneapolis Millers, as its home stadium from 1946-50.
St. Thomas also played at least three other football games at Nicollet Park:
- a 1907 Thanksgiving Day win over the Minneapolis Deans all-star team;
- a 1910 0-0 tie vs. Creighton;
- and a 1925 win over Western Michigan.