This weekend’s biggest college football rivalry won’t be taking place in the Big Ten, SEC, Pac 12 or any conference at the FBS level. It won’t be taking place at any number of the historical college football cathedrals, either.
Instead, the 87th edition of the Johnnie-Tommie game will take place at Target Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins, when St. John’s (Minn.) faces St. Thomas in one of Division III’s oldest rivalries.
The Johnnie-Tommie has already been on the national spotlight and was featured on “SportsCenter on the Road” ahead of their 2015 matchup, a 35-14 Tommie victory.
Not only will the 2017 edition be the first football game at Target Field, it will shatter and likely double the previous unofficial Division III attendance record. Last season, Wisconsin-Oshkosk and Wisconsin-Whitewater set the mark at 17,535 fans at Whitewater’s Perkins Stadium.
To date, more than 35,000 tickets have been sold for the Johnnie-Tommie game. Target Field, which opened in 2010, has a capacity of 39,504.
St. John’s and St. Thomas had set the then- attendance record of 17, 327 in the 2015 contest. The Johnnie-Tommie game has been one of the most attended games in DIII history and currently hold the No. 2 (2015), No. 3 (16,514, 2016) and No. 4 (16,421, 2010) spots on the all-time unofficial rankings.
The Johnnies lead the all-time series with a 51-34-1 record.
Target Field won’t be the only active baseball venue to host college football this year. Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) will host three games in part of the Gridiron Series later this season between Dartmouth and Brown (Nov. 10), Massachusetts and Maine (Nov. 11) and Boston College and Connecticut (Nov. 18).
Additionally, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees), the Cactus Bowl (Chase Field, Arizona Diamondbacks) and the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays) will all be played at baseball stadium later this season.
Kickoff between the Johnnies and Tommies is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CST on Saturday.
|Attendance||Home Team||Away Team||Date|
|17,327||St. John's||St. Thomas||9/26/15|
|16,514||St. John's||St. Thomas||9/24/16|
|16,421||St. John's||St. Thomas||10/2/10|
|14,286||St. John's||St. Thomas||9/15/12|
|12,903||St. John's||St. Thomas||10/17/09|
|12,483||St. Thomas||St. John's||9/27/14|
|12,339||St. John's||St. Olaf||10/6/07|
|12,123||St. John's||St. Thomas||10/27/07|
|11,907||St. John's||Gustavus Adolphus||9/27/08|
|Numbers courtesy of D3football.com|