Elmhurst College Bluejays (10-1) will take on the University of St. Thomas Tommies in Round 2 of NCAA Division III Championships at noon Saturday, Nov. 24, at O'Shaughnessy Stadium, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, Minn.
The #3 ranked Tommies (11-0) beat St. Norbert College 48-17 on Nov. 17. Elmhurst took care of Coe College last week 27-24 in its first-ever playoff victory.
To add a little icing to the playoff cake, Elmhurst College running back Scottie Williams is one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, which recognizes the most outstanding football player in NCAA Division III.
Named for legendary St. John’s football coach John Gagliardi, the recently retired winningest coach in college football history, the trophy has been awarded annually since the 1993 season. The trophy is presented by Jostens and the J-Club of St. John’s University in Minnesota for excellence in football, academics and community service.
Williams is the first Elmhurst player to be selected finalist for the prestigious award. On the field, he has powered the Elmhurst offense to its best season in school history. The Bluejays won a share of College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin title for the first time since the 1980 season and became the first Elmhurst team selected to the NCAA playoffs.
A four-time all-conference honoree and the CCIW’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, Williams has been the catalyst for Elmhurst’s rushing attack, compiling 1,928 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, setting new Elmhurst single-season records. He has averaged 175.3 yards per game and 6.4 yards per carry this season, while also catching 22 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
He ranks second in NCAA Division III in rushing (based on yards per game average). Williams shattered Elmhurst’s career rushing record with 5,085 yards, eclipsing the previous mark by almost 1,500 yards while also establishing new career records for rushing touchdowns (49) and points scored (326). He currently is the active career-leading rusher in Division III.
This season, he led the CCIW in rushing, totaling 1,153 yards against conference competition and closed out his CCIW career ranked second all-time with 3,507 rushing yards, finishing just 17 yards behind the league’s all-time leading rusher (former NFL running back Jim Jodat).
Williams has twice earned Academic All-Conference honors and was a first-team Capital One Academic All-American in 2011. He has participated in President Barack Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a nationwide initiative to promote interfaith dialogue and cooperation. He also helped build homes as part of the college’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
Along with his teammates, Williams participated in the college’s annual Relay for Life fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society and also helped raise money for the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities. He has volunteered at a vacation bible school at his father’s church, the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church.
The Gagliardi Trophy will be presented Dec. 12, in Salem, Va., at a banquet that kicks off the NCAA Division III Championship Stagg Bowl. Other finalists for the award are Thomas More defensive back Zach Autenrieb, Mount Union defensive back Nick Driskill, Middlebury quarterback McCallum Foote, Dubuque quarterback Wyatt Hanus, Washington and Lee running back/kicker Luke Heinsohn, St. Thomas center Curtis James, Union linebacker Noah Joseph, Heidelberg linebacker Craig Sykes, and Wisconsin-Oshkosh quarterback Nate Wara.
For those traveling to St. Paul to cheer on the Bluejays Saturday, tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for students, and stadium gates open at 11 a.m. For a campus map, click here.
We invite any superfans or Bluejay football parents attending Saturday's playoff game to keep us updated by blogging about it on Patch. It's so easy. Just sign in to Elmhurst Patch and click here to get started adding commentary, box scores and photos.
If you can't make it to the game, click here for a live radio broadcast on WCCO Radio.