Johnnie-Tommie rivalry will finish on Minnesota’s biggest stage

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Final Four at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
Fans arrive at U.S. Bank Stadium before the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament in April 2019 in Minneapolis. The rival game between St. Thomas and St. John's will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in November.
Matt York | AP Photo 2019

The final installment of a historic Minnesota college football rivalry is heading for U.S. Bank Stadium in November.

The much celebrated game between the St. Thomas Tommies and the St. John's Johnnies is one of the biggest college football games in Minnesota each fall. They've played 89 times, including a game last fall at Allianz Field in St. Paul and a game at Target Field in 2017.

The ESPN sports cable network even brought its SportsCenter on the Road show to the game in 2015. It was one of only two NCAA Division III football games the network had highlighted to that point.

St. John's is moving the home game to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to be played Saturday, Nov. 7.

“It’s so exciting when you think about the opportunity for our student athletes to get a chance to play in that unbelievable venue against our greatest rival, one of the greatest rivalries in college sports,” said St. John’s athletic director Bob Alpers. He said the school’s phones have been “ringing off the hook” from fans trying to get a ticket to the historic finish of the series.

St. Thomas is expected to join the Division I Summit League after being booted from the Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. St. Thomas was the largest school in the MIAC conference, and officials at other schools said the Tommies had an unfair advantage.

The two schools have been rivals for 119 years. St. John's leads the football series, 53 to 35, with one tie game between them.

Alpers said the game could set a new Division III football attendance record. The Tommie-Johnnie game, or the Johnnie-Tommie game, as it’s called by St. John’s fans, currently holds five of the top 10 attendance records for D3 football.

The biggest crowd ever was at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., last fall for a game between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College, according to D3football.com. With more than 66,000 seats available, the game at U.S. Bank Stadium could easily surpass that.

Tickets for the final game between the two schools will go on sale at 10 a.m. on March 13 through Ticketmaster.

Correction (Feb. 12, 2020): A previous version of this story misstated when tickets for the game go on sale.

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