The St. John's University football team defeated Wheaton College in thrilling fashion on Saturday afternoon to advance to the NCAA semifinals.

SJU took a big lead early in the game. In the first quarter, the Johnnies scored 14 unanswered points. They added to that lead in the second quarter, controlling the game 21-7 at the half.

Wheaton rallied in the second half of the game. They kept SJU out of the end zone in the third quarter, while scoring a touchdown of their own to close the gap to 21-14.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder tied the game 21-21 and SJU responded by scoring another touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked, giving the Johnnies a 27-21 advantage. Wheaton tied the game again 27-27 but failed their two-point conversion attempt.

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The Johnnies scored their second touchdown of the quarter with six minutes remaining to retake the lead 34-27. In the final seconds of the game, the Thunder ran in a one-yard touchdown but missed the extra point attempt that would have sent the game into overtime. SJU came out on top, 34-33.

Jackson Erdmann completed 27 of 38 for 407 yards, five touchdowns, one interception, and three sacks. Blake Patrick had four catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Ravi Alston had six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Jack Kemper added one catch for 27 yards and a touchdown.

The Johnnies improve to 12-1 overall and will take on UW-Whitewater, also 12-1, on Saturday for a chance to play in the championship game.