The Gustavus football team had trouble holding on to the football in the second half and four costly turnovers led to 19 points for Bethel as the Gusties fell to the Royals 33-21 at Lloyd Hollingsworth Field in St. Peter on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Jordan Becker scored two rushing touchdowns, one on a 43-yard run in the first quarter and the other on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter, to lead the Gusties. Bethel fullback Dusty Wahl sparked the Royals with three rushing touchdowns.
Gustavus took an early lead when Becker ran the option around right end and broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run. Tom Huepenbecker’s extra point made the score 7-0.
Bethel countered with two touchdowns in the second quarter and led 14-7 at halftime. Reid Velo hit Joel Quick with a 38-yard TD pass and Dusty Wahl bulled his way into the end zone from two yards out. Matt Wetherell converted both point after attempts.
Early in the fourth quarter, Gustavus linebacker Paul Stommes intercepted a Reid Velo pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and Huepenbecker’s extra point tied the score at 14-14. Two series later, Bethel’s David Vavra intercepted a Jordan Becker pass and returned it 55 yards to the Gustavus 3-yard line. Wahl broke through the Gustie line on the next play for a 3-yard TD run. The point after was missed and Bethel led 20-14.
On the second play of its next possession, Gustavus turned the ball over again this time it was a fumble on the Gustie 29-yard line. The Royals scored six plays later as Wahl tallied his third TD of the day from two yards out. Bethel’s try for a two-point conversion failed and the Royals led 26-14.
Gustavus drove deep into Bethel territory early in the fourth quarter, but the drive stalled at the Royal 25-yard line and Huepenbecker’s 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Gusties trailing 26-14 and pinned deep in their own territory, the Royals iced the win when defensive back Tim Cornish intercepted a Jordan Becker pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Wetherell’s point after attempt was good and Bethel led 33-14.
The Gusties scored on its next drive as Becker ran in from seven yards out with 49 seconds left, but it was too little, too late as the Royals claimed the 33-21 victory.
The Royals ball control offense did its job holding on to the ball for 36:06 in the contest. Bethel ran 70 plays for 332 yards including 118 on the ground and 214 in the air. Logan Flannery carried 29 times for 102 yards, while Joel Quick made seven catches for 131 yards and one touchdown to lead the Royals. Gustavus ran 55 plays for 285 yards including 101 on the ground and 184 in the air. Jordan Becker rushed 13 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns, while Cody Sukalski made two catches for 91 yards to lead the Gusties.
Defensively, linebacker Tony Palma led Gustavus with 15 tackles, while Joe Welch contributed 11 tackles and intercepted a pass. Defensive back Tim Cornish led Bethel with four tackles and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Bethel,which improves to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the MIAC, will travel to St. Paul to face St. Thomas next Saturday, while Gustavus, which falls to 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the MIAC, will host St. Olaf.