Gustavus will welcome Northwestern College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for an early-season non-conference matchup. The Gusties enter the game with a record of 0-1 after falling to Wartburg College in their season opener last weekend. Northwestern enters with a record of 0-2 after falling to Luther College 31-7 last weekend in St. Paul.
Gustavus will be facing one of the top teams in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) in the Northwestern Eagles. After winning the UMAC Title in 2008 and finishing runner-up in 2009, the Eagles were picked to finish third in this year’s preseason coaches poll. Both Gustavus and Northwestern look to rebound this weekend after suffering losses to members of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) last Saturday.
This will be the first ever meeting between Gustavus and Northwestern on the football field. The Eagles got their 200th win in program history with a 46-16 victory over the University of Minnesota-Morris on Oct. 24 last season. The Eagles are currently in their 38th season and have compiled an overall record of 200-146-1 for a winning percentage of .579. Within the same time period (1973-present), the Gustavus football program holds a record of 192-173-1 for a winning percentage of .526.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Peter Haugen is in his second season at the helm of the Gusties. Haugen compiled a record of 4-6 in his first season. A graduate of Bethel University, Haugen was the head coach at Washburn High School in Minneapolis prior to coming to Gustavus. Northwestern Head Coach Kirk Talley enters his 10th season directing the Eagles football team. Talley, who has compiled a career mark of 66-28, is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University. He has coached previously at Greenville College, Taylor University, Northern State, Miami of Ohio, Crown College, and Mount Senario College.
About The Game
SCOUTING THE GUSTIES
With its 27-6 loss to Wartburg last Saturday, the Gustavus football team fell to 2-2 in home openers on the new Hollingsworth Field. The Knights were able to pound the ball and take advantage of big plays, while keeping the Gustavus offense out of good field position due to a stellar punting game. The Gusties put on an impressive offensive display in its first drive of the game, marching 71 yards for a touchdown. Wide receiver Muresuk Mena lined up in the Wildcat formation, took the direct snap, and scored on a sweep to the near side of the field, diving and hitting the pylon on the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. However, the Mena touchdown would be the last time the Gusties put points on the board as Wartburg went on to score 27 unanswered points.
Gustavus quarterback Logan Becker was 17-for-29 for 117 yards. Becker also led the team in rushing with 15 carries for 42 yards. Carrying the load in the running game were senior running backs Lucas Armstrong and Greg Lane, both of whom carried the ball for the first time since their freshman season. Armstrong had seven carries for 29 yards, while Lane had 10 carries for 26 yards.
Ball security was an issue against Wartburg, as the Gusties turned the ball over four times on two interceptions and two fumbles. Elliot Herdina led the team in receiving as he made three catches for 27 yards. Cody Sukalski performed well in his first collegiate start at punter, recording five punts for 181 yards (36.2 avg) with a long punt of 48 yards. Linebacker Zach Lundquist led the defense with seven-and-a-half tackles, while Paul Stommes and Jason Cook each recorded one interception.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Northwestern will look to get into the win column today after dropping its first two games of the season to Saint John’s and Luther. Last Saturday in St. Paul, the Eagles suffered a 31-7 defeat at the hands of Luther College. After forcing a Luther punt, the Northwestern offense drove the ball 49 yards before Luther intercepted quarterback Josh Balzer’s pass at the Luther 22-yard line. Luther scored two drives later, taking a 7-0 lead. It didn’t take long for the Norse offense to get the ball rolling, as they scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. Northwestern played a much-improved game in the second half, holding the Norse to a field goal and 118 total yards.
Northwestern finished the game with 92 yards rushing and 169 yards passing for 261 yards of total offense. Eagles quarterback Josh Balzer was 20-for-34 for 169 yards, while throwing two interceptions. Tim Youtzy led the team in rushing with 43 yards on nine carries. Four Eagle players finished the game with double-digit tackles, including Kabakas Clark with 13, Luke Delain with 12, and Josh Swore and David Discher with 10 each.
Through two games, Northwestern is averaging 83.5 yards rushing and 174.5 yards passing for a total of 258 yards of total offense. On defense, the Eagles are allowing an average of 248 yards rushing and 231.5 yards passing per game. Northwestern is 1-for-3 (33%) in red-zone scores this season, while its opponents are 10-for-11 (91%).
Gustavus Game Notes
Becker Works Through First Start – The Logan Becker era began for the Gustavus offense last weekend with the junior signal caller from Blue Earth completing 17-of-29 passes for 117 yards with two interceptions through the air and rushing 15 times for 42 yards on the ground. Becker actually gained 79 yards, but finished with 42 yards net due to seven quarterback sacks that resulted in a loss of 37 yards. Becker’s inexperience running the offense showed at times against a veteran Wartburg defense, but his speed and mobility make him a dangerous offensive weapon while he gains experience and gets more comfortable reading defenses.
Northwestern Versus The MIAC – Dating back to the 1986 season, Northwestern is a combined 4-16 in its last 20 meetings with MIAC opponents. The last Eagles victory over a representative from the MIAC came in a 31-24 win over Augsburg on Sept. 9, 2006 in St. Paul. Gustavus is 2-0 all-time against teams from the UMAC having beaten Martin Luther College of New Ulm twice (1998, 1999).
MIAC Off To A Strong Start – Following the opening two weekends of non-conference play, the teams in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) have compiled a record of 10-5 overall. The four undefeated MIAC teams remaining include Augsburg, Bethel, St. Olaf, and St. Thomas. The rest of the MIAC begins league play this afternoon, while the Gusties play their final non-conference contest.
Hendrikson Headed to the Hall– Former Gustavus football player Erik Hendrikson, a standout linebacker for the Gusties from 1990 to 1993, will be inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 9. Hendrickson, a three-time All-Conference selection, started all 40 games of his career amassing 191 total tackles (15th all-time) including 94 solo tackles and 97 assisted tackles. He was also an All-American defenseman for the Gustavus hockey team. Joining Hendrikson in the 2010 Hall of Fame class are Erik Allen (basketball – 1992), Pete Anderson (golf – 1992), Leigh Stocker Berger (volleyball – 1993), Heidi Rostberg Carlson (tennis – 1993), Evie Cieslar Erdman (benefactor – 1973), Duke Paluch (tennis – 1984), Paige Tierney Sullivan (soccer – 1995), and Angela White Vick (track and field – 1992).
Start Fast and Finish Strong – Gustavus will look for another fast start while planning for a stronger finish against Northwestern today. The Eagles have struggled getting out of the gate this season as their opponents have outscored them 62-7 in the first half. It was just the opposite for the Gusties last weekend as they took a 6-0 lead with an impressive 71-yard opening drive against Wartburg. The Gusties, however were unable to maintain the momentum as the Knights held a 27-0 advantage the rest of the way.