Football Game Day Preview

Posted on September 4th, 2003 by

The Gustavus Adolphus football team opens the 2003 season by traveling to Storm Lake, Iowa to face non-conference foe Buena Vista on Saturday, September 6. Tenth-year head coach Jay Schoenebeck has guided the Gusties to six consecutive winning seasons, including last year’s 6-4 campaign in which Gustavus tied for third in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a league record of 5-3. Buena Vista is hoping to rebuild from a 3-7 2002 season. The Beavers were 3-6 and tied for sixth in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Gustavus returns 28 letterwinners and nine starters from last year’s squad. With last year’s leading receiver, rusher, and tackler and five all-conference players total lost to graduation, the Gusties will be relying upon several faces in new places to lead them into the fall.

Offensively, Gustavus has the most experience along the line and at the quarterback position. Sean Smith, a senior quarterback, set the single season school record for completion percentage (66.5) by going 181-272 through the air for 2,145 yards and 20 touchdowns. He ranks 10th in school history for career completions (187) and passing yards (2,251). The offensive front returns three starters from a year ago. Senior captain Chris Holsworth and fellow seniors Chris Pelzel, and Adam Stubbendick will be called upon to provide the backbone of the offense.

The conference’s third best scoring defense in 2002 returns four starters and numerous letterwinners to the gridiron this season. Leading the way are senior captains Greg Baldus at free safety and Tyler Vrieze at invert. Other starters returning are junior defensive lineman Karl Spilseth and senior cornerback Matt Diercks.

Buena Vista returns a lineup for fifth-year coach Steve Osterberger that includes its top three rushers from last season, four of its top five receivers and eight of its top nine tacklers. Despite having numerous players with experience returning, the Beavers have just 10 seniors who dot the roster.

Guiding the offense is junior quarterback Eric Wiebers, who won the starting job midway through the 2002 season after splitting time with Eric Jamison. Wiebers completed 120 of 233 passes for 1,648 yards and 13 touchdowns. Though he lost his No. 1 receiver, he will have an experienced receiving corps with Justin Wiig, Brandon Artist, Michael Sullivan and Brandon Johnson. Wiig had 34 receptions for 366 yards, Artist and Sullivan both had 23 receptions for 328 and 265 yards, respectively.

Barry Van Voorst led the team rushing with 644 yards, 181 runs and eight touchdowns. Joe Pick had 42 carries for 189 yards and Craig Rowedder had 173 yards on 66 carries.

Defensively, linebacker Michael Irvin led the team with 97 tackles, nine tackles for loss and three sacks. Defensive backs Scott Jamison and Troy Nielsen had 59 and 53 tackles, respectively. Jamison had 12 passes defended and three interceptions. Nielsen, a Second Team All-Conference selection, added two sacks and two interceptions.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday at Bradford Field at J. Leslie Rollins Stadium in Storm Lake. Gustavus begins MIAC play on September 13 by hosting Concordia College in St. Peter at 1:00 pm.

Series: This is the first ever meeting on the football field between Gustavus and Buena Vista. Gustavus is 4-3 all-time versus IIAC opponents.

Coaches: Gustavus head coach Jay Schoenebeck begins his 10th season coaching at his alma mater. He has an all-time record of 48-42 overall, 43-37 in the MIAC. Buena Vista head coach Steve Osterberger is in his fifth season coaching the Beavers. His teams are 8-12 over the last two years.

Season Openers: Gustavus has won five out of its last six season openers. The only loss in that stretch was a 14-7 setback at Trinity (TX) in 2000. Buena Vista has split its last two season openers.

Iowa Conference: Gustavus has not played an Iowa Conference school since losing to Central 44-14 in the 1995 season opener. The Gusties have not defeated an IIAC school since 1990 when they knocked off Central 21-19.

Away From Home: Gustavus has lost its last four games played outside the state of Minnesota. The Gusties last win outside of their home state came in 1990 versus Central.

Smith Watch: Sean Smith needs nine completions to move into eighth place on the school’s all-time pass completion list. He is currently tenth with 187, behind Curt Swenson (194) and Dave Muetzel (195). Current Gustavus offensive backs coach Bob Southworth is the school record holder (561). Smith needs 150 yards passing to move into eighth on the passing yards list past Muetzel (2,358) and Swenson (2,400). Southworth holds that record with 7,085.

Special Teams: Greg Baldus returns as the Gustavus punter. Last year he booted 30 punts for 1078 yards (35.9 ypp). Kase Niles, a freshman, will be starting as the team’s kicker. No Gustie on this year’s roster returned more than one punt or kickoff last season. Freshman Chris Kemmerer will handle the punting for Buena Vista. Michael Sullivan connected on five of eight field goals and 17 of 21 PATs. Barry VanVoorst returned 19 kicks for 363 yards last season. Troy Nielsen is the most experienced punt returner, averaging 12.8 yards on five returns.

2002 Rankings: Last year Gustavus ranked fourth in total offense (387.4 ypg) and fifth in total defense (356.1 ypg) in the MIAC. Buena Vista ranked seventh in total offense (327.4 ypg) and eighth in total defense (385.5 ypg) in the IIAC.

Team Statistical Comparison (2002 Statistics)

GAC
Category
BVU
27.0
Points Per Game
19.2
20.5
Opp. Points Per Game
29.9
190
First Downs
194
198
Opp. First Downs
200
152.5
Rushing Yards Per Game
105.6
135.1
Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game
187.5
4.2
Rushing Average Per Carry
2.8
3.1
Opp. Rushing Average Per Carry
4.5
14
Rushing Touchdowns
11
15
Opp. Rushing Touchdowns
24
220.0
Passing Yards Per Game
221.8
217.7
Opp. Passing Yards Per Game
198.0
11.5
Yards Per Catch
13.5
12.9
Opp. Yards Per Catch
14.1
64.7
Completion Percentage
51.6
55.8
Opp. Completion Percentage
49.8
21
Passing Touchdowns
15
12
Opp. Passing Touchdowns
15
10
Interceptions Thrown
22
11
Opp. Interceptions Thrown
9
372.5
Total Offense Per Game
327.4
352.8
Opp. Total Offense Per Game
385.5
5.7
Total Offense Per Play
4.7
4.8
Opp. Total Offense Per Play
5.5
19/12
Fumbles/Lost
14/7
9/5
Opp. Fumbles/Lost
15/9
57/558
Penalties/Yards
62/638
63/555
Opp. Penalties/Yards
62/523
28:14
Time of Possession Per Game
30:42
31:46
Opp. Time of Possession Per Game
29:18

 

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