Jesse Schmidt’s third touchdown reception of the day in the second overtime gave Buena Vista a 37-34 victory over Gustavus in a non-conference football showdown in Storm Lake, Iowa on Saturday.
After four quarters of football on a hot and sunny late summer afternoon, Gustavus and Buena Vista were knotted up at 24 apiece. The Beavers and Gusties traded touchdowns in the first overtime. In the second extra frame, Gustavus had the ball first and had to settle for a field goal and a 34-31 lead. It took Buena Vista just three plays for Eric Wiebers to find Schmidt in the back corner of the end zone for the decisive score.
Gustavus jumped out on top quickly with two first quarter touchdowns seperated by six seconds. The Gusties started the game’s opening drive on their own 20 yard line and marched down the field for a score. The 11-play drive was capped off when Sean Smith connected with Nick Teigland for a 12-yard touchdown pass. Kase Niles tacked on the extra point to give Gustavus a 7-0 lead. On Buena Vista’s first offensive play, Wiebers was hit behind the line of scrimmage. The ball popped into the air and landed in the arms of Tyler Vrieze who took it 30 yards the other way to give the Gusties a two-touchdown advantage.
Buena Vista scored on a 60-yard Wiebers to Schmidt touchdown strike just under five minutes before halftime to crawl within seven, 14-7.
Gustavus pushed its advantage up to 10 points when Niles booted a 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. Buena Vista answered three minutes later when Wiebers found Brandon Artist for a five-yard touchdown connection to make the score 17-14 in favor of the Gusties.
Coach Schoenebeck’s squad answered right back 28 seconds before the the end of the third quarter when Smith hooked up with Nate Novak for a four-yard touchdown pass to complete a five-play, 27-yard drive. The short field was set up by a Spencer Cone interception.
With Gustavus leading 24-14, Ryan Hutton nailed a 37-yard field goal on the ensuing possession to bring Buena Vista to within a touchdown. The Beavers finally drew even with just over two minutes to play in the game when Wiebers called his own number on a quarterback sneak from one yard out. The extra point by Hutton tied the game at 24.
After Gustavus was unable to gain more than one first down deep in its own territory, Buena Vista got the ball at its own 44 yard line with 1:05 remaining. The Beavers marched the ball to the Gustavus 23-yard line to give Hutton a 40-yard field goal try to win the ball game. His attempt was blocked by Karl Spilseth, thereby sending the game into overtime.
Gustavus won the coin toss and played defense in the first overtime frame. Schmidt caught his second touchdown of the game on a 17-yard pass to give Buena Vista its first lead, 31-24. The Gusties bounced right back as Shawn Naber hauled in a five-yard pass from Smith to force a second overtime.
Gustavus was unable to pick up a first down in the second overtime. On fourth down and two, the Gusties trotted on Niles for a 32-yard field goal attempt. The freshman connected, putting the pressure on Buena Vista.
After a personal foul face mask penalty against Gustavus on Buena Vista’s first play from scrimmage, the Beavers took only two more plays to score the decisive touchdown as Wiebers and Schmidt hooked up one final time on a 14-yard pass play to win the game 37-34.
Buena Vista outgained Gustavus 404 to 351 yards on the day. Both teams struggled to move the ball on the ground. The Gusties averaged just 3.3 yards per carry while the Beavers netted 3.7 yards per rush.
Smith ended the day 25 of 43 through the air for 232 yards. He tossed three touchdowns and two interceptions. Teigland was his favorite target, as the senior tight end hauled in seven catches for 87 yards.
Running back Drew Stifter led the Gustavus ground attack with a career-high 98 yards rushing on 24 carries. Buena Vista’s leading rusher was Barry Van Voorst who ran the ball 23 times for 108 yards.
Vrieze led Gustavus defensively with 11 tackles to go along with his fumble return for a touchdown. Isaac Sieling tallied 10 stops.
This was the third overtime game in the history of the Gustavus football program, all three of which were decided in the second overtime. The last time the Gusties participated in an overtime contest was against Augsburg in 2000. Gustavus won that matchup 20-13.
Gustavus opens up MIAC play on Saturday, September 13 by hosting Concordia College at Hollingsworth Field in St. Peter. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm.