The Gustavus football team welcomes Concordia College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field on Saturday, September 13 for the 2003 MIAC opener for both squads. The Gusties will be attempting to rebound from last week’s 37-34 heartbreaking double overtime setback at Buena Vista. The Cobbers defeated MSU-Moorhead 42-28 Saturday and are riding a three-game winning streak that dates back to last season.
When these two teams met a year ago in Moorhead, Concordia edged the Gusties 20-14. With the scoreboard knotted up at 13 points apiece midway through the fourth quarter, Cobber quarterback Ryan Hebrink ran for a six-yard touchdown to reclaim the lead for the maroon and gold after Gustavus had rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie the score. Concordia controlled the line of scrimmage that day, out-rushing Gustavus 237-84. The Cobbers also had nearly an eight-minute edge in time of possession.
A Glimpse of the Gusties: Gustavus was edged 37-34 in double overtime by Buena Vista last weekend to begin the 2003 season. The Gusties and Beavers entered overtime tied at 24-24. After the two squads traded touchdowns in the first overtime period, Gustavus was forced to settle for a 32-yard Kase Niles field goal to take a 34-31 lead in the second overtime. The Gustie defense was unable to keep Buena Vista from scoring as the Beavers hooked up for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone to claim the three-point non-conference victory. Quarterback Sean Smith ended the afternoon 25-of-43 through the air for 232 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Drew Stifter led the Gustavus ground attack with a career-high 98 yards on 24 carriers. Invert Tyler Vrieze had an impressive outing, recording a team-best 11 tackles. He also returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter to give the Gusties a 14-0 lead.
Gustavus, which has posted a winning season each of the past six years, enters the conference portion of its schedule with 28 letterwinners and nine starters returning 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 fresh talent to fill numerous holes on the field.
Offensively, the Gusties will rely on the right arm of senior quarterback Sean Smith who set the single season school record for highest completion percentage last year, and the experience of an offensive line that returns three starters from last year. Coach Jud Keim’s defense brings back four starters and numerous letterwinners from a unit that gave up the third fewest points in the conference a year ago.
A View of the Cobbers: It has been eight years since Concordia last laid claims to a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title. With 17 starters back from last year’s squad that finished 7-1 in the conference, one game behind league champion St. John’s, the Cobbers seemingly have the tools in place to make a run towards the top of the conference standings once again.
Third-year head coach Terry Horan’s squad began the 2003 season last week with an impressive 42-28 victory over MSU-Moorhead, a Division II school. Concordia raced out to a 28-0 halftime advantage and never allowed the Dragons to get closer than two touchdowns the rest of the way. The Cobber’s rushing attack led the way, with three players gaining over 75 yards: Bobby Clark with 118 yards on 17 carries, Jeremy Hinderks with 94 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, and Ryan Hebrink with 78 yards on 17 carries. Hebrink was also 8-of-14 passing for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Andrew Passanante was his favorite target, catching seven of the eight completions and all three of the scores.
Defensively, the Cobbers return five starters from last season’s defensive unit that finished ranked at or near the top in nearly every conference statistical category. Last year Concordia led the league in total defense, allowing just 255.9 yards per game. The Cobbers gave up just 15 points per game. The team led the MIAC in takeaways and tied with Gustavus for the lead in sacks. They recorded a turnover in seven of their ten games and were a league-leading +1.38 in turnover margin.
The Series: This is the 72nd all-time meeting between Gustavus and Concordia. The Gusties hold a 40-29-2 advantage in the series. These two schools have split the last six games in the series since 1997. Concordia won last year’s match-up in Moorhead, 20-14. Gustavus has won the last two games between the two schools played in St. Peter.
Meet the Head Coaches: Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his tenth season at the helm of the Gusties with a career record of 48-43-0. Schoenebeck has directed the Gusties to a mark of 34-17 over the past four plus seasons including league finishes of second in 1998, third in 2000 and 2002 and fourth in 1999 and 2001. His squads are 3-6 all-time versus the Cobbers. Concordia Head Coach Terry Horan is in his third season leading his alma matter. His overall record stands at 13-8.
Stadium Milestone: Gustavus needs one more victory to record its 200th all-time win at Hollingsworth Field since the stadium was constructed in 1929. The Gusties have been playing football on the current stadium site since 1905, but it was not until 24 years later that a permanent stadium was built around the field. Gustavus has amassed an all-time record of 199-88-8 since the completion of the facility. The Gusties have won six of the last eight games played here. Gustavus will have six home competitions this year for only the second time since 1987.
Home Opener: The Gusties have sent their fans home happy at the completion of each of the past six home openers. Last season Gustavus defeated Alma 35-6 to begin the home portion of its schedule. The Gusties have not dropped a home opener since 1996 when Concordia defeated Gustavus 31-6.
Smith Ascends School Record Book: Senior Sean Smith moved into sixth place on the school’s all-time career touchdowns thrown (24) list and seventh place for career completions (212) and passing yards (2,483) with his performance against Buena Vista last week. Current Gustavus offensive backs coach Bob Southworth is first on all three of the lists (59 touchdowns, 561 completions, 7,085 yards).
Extra Football: Last week’s double overtime game at Buena Vista was the third overtime game in the history of the football program. Both of the previous games were against Augsburg in 1997 and 2000. Coincidentally, all three games were decided in the second overtime.
Vrieze Named MIAC Defensive Player of the Week: Gustavus senior invert Tyler Vrieze was named the MIAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Buena Vista. Vrieze recorded a team-high 11 tackles, including a team-best eight solo tackles. Midway through the first quarter he forced and recovered a fumble and proceeded to return the ball 30 yards for a touchdown to give the Gusties a 14-0 lead.
2002 MIAC Rankings: Last year Gustavus ranked fourth in total offense (387.4 ypg) and fifth in total defense (356.1 ypg) in the MIAC. Concordia ranked fifth in total offense (381.6 ypg) and first in total defense (255.9 ypg).
Team Statistical Comparison
|34||Points Per Game||42|
|25||Opp. First Downs||18|
|124||Rushing Yards Per Game||347|
|192||Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game||130|
|3.3||Rushing Average Per Carry||5.6|
|3.7||Opp. Rushing Average Per Carry||3.6|
|1||Opp. Rushing Touchdowns||3|
|232||Passing Yards Per Game||139|
|238||Opp. Passing Yards Per Game||228|
|9.3||Yards Per Catch||17.4|
|11.3||Opp. Yards Per Catch||15.2|
|61.8||Opp. Completion Percentage||53.6|
|4||Opp. Passing Touchdowns||1|
|1||Opp. Interceptions Thrown||1|
|351||Total Offense Per Game||474|
|404||Opp. Total Offense Per Game||354|
|4.4||Total Offense Per Play||6.4|
|5.1||Opp. Total Offense Per Play||5.6|
|28:33||Time of Possession Per Game||33:09|
|31:27||Opp. Time of Possession Per Game||26:51|