Football Game Day Preview

Posted on September 18th, 2003 by

The Gustavus Adolphus football team continues the quest for its first victory of the season by travelling to Northfield to take on Carleton College on Saturday. Gustavus (0-2, 0-1) will attempt to rebound from last weekend’s 24-2 home loss against Concordia. Carleton (0-1, 0-1) lost to St. Olaf 40-16 last week and is in search of its first victory since 2000.
Gustie Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck will be looking for his offense to get back on track versus the Knights who gave up 500 yards to St. Olaf last weekend. After posting 34 points in the season-opener at Buena Vista, Gustavus failed to cross the Concordia 33-yard line last weekend. The Gusties managed just 203 yards of total offense. Gustavus was particularly inept on the ground, gaining just 32 yards on 30 attempts for an average of 1.1 yards per rush. Quarterback Sean Smith was 21-of-37 through the air for 164 yards, an average of 4.4 yards per pass. He was sacked six times. Wideout Tim Nesvig was on the receiving end of 11 of those completions for a career-high 84 yards.

The Gustavus special teams encountered moments of brilliance and moments of embarrassment against Concordia. Tyler Rinquist blocked a Cobber punt towards the end of the first quarter. The loose ball rolled all the way into the end zone where the Concordia punter fell on it for a safety. Loren Havemeier returned four kickoffs for 90 yards, including a 51-yard return at the beginning of the fourth quarter that gave the Gusties their best starting field position of the day. The low spots featured two punts of eight yards apiece and the game’s opening kickoff that saw Concordia’s Bobby Clark return the ball 41 yards to near midfield.

Defensively, the Gusties made significant improvements from week one’s performance when they coughed up 37 points, the most in a season-opener since 1995. Gustavus held Concordia to 270 yards. The Cobbers managed just 119 yards on the ground on 51 carries for an average of 2.3 yards per rush. Linebacker Isaac Sieling tallied a team-high 14 tackles. Invert linebacker Tyler Vrieze recorded 13 tackles, one and a half sacks, two tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble. Gustavus sacked the Concordia quarterback four times.

Carleton is led by Head Coach Chris Brann who is still looking for his first collegiate coaching victory. The Knights have 18 starters returning from last year’s team that lost every game by at least 10 points. Carleton has 29 first-year players on its roster, and of the returning players, 21 of the 38 are sophomores.

Last week Carleton lost to cross-town rival St. Olaf 40-16. Carleton was led by running back Erik Fisher who was named this week’s MIAC Offensive Player of the Week. Fisher rushed 24 times for a career-high 178 yards. The senior paced a Carleton rushing attack that accumulated 234 yards on the ground against the Oles. Fisher recorded a 42-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, pulling the Knights within two scores. His 26-yard run late in the first half set up a Carleton field goal and his 40-yard run early in the fourth quarter set up Carleton’s second touchdown of the afternoon. It marked the third consecutive game that Fisher has rushed for more than 100 yards.

Despite Fisher’s achievements, Carleton was out-gained 500 to 351 yards by St. Olaf. The Oles racked up 287 yards on the ground against a Carleton defense that ranked last in the MIAC against the run last season (267.1 ypg) by nearly 100 yards per game. St. Olaf scored a touchdown on each of its first four possessions of the contest, putting Carleton in a 26-6 hole.

Carleton quarterback Ben Cooprider connected on 14 of the 30 passes he tossed for 117 yards (3.9 yards per pass). He was intercepted twice and failed to complete a pass farther than 15 yards. Tyler Young and Alex Marston each had three receptions for 32 and 23 yards respectively. Defensively strong safety Luke Muellerleile registered a team-high 12 tackles.

Gustavus will be attempting to avoid starting the year 0-3 for the first time since 1996, the same year Carleton last defeated the Gusties.

Series: Carleton leads the all-time series 14-11-3. Gustavus is one of only two schools in the MIAC that Carleton owns the all-time series edge. Gustavus has won the last six meetings. During those six games, the Gusties have outscored the Knights 259-55.

Coaches: Gustavus head coach Jay Schoenebeck is in his 10th season coaching at his alma mater. He has an all-time record of 48-44 overall, 43-38 in the MIAC. Carleton head coach Chris Brann is in his third year with the Knights. He has an all-time record of 0-21, 0-18 in the MIAC.

Streaks Snapped: Gustavus quarterback Sean Smith’s 11-game streak of throwing a touchdown pass was snapped in the team’s 24-2 home loss versus Concordia. Last week was the first time Gustavus lost a home opener since 1996 when Concordia defeated the Gusties 34-0.

Nesvig’s New Niche: Senior wide receiver Tim Nesvig was two receptions shy of tying the school record for catches in a game versus Concordia. He caught 11 passes, two behind Ryan Hoag’s school record 13 grabs. Saturday was only the second game in Nesvig’s collegiate career that he played wide receiver. The converted quarterback ended the day with 84 yards.

Sack Master Myers: Senior defensive lineman Dan Myers, who amassed two sacks against Concordia, has now had at least one-half of a sack in each of the team’s last five games. Last year against Carleton he recorded one sack and had three tackles for a loss.

Getting Two: Saturday marked the first time Gustavus had scored a safety since October 3, 1998 when the Gusties recorded a safety in a 26-23 win over St. Thomas.

Team Statistical Comparison

GAC Category CAR
18.0 Points Per Game 16.0
30.5 Opp. Points Per Game 40.0
33 First Downs 21
41 Opp. First Downs 30
75.5 Rushing Yards Per Game 230.0
142.5 Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game 285.0
2.3 Rushing Average Per Carry 5.6
3.0 Opp. Rushing Average Per Carry 4.9
0 Rushing Touchdowns 1
3 Opp. Rushing Touchdowns 3
201.5 Passing Yards Per Game 117.0
194.5 Opp. Passing Yards Per Game 212.0
8.6 Yards Per Catch 8.4
12.5 Opp. Yards Per Catch 10.1
58.0 Completion Percentage 45.2
55.4 Opp. Completion Percentage 70.0
3 Passing Touchdowns 1
5 Opp. Passing Touchdowns 3
2 Interceptions Thrown 2
1 Opp. Interceptions Thrown 0
277.0 Total Offense Per Game 347.0
337.0 Opp. Total Offense Per Game 497.0
3.8 Total Offense Per Play 4.8
4.4 Opp. Total Offense Per Play 5.6
1/1 Fumbles/Lost 5/2
3/1 Opp. Fumbles/Lost 1/1
13/146 Penalties/Yards 10/86
8/83 Opp. Penalties/Yards 12/130
28:58 Time of Possession Per Game 28:23
31:02 Opp. Time of Possession Per Game 31:37

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