Football Game Day Preview

Posted on October 2nd, 2003 by

The Gustavus football team will look to extend its two-game winning streak when it travels to Collegeville to take on defending conference champion St. John’s on Saturday. The Gusties are 2-2 this year, 2-1 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. St. John’s, currently ranked second in the nation, brings in a 3-0 mark, 2-0 in conference play.

Gustavus is hoping to maintain the momentum it has generated from back-to-back victories over Carleton and Augsburg. Last week the Gusties recorded a 28-7 homecoming triumph over the Auggies due to a quick start and the ability to shut Augsburg down defensively. Gustavus jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead courtesy of three rushing touchdowns, tacked on a defensive score midway through the second quarter, and held on for the three-touchdown win.

Running back Drew Stifter rushed for a career-high 142 yards on 27 carries to lead the team’s ground assault. He scored the Gusties’ first touchdown of the game on a 25-yard scamper up the middle on the squad’s first play from scrimmage. Shawn Naber and Adam Nelson scored on touchdown runs of their own later in the quarter to extend the advantage. With Gustavus on top 21-0, and Augsburg driving deep into Gustie territory, Matt Diercks stepped in front of an Auggie pass in the endzone and promptly returned the pick an NCAA record-tying 100 yards for a score. Augsburg finally got on the board late in the quarter and was unable to get any closer in the second half as the squad’s played a scoreless final 30 minutes.

St. John’s is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2000. The squad’s quick start is thanks in large part to its potent offensive weapons both on the ground and through the air, and a stingy defense that has given up three touchdowns the entire season. The Johnnies lead the MIAC in scoring offense, total offense, scoring defense, and total defense. St. John’s is out-gaining its opponents 510 yards to 231 yards per game.

The Johnnies are coming off of last week’s 45-6 road win over St. Olaf. Pacing the squad offensively was running back Jake Theis, who racked up 204 all-purpose yards. Theis tallied 173 yards rushing on 14 carries and one touchdown. He also nabbed three catches for 31 yards. The week before, quarterback Ryan Keating completed a school record 34 passes on 48 attempts for 387 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in a 24-10 win over Wis.-Eau Claire. He also went over 4,000 yards passing in his career during the game. Keating’s favorite target has been wide receiver Blake Elliot who leads in the nation with 10 catches per game. Elliot has 320 yards on 30 receptions, including four touchdowns. Most of Elliot’s yardage has come after the catch, as he is one of the best receivers running with the ball in the country.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm on Saturday at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville. Next week Gustavus returns home to face St. Thomas.

Series: St. John’s leads the all-time series 35-31-3. The Johnnies have won the last five games in the series.

Coaches: Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his tenth season directing his alma matter. Last week he notched his 50th career victory. Schoenebeck’s all-time record stands at 50-44, 45-38 in the MIAC. St. John’s Head Coach John Gagliardi is in his 55th year of coaching and 51st season with the Johnnies. His all-time record stands at 403-114-10. Gagliardi is now six wins away from setting the all-time career win record, currently held by former Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson.

Diercks Honored: Matt Diercks tied an NCAA record by returning an interception for 100 yards and a touchdown in the Gusties’ 28-7 win over Augsburg. He is the 35th player in NCAA Division III history to return an interception 100 yards. Washington and Jefferson’s Frank Pilato took an interception back 100 yards last Saturday as well against Thiel. For his efforts, he was named the MIAC Defensive Player of the Week, Don Hansen’s National Quad Defensive Player of the Week, and was also named to the d3football.com Team of the Week.

Stadium Milestone: Saturday’s win was the Gusties’ 200th victory at Hollingsworth Field since the stadium was constructed in 1929. Gustavus has posted an all-time record of 200-89-8 at home since 1929.

Running Roughshod: Saturday was the first time Gustavus has had three different players rush for a touchdown since four players did so in the Gusties’ 42-14 win over Carleton on Oct. 7, 2000. Drew Stifter, Shawn Naber, and Adam Nelson all scored rushing touchdowns in the first quarter of the Gusties’ triumph against Augsburg.

Century Club: Stifter became the first Gustie other than Andy Traetow to rush for 100 yards in a game since Eric Schmidt ran for 100 yards in the 2000 season-finale against Macalester.

Back to Collegeville: Gustavus is 1-1 in its last two games at St. John’s. The two schools will be playing in Collegeville on Saturday for only the third time since 1994.

Fast Start, Slow Finish: Gustavus has had the lead in all four of its games this season. The Gusties have led 14-0 in three of their contests and by at least 24 points to start their last two games. Gustavus has outscored its opponents 44-0 in the first quarter this season. The Gusties have been outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter this year.

On the Road Again: Gustavus has won four consecutive conference road games.

Winning Traditions: Gustavus needs one more win to tie Carleton for the fourth most all-time varsity football victories of any university or college in the state of Minnesota. The Gusties have 430 wins. St. John’s is second on the list with 497. The University of Minnesota is tops with 604.

Statistical Comparison:

GAC Category SJU
22.0 Points Per Game 47.7
75 First Downs 79
71 Opp. First Downs 36
122.2 Rushing Yards Per Game 215.7
145.5 Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game 84.0
3.1 Rushing Average Per Carry 5.1
3.7 Opp. Rushing Average Per Carry 2.3
4 Rushing Touchdowns 10
4 Opp. Rushing Touchdowns 3
179.0 Passing Yards Per Game 294.3
172.0 Opp. Passing Yards Per Game 147.3
8.7 Yards Per Catch 11.3
10.8 Opp. Yards Per Catch 11.6
63.6 Completion Percentage 69.0
48.5 Opp. Completion Percentage 42.7
5 Passing Touchdowns 10
6 Opp. Passing Touchdowns 0
6 Interceptions Thrown 4
5 Opp. Interceptions Thrown 5
301.2 Total Offense Per Game 510.0
313.5 Opp. Total Offense Per Game 231.3
4.2 Total Offense Per Play 6.3
4.4 Opp. Total Offense Per Play 3.5
7/3 Fumbles/Lost 7/3
5/3 Opp. Fumbles/Lost 3/1
21/195 Penalties/Yards 12/73
23/219 Opp. Penalties/Yards 13/91
32:06 Time of Possession Per Game 31:15
27:34 Opp. Time of Possession Per Game 28:45
 

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