The Gustavus football team will host Hamline University on Saturday, October 25 in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game at Hollingsworth Field in St. Peter. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm.
The Gusties enter the game with a record of 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the MIAC, while the Pipers enter with a mark of 2-5 overall and 0-5 in the MIAC. Last week, Gustavus lost to Bethel 40-26 in Arden Hills, while the Pipers fell to St. Olaf 43-13 in St. Paul.
A Glimpse of the Gusties:
Gustavus gave the tenth ranked Bethel a battle last week but came up just short in falling to the Royals 40-26 in Arden Hills. The Gusties were driving for the tying touchdown with under two minutes left in the game when the Royals picked off a Sean Smith pass and returned it for a touchdown. It was a disappointing ending for Coach Jay Schoenebeck’s squad, which had rallied from a 25-7 deficit at halftime to within seven at 33-26 late in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Sean Smith completed 30-of-48 passes for a career best 342 yards and three touchdowns, while senior receiver Nate Novak grabbed a career best nine passes for 88 yards. Defensively, senior safety Greg Baldus had a big day with 14 tackles (including nine solo tackles) and an interception. Junior linebacker Isaac Sieling also contributed 15 tackles, while senior defensive end Dan Myers compiled seven tackles including three sacks.
Gustavus will need to exploit a Hamline defense that has allowed a lot of points this season. The Gusties have been putting some points on the board lately as they have been averaging 22.5 points per game in the past five games. Junior running back Drew Stifter leads the team in scoring with 36 points. Unfortunately, Stifter will not play against the Pipers today after severely spraining his ankle in the fourth quarter against Bethel. Gustavus ranks sixth in the MIAC in scoring offense averaging 19.0 points per game and fifth in scoring defense allowing 20.0 points per game. The defense leads the MIAC in sacks with 18 for 108 yards. Individually, quarterback Sean Smith leads the MIAC in passing with an average of 199.7 yards per game.
A View of the Pipers:
Hamline Head Coach Donovan Larson has been working hard to build confidence in young and inexperienced squad this season. The Pipers have struggled in MIAC play with a record of 0-5 and allowing a league high 55.6 points per game, while scoring an average of 8.0 points per game. Non-conference play has been a bit more successful for the Pipers as they have posted a record of 2-0 while scoring an average of 35.0 points per game and allowing only 3.5 points per game. Hamline did have some success against St. Olaf last weekend scoring 13 points on two touchdown passes from junior quarterback Andy Gagnon to junior wide receiver Dan Ryks. Gagnon finished the day completing 21-of-30 passes for 212 yards and one interception, while Ryks made seven catches for 123 yards. Ryks has definitely been a bright spot for the Pipers offensively this season as he has made 21 catches for 276 yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, sophomore free safety Tyler Schultz led the way with 17 tackles including 12 solo tackles.
Junior quarterback Andy Gagnon, who moved into the starting position late last season, has taken most of the snaps this year. He has completed 53-of-86 passes for 494 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions. He ranks fifth in the MIAC in completion percentage as he has completed 61.6 percent of his passes. Freshman running back Ben Dahmes leads the team in rushing with 83 carries for 221 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore free safety Tyler Schultz leads the team in tackles with 41, while sophomore middle linebacker Josh Davidson is second with 38. The Pipers rank ninth in the league in total offense averaging 178.6 yards per game and ninth in total defense allowing 510.0 yards per game.
The Series: This will be the 71st meeting between Gustavus and Hamline with the Gusties holding a decisive 49-21-0 advantage in the series. The Gusties have held the upper hand in the series recently winning the last five meetings.
Coaches: Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his tenth season directing his alma mater. Schoenebeck has compiled an overall record of 50-45-0, 45-39 in the MIAC. Schoenebeck’s squads have been ranked in the Division III Top Twenty Five in two of the past four seasons while compiling a record of 23-14 overall and 21-12 in the MIAC. Hamline Head Coach Donovan Larson is in his third season at the helm of the Piper football program with a career mark of 7-20. A 1969 graduate of Hamline, Larson was the defensive line coach at North Dakota State University for 14 years before coming to Hamline.
Radio: Saturday’s game can be heard live at www.minnesotasportsupdate.com. The game will also be broadcast tape delayed at approximately 4:00 pm on 1310 AM KRBI. The tape delayed broadcast can be also be heard on the Gustavus athletic web site.
Smith’s Climbing Up the Passing Charts: Senior quarterback Sean Smith’s first career 300 yard passing day against Bethel last weekend pushed him way up the career passing records list at Gustavus. Smith’s 30 completions were the second best single game total in school history and his 342 yards passing was the fifth best single game yardage total. In career totals, Smith ranks first all-time in completion percentage at 64.8 percent (330-of-509), fourth in career completions (330), sixth in passing yardage (3,681), sixth in touchdown passes with 32 and sixth in pass attempts with 509.
Stat Check: Through six conference games, the Gusties rank seventh in total offense with an average of 298.7 yards per game and fourth in total defense allowing 297.3 yards per game. Defensively, the Gusties are tied for first in sacks with 18, while offensively Gustavus ranks second in passing offense with an average of 200.8 yards per game and second in time of possession with an average of 32:21 minutes per game. Individually, Sean Smith leads the MIAC in passing with an average of 199.7 yards per game. He is second in total offense with an average of 186.7 yards per game. Defensively, Dan Myers leads the league in sacks with 9.0 and in tackles for loss with 11.0. Matt Diercks is third passes defended with 8 and Isaac Sieling is 10th in tackles with an average of 8.3 per game.
Home, Sweet Home: Gustavus will close out its 2003 season with three consecutive home games beginning with today’s match-up against Hamline. Next week, the Gusties welcome Azusa Pacific University of Azusa, California. This is the return match-up with the Cougars after Gustavus made the trip out west last November. The Gusties will then wrap up the season with St. Olaf on November 8 at Hollingsworth Stadium. This is the first season since 1946 that Gustavus will close out the regular season with three straight home games.