The Gustavus football team knocked off Hamline 28-7 on a windy and cold afternoon in St. Peter on Saturday. The Gusties registered three scoring plays of 54 yards or more and sacked the Piper quarterback eight times on their way to their fourth victory in the last six games.
Gustavus struck first midway through the first quarter when Loren Havemeier returned a Hamline punt 79 yards for a touchdown. It was his first collegiate punt return for a touchdown. Two drives later Jerry Millan broke through the middle of the Hamline defense and scampered 54 yards for a score. Kase Niles’ second extra point of the day put the Gusties on top 14-0.
Hamline used a big play of its own that aided in cutting the Gustavus lead in half. Andy Gagnon hooked up with Dan Ryks through the air for a 38-yard play that took the ball to the Gustie one-yard line. Ben Dahmes ran off left guard for the score to bring the Pipers to within 14-7 heading into halftime.
Gustavus took its second drive of the third quarter and marched the ball down the field. The drive was capped off with an eight-yard touchdown pass. Nate Novak was on the receiving end of Sean Smith’s 11th touchdown toss of the season, putting the Gusties up 21-7.
The Gustavus defense capped off the scoring for the day. Gustie Sean Gremmels forced an errant Gagnon throw that was picked off by Jay Frederickson and returned 54 yards for a touchdown.
Statistically, the game was played quite evenly. Gustavus outgained Hamline 333 to 303 yards. The Gusties picked up 17 first downs, compared to the Pipers who amassed 16. Hamline held a two-minute edge in time of possession.
Adam Nelson, who started in place of the injured Drew Stifter, led Gustavus with 106 yards rushing on 16 carries. Millan complemented him with 92 yards rushing on just 11 carries. Both of the totals were career highs for the Gustie running backs.
Smith wrapped up the day 14-of-21 through the air for 118 yards. Tim Nesvig hauled in a team-high four catches for 41 yards.
Dahmes piled up a game-high 180 yards rushing for the Pipers. Gagnon ended the day 14-of-23 passing for 133 yards. Gagnon was under pressure nearly all day, as he was sacked eight times. Eight different Gusties had at least half-a-sack, as Isaac Sieling had a career-high two sacks.
Gustavus (4-4, 4-3) will step out of MIAC play to host Azusa Pacific University next week, an NAIA school from Azusa, California. The Pipers (2-6, 0-6) will host Carleton next Saturday.