The Gustavus football team hosts St. Olaf on Saturday in the final game of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 pm at Hollingsworth Field.
The Gusties enter the game with a record of 4-5 overall, 4-3 in the MIAC. The Oles are 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the conference. Last week Gustavus was defeated at home 23-10 by Azusa Pacific, who entered the game ranked ninth in the country in the NAIA. St. Olaf is hoping to recover from last weekend’s 47-14 loss at Concordia.
Glimpse of the Gusties: The Gusties will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 23-10 non-conference home loss to NAIA power Azusa Pacific. Gustavus fell behind 14-0 within the first five minutes and was forced to play catch-up the rest of the way. The Gusties trimmed the deficit to four when Sean Smith scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak on fourth and goal with just over four minutes left in the second quarter. Gustavus gained just 40 yards of total offense in the second half. The only time the Gusties moved the ball past the 50-yard line in the second half, the squad fumbled the ball away. Smith completed the day 21-of-36 through the air for 126 yards. His favorite target was Nate Novak, who had five catches for 28 yards. Isaac Sieling and Tyler Vrieze led the squad defensively with 14 and 12 tackles. Loren Havemeier broke the single season school record for punt return yards with 49 yards on the afternoon. He now has 306 punt return yards on the year, breaking the previous record held by Brent Schultze who had 261 yards in 1997.
Gustavus will be attempting to put the finishing touches on its seventh straight season at .500 or better. Three of the five games the Gusties have lost this season have been to teams ranked in the top 15 in either NCAA III or NAIA. Gustavus should benefit this afternoon from the return of its leading rusher, Drew Stifter. The sophomore running back has missed the last two games with an ankle sprain. Stifter will be looking to add to his season total of 601 yards against a St. Olaf defense that is giving up 198 yards rushing per game. Sean Smith will attempt to continue his ascension through the record books. He needs 38 passing yards to pass Eric Lande for fifth place on the all-time list for career passing yards. The team ranks fifth in the MIAC in total offense (303.6 ypg) and fourth in total defense (297.9 ypg).
A View of the Oles: Second-year St. Olaf Head Coach Chris Meidt leads an Ole team that is attempting to finish the season strong after a disappointing start to the year. Last season St. Olaf finished 5-5 and lost three of its games in the final 1:34. With 17 starters returning, the Oles had hoped to break into the top tier of the MIAC in 2003. That did not happen, as St. Olaf lost five of its first six games. The Oles responded to a sluggish start of the season by winning two of their last three games. St. Olaf’s three wins have come against teams with a combined record of 4-21 (Carleton, Hamline, Macalester).
Last weekend St. Olaf was handled by Concordia 47-14. The Oles were down 24-0 by halftime and were unable to get closer than 16 points the rest of the way. St. Olaf was out-gained by Concordia 531 to 243 yards. Running back Bobby Andrade carried 17 times for a team-high 63 yards while Aaron Stinar had 46 yards rushing and a touchdown. Nick Rost caught a game-high eight passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Andrade and Stinar have split most of the carries in the Ole backfield. Andrade, the starting I-back, has picked up 754 yards. Stinar, a fullback, has piled up 591 yards on the ground a team-high 11 touchdowns. Quarterback Brian Senske has a completion percentage of 53.13 (112 for 211) and has thrown 11 interceptions and seven touchdowns. Matt Willis and John David lead the team defensively with 66 and 60 tackles apiece. The squad ranks fourth in the conference in total offense (363.1 ypg) and sixth in total defense (381.4 ypg).
Series:This will be the 51st meeting between the Golden Gusties and the Oles on the gridiron. Gustavus holds the all-time edge 35-15. The series started with St. Olaf winning the first six meetings, but since then the Gusties have prevailed 35 of the last 44 times.
Coaches: Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his tenth season at the helm of the Gusties with a career record of 52-47. His squads are 47-40 in MIAC play. St. Olaf Head Coach Chris Meidt, in his second season with the Oles, has an overall record of 8-11. His teams are 5-10 in conference contests.
Coach Schoenebeck Building a Tradition: Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck could become only the second coach in the history of the program to compile seven consecutive seasons of .500 ball or better with a win against the Oles. The only other person to accomplish this feat is current assistant coach Dennis Raarup. Raarup’s squads posted .500 or better records for nine straight years from 1976 to 1984.
Dominating the Oles: Gustavus has won seven straight games over St. Olaf. The Gusties have scored an average of 37 points per game during that stretch. Coach Schoenebeck is 8-1 all-time against the Oles. That is the highest winning percentage (.889) he has against any MIAC team.
Sack Squad: With one game left in the season, the Gustavus defense leads the MIAC in sacks with 26. Bethel has 25 and St. John’s has 20 through seven conference games. Last year the Royals and Gusties along with Concordia and St. Thomas tied for the league-lead with 25. The Gusties have had eight sacks in non-conference games for a total of 34 sacks on the year. The squad needs nine sacks against St. Olaf to tie the school record for most sacks in a season set in 1995.
Offense Struggles Against Azusa Pacific: The 273 all-purpose yards and 143 offensive yards the Gusties had against Azusa Pacific were both season lows. The last time Gustavus had fewer all-purpose yards in a game was Oct. 21, 1995 when the Gusties had only 194 all-purpose yards in a 7-0 loss at Bethel. The last time Gustavus had fewer offensive yards in a game was Sept. 10, 1994 when the Gusties picked up 130 yards on offense in a 47-0 loss at Central (IA).
Wait ‘Til Next Year: Gustavus will open the 2004 season at Wheaton College (IL) on September 11. The Gusties home opener will be September 18 versus Hamline. Other foes on the home schedule include Concordia (Oct. 2), St. Olaf (Oct. 16), and St. Thomas (Oct. 30). The other road games for the squad are at St. John’s (Sept. 25), Augsburg (Oct. 9), Carleton (Nov. 6), and Bethel (Nov. 13). As of today, Gustavus has only nine games on its schedule. The Gusties are looking for one more non-conference game to fill the slate.
|20.7||Points Per Game||22.2|
|162||Opp. First Downs||177|
|104.2||Rushing Yards Per Game||211.4|
|152.1||Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game||198.7|
|2.7||Rushing Average Per Carry||4.3|
|3.8||Opp. Rushing Average Per Carry||4.8|
|10||Opp. Rushing Touchdowns||18|
|186.8||Passing Yards Per Game||168.1|
|162.8||Opp. Passing Yards Per Game||196.0|
|9.4||Yards Per Catch||11.9|
|10.5||Opp. Yards Per Catch||12.7|
|53.1||Opp. Completion Percentage||52.1|
|11||Opp. Passing Touchdowns||15|
|12||Opp. Interceptions Thrown||8|
|291.0||Total Offense Per Game||379.6|
|314.9||Opp. Total Offense Per Game||394.7|
|4.2||Total Offense Per Play||5.1|
|4.5||Opp. Total Offense Per Play||5.6|
|30:53||Time of Possession Per Game||29:58|
|29:07||Opp. Time of Possession Per Game||30:02|