The Gustavus Adolphus College football team ended its season with a disappointing 41-27 loss to St. Olaf at Lloyd Hollingsworth Field in St. Peter, Minnesota. An opportunistic St. Olaf defense forced six Gustavus turnovers and returned a fumble and an interception for touchdowns, while the Ole offense compiled 358 yards of total offense and maintained possession of the ball for over 36 minutes in the game. Gustavus completes its season with a record of 4-6 overall and 4-4 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf finishes at 4-6 overall and 3-5 in the MIAC.
The Gusties opened the game on a very positive note as quarterback Sean Smith (SR, Hopkins, MN) hooked up with wide receiver Nate Novak (SR, Prior Lake) for a 35-yard touchdown pass three minutes into the contest. Kase Niles’ extra point gave Gustavus a 7-0 lead. St. Olaf struck right back with a 14 play, 87-yard drive that ended on a 17-yard td pass from Brian Senske to Kyle Fritze. The Oles took the lead at 8-7 when Nick Rost rushed around right end for the successful two-point conversion.
The Oles would build their lead to 22-7 in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown run by Aaron Stinar and a 59-yard pass from Senske to Cory Paterson (SR, Minnetonka). Dan O’Malley converted both extra point attempts for St. Olaf. Gustavus pulled within nine at 22-13 when Sean Smith scored from one-yard out midway through the second quarter. Gustavus’ attempt for the two-point conversion failed making the score 22-13 in favor of St. Olaf. The Gusties drove deep into St. Olaf territory just before the intermission, however a 32-yard field goal attempt by Kase Niles with :08 seconds left sailed wide left giving the Oles a 22-13 lead at the half.
Saint Olaf extended its lead to 15 points (28-13) when senior linebacker Bill Germscheid (Apple Valley, MN) scooped up a Gustie fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. The Oles attempt for a two-point conversion failed. Gustavus charged right back and cut the lead to eight points at 28-20 when Drew Stifter ran into the end zone from four yards out with 13:16 remaining in the third period. Kase Niles’ extra point attempt was good. Later in the quarter it appeared that Gustavus was going to draw even closer to the Oles when they found themselves with a first down at the St. Olaf two-yard line. However, on the next play, Ole linebacker Bill Germscheid came up with his second big play of the game as he picked off a Sean Smith pass in the end zone and returned it 20 yards to the St. Olaf 20-yard line. The third quarter ended with St. Olaf leading 28-20.
St. Olaf extended its lead to 15 points early in the fourth quarter when Brian Senske completed a 27-yard td pass to Aaron Stinar. Dan O’Malley’s extra point was good giving the Oles a 35-20 lead. Gustavus charged right back and cut the lead to eight points when running back Jerry Millan (FR, Ham Lake, MN) ran in from one-yard out. Kase Niles extra point made the score 35-27 in favor of St. Olaf.
Afte the Gustie defense shut the Oles down on the next series, the Gustavus offense took over on the St. Olaf 46-yard line with six minutes remaining. Sean Smith went deep on the first play in an attempt to even the score, however Saint Olaf defensive back Matt Willis picked off Smith for the third time on the day at the Ole 25-yard line. The Gustavus defense managed to give the offense one last opportunity when it forced the Oles to punt from the Gustavus 46-yard line with 2:43 remaining in regulation play. St. Olaf punter Nate Johnson pinned the Gusties deep in their own territory with a punt that came to rest at the Gustavus 4-yard line. The Gusties started their final drive with 2:32 remaining and picked up two quick first downs before St. Olaf linebacker Bill Germscheid ended the Gustavus comeback by intercepting his second pass of the day and returning it 42 yards for a touchdown to give the Oles a 41-27 lead.
Gustavus ran 66 plays for 303 yards of total offense in the game while St. Olaf completed 80 plays for 358 yards of total offense. The Gusties compiled 263 of their 303 total yards in the air, while the Oles compiled 165 yards rushing and 193 yards passing.
Gustavus quarterback Sean Smith completed 24-of-41 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown with four interceptions. Wide receiver Nate Novak made eight catches for 116 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, outside linebacker Tyler Vrieze recorded 15 tackles including four tackles for loss.
For St. Olaf, quarterback Brian Senske led the offense as he completed 13-of-17 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Running back Aaron Stinar carried 18 times for 94 yards. Defensively, linebacker Bill Germscheid had a truly spectacular game as he recovered a fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown, intercepted two passes and returned one 42 yards for a touchdown, while also recording four tackles and one quarterback sack.
St. Olaf snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Gusties with the win and won for the first time in St. Peter since 1995.