Hamline University quarterback Andy Gagnon (SR, Waverly, Minn.) hit wide receiver Dan Ryks (SR, Renville, Minn.) with a 5-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone as time expired allowing Hamline to escape with a controversial 20-18 victory over Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties had taken an 18-14 lead on an eight-yard touchdown run by Drew Stifter (JR, Watertown, Minn.) with 3:25 left in regulation play. The Pipers then put together a 14-play, 71-yard drive in the final 3:20 to pull out the miracle victory. Hamline improves to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the MIAC, while Gustavus falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the MIAC.
The final seconds of the game were shrouded in controversy as it appeared that the game had ended when the Gusties stopped the Pipers on a third-and -goal from the four-yard line with :10 seconds left on the clock and Hamline was out of timeouts. The officials stopped the clock with :03.2 seconds remaining saying that a Gustavus player was sitting on the ball, allowing the Pipers the opportunity to get off one final play. Once the official whistled for the clock to start play it appeared that the clock had run out before the Pipers snapped the ball, but the officials did not stop play so quarterback Gagnon lofted a ball into the corner of the end zone that was caught by Ryks as he was falling out of bounds. The touchdown was allowed and Hamline was awarded the heartstopping 20-18 victory.
Hamline got off to a quick start in the game as quarterback Andy Gagnon ran 70 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw on third-and-ten from the Hamline 30-yard line. The Pipers converted the extra point and led 7-0. Gustavus struck right back as Loren Havemeier (JR, Sleepy Eye, Minn.) returned the kickoff 50 yards to the Piper 50-yard line. The Gusties drove down to the Piper 14 before Kasey Niles (SO, Minnetonka, Minn.) made a 31-yard field goal to cut the Piper lead to 7-3. Hamline answered the Gustavus field goal with another touchdown as Gagnon hooked up with tight end Jeff Hanger (SO, Roseville, Minn.) for a 44-yard touchdown pass at 4:43 of the second quarter. The Pipers converted the extra point and led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The Gusties started the second quarter with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with another Kasey Niles field goal, this one from 22 yards out. Gustavus trailed 14-6. The Gusties ended the half on a high note as quarterback Jordan Stolp (FR, Mankato, Minn.) found wide receiver Patrick Weineke (SO, Jackson, Minn.) in the end zone from 23 yards out to cut the Piper lead to 14-12 with :39 seconds left before the intermission. Gustavus went for the two-point conversion, however Stolp’s pass was intercepted allowing the Pipers to claim a 14-12 lead at the half.
The third quarter saw neither team put points on the scoreboard, however Hamline spent much of the time in the Gustavus end of the field. Safety Chris Thorson (JR, Shoreview, Minn.), gave the Gusties one reprieve as he intercepted a Hamline pass on the Gustavus two-yard line and then later cornerback Loren Havemeier picked off a Piper aerial in the end zone. Hamline also missed a 26-yard field goal. The third quarter ended with the Pipers maintaining their slim 14-12 lead.
Hamline put the pressure on the Gusties once again early in the fourth quarter putting together a 16-play, 79-yard drive that lasted 7:46, however the Pipers missed a 28-yard field goal with 7:44 remaining in the game.
Gustavus took over on its own 20-yard line and put together an impressive 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with running back Drew Stifter scampering in for the go-ahead touchdown from eight yards out with 3:25 left in the game. The Gusties opted to go for the two-point conversion, however Stolp’s pass intended for Clint Riegleman (JR, Red Wing, Minn.) fell incomplete, leaving the score Gustavus 18 and Hamline 14.
Hamline had a successful day offensively as the Pipers rushed for 276 yards and threw for 138 for 414 yards of total offense. Gustavus compiled 343 yards of total offense including 118 yards rushing and 225 yards passing. Hamline held a significant advantage in time of possession holding on to the ball for 32 minutes and six seconds in the contest. The Gusties maintained possession for 26 minutes and 16 seconds.
Individually, Gustavus was led in rushing by Drew Stifter (15 carries for 69 yards and one touchdown) and in receiving by Clint Riegelman (five catches for 53 yards). The Gusties alternated quarterbacks in the game and junior A.J. Bouquet (Rochester, Minn.) finished completing 11-of-19 passes for 110 yards and one interception, while Jordan Stolp completed 10-of-17 passes for 115 yards with on e touchdown and no interceptions.
Hamline was led by quarterback Andy Gagnon, who rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown. Gagnon also completed 13-of-20 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Running back Ben Dahmes (SO, Redwood Falls, Minn.) also had a big day rushing 34 times for 124 yards. Wide receiver Andy Ryks made five catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.
The Piper victory snapped a six-game losing streak to the Gusties, which dated back to 1998. In addition, the Gusties had held a 10-0 edge in MIAC openers against the Pipers dating back to 1929.