COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. — The sixth ranked Saint John’s University football team tied its own Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record by winning its 26th straight conference game with a 42-14 win over Gustavus Adolphus College on Saturday, Sept. 25. A Homecoming crowd of 10,458 watched the game at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville, Minn.
SJU jumped on the scoreboard first as they took the opening kick and drove 68 yards in seven plays as senior wide receiver Lee Clintsman caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Alex Kofoed. On the Johnnies’ next possession, junior running back Corey Weber scored on a two-yard run to increase the lead to 14-0.
Gustavus cut the lead to 14-7 at 7:08 of the second quarter as senior wide receiver Sean Smith caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jordan Stolp. The Gustie touchdown was set up by an interception. The final scoring of the first half came with 50 seconds remaining as sophomore wide receiver Kyle Gearman caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Kofoed to enter the locker room with a 21-7 lead.
SJU scored on its first possession of the third quarter as Clintsman caught his second touchdown pass of the game, this time 11 yards from Kofoed, to give SJU a 28-7 lead. Gustavus came right back to score on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Stolp to Smith to cut the lead to 28-14. The big play of the game came with 4:35 left in the third quarter as the Gusties were driving, but junior defensive back Tony Steffensmeier picked off a pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown to make the score 35-14.
The final scoring of the game came with 6:15 left in the game as Gearman caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Kofoed to make the final score 42-14.
SJU had 436 yards total offense, compared to 246 for Gustavus. The Johnnies rushed for 256 yards on 50 attempts and threw for 180 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. The Gusties threw for 190 yards and were held to 56 yards rushing on 32 attempts. The Johnnies had six sacks for a loss of 46 yards. SJU had 22 first downs, while Gustavus only had 10 first downs in the contest.
Individually for SJU, Weber carried the ball 22 times for 93 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore running back Mike Lofboom had 87 yards on 11 carries. Kofoed was 14-of-25 passing for 180 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Clintsman hauled in seven passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, while Gearman had four catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, junior linebacker Danno Wagner and junior defensive tackle Damien Dumonceaux each had eight total tackles, while junior defensive tackle Jason Good and senior defensive tackle Steve Danielson had 2.0 and 1.5 sacks, respectively.
For Gustavus, junior running back Drew Stifter carried the ball 14 times for 51 yards. Stolp was 13-of-29 passing for 184 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Smith had a big day receiving with three catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Clint Riegelman had four receptions for 42 yards. Junior Loren Havemeier had six kickoff returns for 126 total yards. On defense, junior safety Tyler Rinquist had two interceptions and senior linebacker Isaac Sieling collected nine total tackles.
SJU improves to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the MIAC, while Gustavus falls to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC. SJU has won seven straight and 17 of the last 18 meetings with Gustavus. SJU is 58-16-2 in 76 Homecoming football games.
With today’s win, SJU Head Coach John Gagliardi now has 417 career wins in 56 seasons as a collegiate head coach, which are the most wins in collegiate football history.
SJU will try to win its 27th straight MIAC game when they travel to Hamline at 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2, in St. Paul, Minn. Gustavus will host Concordia-Moorhead next Saturday, Oct. 2 for a 1 p.m. kickoff in St. Peter, Minn.
(Story Courtesy Michael Hemmesch, St. John’s Sports Information)