MINNEAPOLIS (10/9/04) — Drew Stifter (Jr., Watertown, Minn./Watertown-Mayer HS) claimed 141 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns, leading Gustavus Adolphus College to a 34-21 victory over host Augsburg College in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football game Saturday afternoon at Edor Nelson Field.
Stifter rushed for 64 yards on 15 carries with touchdown scores of one and 29 yards, and caught eight passes for 77 yards, as his Gusties claimed their first victory of the season, now at 1-4 overall and 1-3 in MIAC play.
Augsburg fell to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in MIAC play, despite a near-record running day by quarterback Marcus LeVesseur (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn./Bloomington Kennedy HS). LeVesseur rushed for 207 yards on 32 carries, just 10 yards shy of the school’s single-game rushing record 217 yards by Marty Alger in a 1993 game.
LeVesseur rushed for one touchdown and completed 16-of-35 passes for 153 yards and another score, but threw three interceptions, including one returned for a nine-yard touchdown in the third quarter by Gustavus’ Jon Horbacz (So., Hinckley, Minn.).
The teams combined for 878 yards of total offense in the game — 466 for Augsburg, 412 for Gustavus. Gustie quarterback Jordan Stolp (Fr., Mankato, Minn./West HS), making just his third collegiate start, compiled 326 yards on 24-of-36 passing with two touchdowns.
Augsburg jumped on the board first, after a Gustavus drive stalled on a fourth-down rush at the Augsburg 24-yard line. The Auggies marched 76 yards in 11 plays, with LeVesseur throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Yarzue Slowon (Sr., Crystal, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong HS) early in the second quarter.
The Gusties scored on their next drive. After a 38-yard kickoff return by Wade Vrieze (So., Richfield, Minn.), the Gusties marched 62 yards in 10 plays, capped by a one-yard scoring rush by Stifter.
Augsburg took the lead again on its next drive, as LeVesseur scored on a one-yard plunge with 55 seconds left in the first half to complete a 15-play, 68-yard drive. LeVesseur rushed for 30 yards on nine carries in the drive.
But Gustavus scored in the last minute of the first half to cut the lead to 14-13, as two long pass plays from Stolp to Kerry Zajicek (So., Glencoe, Minn./Glencoe-Silver Lake HS), a 19-yarder and a 28-yarder for a touchdown, put the Gusties on the board again with six seconds left in the first half. The point-after-touchdown kick attempt was blocked by Augsburg’s Chris Abbott (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn./St. Thomas Academy HS), one of two PATs he blocked in the game.
Zajicek caught five passes for 113 yards in the game to lead all receivers.
Augsburg opened the second half with an impressive drive, working the ball to the Gustavus 20-yard line a 12-play excursion. But Vrieze picked off a LeVesseur pass to halt the drive at the Gustie 28. On the Gusties’ first play, Stolp threw a 48-yard pass to Zajicek, and after an Augsburg penalty, Stifter rushed 29 yards for a touchdown, puting the Gusties ahead for good.
The next series of plays proved to be the eventual back-breaker for the Auggies. On the ensuing kickoff, Vrieze forced an Augsburg fumble on the kickoff return, recovered by the Gusties’ Drew Hood (Fr., Mankato, Minn./West HS) at the Auggie eight-yard line. Augsburg’s defense kept the Gusties out of the end zone, and a 19-yard field goal attempt by Gustavus’ Stolp sailed wide right. However, Augsburg was whistled for an offsides penalty, giving the Gusties the ball on fourth down at the Augsburg 1.
A fourth-down rushing attempt was stacked up by Augsburg’s Abbott and Taylor Kroger (Jr., Cottonwood, Minn./Lakeview HS), giving the ball to the Auggies on downs. But on the next play, a LeVesseur pass was intercepted by Horbacz, who returned it nine yards for the touchdown, giving the Gusties a 26-14 lead.
Augsburg scored on its next drive, as a 27-yard kickoff return by Slowon and a 42-yard rush by LeVesseur gave the Auggies good field position, and running back Jason Potts (Fr., Plymouth, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong HS) scored his first collegiate touchdown on a two-yard rush with 2:55 left in the third quarter. Potts rushed for 71 yards on 10 carries in the game.
The Gusties followed up the Auggie score with the final TD of the game, as a nine-play, 76-yard drive was capped by an 11-yard scoring strike from Stolp to Clint Riegelman (Jr., Red Wing, Minn.). On a fumbled snap on the point-after kick attempt, holder A.J. Bouquet (Jr., Rochester, Minn./Mayo HS) scrambled and threw a successful two-point conversion pass to Jerry Millan (So., Ham Lake, Minn./Totino-Grace HS).
Augsburg had another chance to score on its ensuing drive, but penalties cost the Auggies dearly. The Auggies drove to the Gustavus nine-yard line, but were pushed back to the Gustie 34 on a personal-foul penalty. After an incomplete pass, the Auggies attempted a hook-and-lateral on fourth down, but could not get to the first-down marker, and turned the ball over on downs.
Augsburg ended up being whistled for 14 penalties for 105 yards in the game, while Gustavus committed just five penalties for 45 yards.
Gustavus used up 4:06 of fourth-quarter time on its next drive, and despite being forced to punt, the Gusties were able to pin the Auggies deep in their own territory and force the hosts into hurry-up mode. A 14-play, 77-yard drive was stalled at the Gustie 13 on downs, and after getting the ball back on a punt with 1:33 to go, the Auggies could not advance the ball far enough, turning the ball over again on downs to end the game.
Sean Smith (Sr., Plymouth, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) caught five passes for 78 yards for the Gusties, while Jamie Germscheid (Jr., Madison Lake, Minn./Cleveland HS) caught three passes for 36 yards.
With his 64 rushing yards, Stifter has edged closer to becoming the 24th Gustie player to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing barrier. He now has 983 career rushing yards.
Ricky Schreier (So., Maplewood, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall HS), a defensive back moved to wide receiver in the last two weeks, led the Auggies with 68 yards receiving on six catches. Shawn Johnson (Sr., Faribault, Minn.) caught four passes for 44 yards.
Gustavus’ defense was led by linebacker Isaac Sieling (Sr., Watertown, Minn./Watertown-Mayer HS), who had 19 tackles (two solo) and a pass deflection. Chris Thorson (Jr., Shoreview, Minn./Mounds View HS) had 12 tackles (four solo), and Jared Sieling (Fr., Watertown, Minn./Watertown-Mayer HS) had 11 tadckles (four solo) and a tackle for loss. Karl Spilseth (Sr., Willmar, Minn.) had a sack for the Gusties.
Jim Gunderson (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) led Augsburg’s defense with 13 tackles (three solo), while Jordan Hastings (Jr., Crystal, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong HS) had nine tackles (two solo) and two pass deflections. Kroger had eight tackles (one solo), including a tackle for loss.
Both teams return to MIAC play next Saturday (10/16) at 1 p.m., with Augsburg playing at Hamline and Gustavus hosting St. Olaf.
(Story courtesy of Don Stoner, Augsburg Sports Information)