The Saint Olaf Oles rushed 59 times for 189 and controlled the ball for 38 minutes of the game to claim a 23-18 win over Gustavus Adolphus 23-18 in Saint Peter. Saint Olaf sophomore running back Marc Olson scored what turned out to be the clinching touchdown on a one-yard run with 5:12 left in the game. The Gusties pulled to within five at 23-18 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Stolp to Sean Smith with 3:25 left to play, but Gustavus would get no closer. Saint Olaf improves to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC, while the Gusties fall to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the MIAC.
The ability of the St. Olaf offense to control the ball on the ground turned out to be the difference in the game. The Oles were led freshman running back Jay Higgins who carried 20 times for 100 yards. Marc Olson carried 20 times for 65 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Jason Wilsey was effective through the air completing 16-of-27 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Wilsey’s one touchdown pass turned out to be an important one as he found freshman wide receiver Andrew Schmiesing in the corner of the end zone from five-yards out as time expired in the first half. Paul Fortman’s extra point gave Saint Olaf a 7-6 lead at the intermission.
Freshman quarterback Jordan Stolp had a big day for the Gusties as he completed 23-of-49 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Stolp threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Kerry Zajicek and one to Sean Smith. Gustavus’ inability to run the football (21 carries for 47 yards) led to Stolp attempting 49 passes in the game. Zajicek led the Gustie receivers with seven catches for 117 yards.
Defensively, Saint Olaf freshman defensive lineman James Bechdol had a big day as he made five tackles including one for a loss and he forced a fumble that led to a St. Olaf touchdown. For the Gusties, senior linebacker Isaac Sieling recorded 19 tackles and intercepted a pass. Sieling became only the 11th player in Gustavus football history to record 200 career tackles in the game. His current career total is 209.