The Gustavus football team lost to St. Olaf 34-17 in Northfield on Saturday afternoon. The Gusties pulled to within three points at 20-17 on a Mitch Anderson touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. The Oles, however countered with two touchdowns in a two-minute span midway through the final quarter to break the game open and claim the victory. Gustavus falls to 1-6-0 overall and 1-4-0 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf improves to 6-0-0 overall and 4-0-0 in the MIAC.
Gustavus started the game with a nine-play, 46-yard drive that ended with Jordan Stolp kicking a 32-yard field goal to give the Gusties a 3-0 lead. St. Olaf countered with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jason Wilsey to Horace Gant. The extra point was good and the Oles led 7-3.
The Oles put together another impressive drive in the second quarter, this one a 13 play, 70-yard drive that ended with Chris Feehan scoring on a three-yard run. The extra point extended the Ole lead to 14-3. Gustavus fought its way back into the game on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Stolp to Clint Riegelman with 1:40 left in the first half. The extra point made the score 14-10 in favor of St. Olaf at the intermission.
Both defenses came up with big stands in the third quarter and the only scoring was a 30-yard field goal by Paul Fortman. St. Olaf led 17-10 through three quarters of play.
The Oles extended their lead to 20-10, when Fortman added his second field goal of the game, this one from 20 yards out just :40 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Gusties kept the Oles in reach with an impressive 11 play, 69-yard drive that ended with Mitch Anderson scoring on a four-yard run with 10:09 left in the game. Stolp’s extra point cut St. Olaf’s lead to 20-17.
St. Olaf started to pull away on the first play of the next series as Jason Wilsey connected with Jay Higgins on a 75-yard touchdown pass to push the lead back to 10 at 27-17. On the next series, Gustavus quarterback Jordan Stolp was intercepted by Matt Dean at the Gustie 40-yard line and and Dean returned the ball to the 16. The Oles scored six plays later when Wilsey hooked up with Preston St. John for a three-yard touchdown pass. The extra point gave St. Olaf a 34-17 lead.
Gustavus compiled 296 yards of total offense compared to 488 yards for St. Olaf. The Gusties only turned the ball over once, and did not get assessed a penalty in the contest, but struggled on third down converting on only 3-of-12 opportunities.
Offensively, Gustavus was led by Kerry Zajicek who made 11 catches for 101 yards. Jordan Stolp also had a solid performance as he completed 19-of-35 passes for 237 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Defensively, free safety Kevin Hegland, tackle Andrew Brown, and strong safety Neil Petrash all collected eight tackles. On special teams, kick returner Wade Vrieze had a big day with five returns for 103 yards with a long return of 33 yards.
The Gusties will have a bye next week and then return to action with a game at St. Thomas on October 29.