Gustavus welcomes Bethel University to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field this weekend for a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup. The Gusties are 2-2, 1-2 in the MIAC after last weekend’s 41-13 home loss to St. Olaf. Bethel enters today’s contest with a 4-1 overall record, 2-1 in the MIAC after a 17-7 win over St. Thomas last weekend.
Gustavus celebrates its 82nd Homecoming this weekend against the Royals, continuing a tradition that began in 1924. The Gusties have compiled an all-time mark of 58-21-2 on Homecoming Day, including a 42-27 win over Augsburg last season. Gustavus defeated Bethel 59-19 on Homecoming Day in 1978, the first-ever meeting between the schools on the football field. The Gusties and Royals also met on Homecoming in 1996, with the Royals prevailing 33-25.
Gustavus and Bethel will be facing each other for the 29th time today. The Gusties hold a 15-13 advantage in the all-time series. Bethel has won 13 of 16 meetings in the series dating back to the 1990 season. Gustavus jumped out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter of last year’s game and held on for a 24-22 win in the season finale for both schools in St. Peter. The Gusties have not won consecutive games against the Royals since rattling off 12 wins in a row from 1978-89.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his 13th season directing his alma mater. Schoenebeck has compiled a record of 59-65 overall, and 53-54 in the MIAC. Schoenebeck’s squads have placed in the top four in the MIAC in six of the past eight seasons. Steve Johnson is in his 18th season as the head coach at Bethel. Johnson is the all-time winningest coach at Bethel with a record of 115-60-1 and has directed his teams to winning records in the MIAC in 14 of his 17 years at the helm. He graduated from Bethel in 1979 with a major in physical education.
A LOOK AT TODAY’S GAME
A Glimpse of the Gusties
Gustavus will be looking to get back on the winning track this weekend after suffering a tough 41-13 loss to St. Olaf last Saturday. Jordan Stolp threw for 315 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-41 passing, including a 97-yard scoring strike to Kerry Zajicek in the fourth quarter that equals the Gustavus all-time mark. Zajicek caught 10 balls for 170 yards, the sixth-highest single game mark for receiving yards in Gustavus history.
The Oles raced out to a 14-0 lead, but the Gusties cut the lead to 14-7 midway through the second quarter as sophomore running back Ray Wilson plunged in from two yards out for a touchdown. The Ole special teams stepped up late in the first half, as Ryan St. John blocked a Matt Knutson punt attempt at the Gustavus two-yard line, which was recovered in the end zone by Steven Wood for the St. Olaf touchdown.
St. Olaf took the momentum gained on the play into the half with a 20-7 lead and used it to extend their lead with three touchdowns in the second half. Gustavus’ lone second half touchdown came with 5:51 to play in the game as Stolp found Zajicek on a fly route down the right sideline for the record-tying touchdown reception.
For the second straight week, field position played a significant factor in the outcome of the game. This week, however, the numbers were not in Gustavus’ favor. During the final three quarters, St. Olaf started its drives, on average, from their own 44-yard line, while Gustavus, on average, started from their own 26-yard line. Ole punter Paul Fortman punted six times with a 48.2 yard per punt average, pinning the Gusties inside their own 20-yard line on three occasions.
Through four games, the Gustie offense is averaging 297.8 yards per game, while the defense is allowing 280.2 yards per game. Senior linebacker Adam Miron leads the team with 27 tackles (8 solo, 19 assists). Jordan Stolp ranks second in the MIAC to St. Olaf’s Matt Penz in both passing average (223.3) and total offense (219.7). Chad Arlt (21 rec.) and Kerry Zajicek (20 rec.) top all MIAC receivers in league play.
A View of the Royals
Bethel has gotten off to a good start this season, posting a 4-1 record after grinding out wins over Buena Vista (13-0), Simpson (23-17), Concordia (21-7) and St. Thomas (17-7). In last weekend’s win over St. Thomas, the Royals outgained the Toms 346 to 185 in total offense, including 275 to 64 on the ground. Bethel held a 10-minute advantage in time of possession and ran 27 more plays than St. Thomas.
Individually, running back Phil Porta was a workhorse in the running game, rushing for 180 yards on 41 carries. Quarterback Ben Wetzell added 52 yards on 15 carries and finished 7-of-15 through the air for 71 yards and a touchdown. Kirby Carr and Steve Luebke each recorded six tackles.
The Royals offense, although not all that flashy, has been very effective averaging 207.2 yards on the ground. Bethel is only fifth in the MIAC in scoring offense at 17.3 points per game, but the Royals have been very stingy on defense in 2006. The best scoring defense in the MIAC has allowed only 10.3 points per game in three MIAC contests, and is limiting its league opponents to 149.0 passing yards and 52.3 rushing yards per game. Bethel has also done well pressuring opposing quarterbacks this season, posting 18 sacks through five games and has allowed only 56 first downs, 37 in league play.
Porta enters this week’s game as the MIAC’s rushing leader in yards (357) and yards per game (119.0) despite missing two games earlier this season. Already the holder of single-season and career rushing records at Bethel, Porta needs only 292 yards over the final five weeks of the season to become the MIAC’s all-time leading rusher. Wetzell, the starting quarterback, is ninth in the league in rushing at 52.3 yards per game. Senior linebacker Kirby Carr, a three-time All-MIAC selection, leads the team with 39 tackles, 5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss. Carr’s 7.7 tackles per game average in league games ranks eighth in the MIAC. Senior defensive end Zach Danielson is 13th in the MIAC at 7.3 tackles per game and has 4.5 sacks on the year.
Homecoming Trivia — The Gusties will be looking to win their fourth homecoming game in five years this Saturday against Bethel. Gustavus’ most lopsided homecoming win ever was a 61-0 rout of Hamline in 1935. The closest homecoming victories for the Gusties came in 1964 when they edged Minnesota-Duluth 21-20 and in 1974 when they edged St. Olaf by the same score.
Reliving Championship Glory — Gustavus would like to recognize MIAC Championship teams from 1946, 1951 and 1971 during Homecoming this year. The 1946 squad coached by Tuddie Lindenberg finished 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC. The 1951 squad, coached by Lee Krough, won the second of six consecutive league titles for the Gusties. Gustavus finished 9-0-1 and 6-0-0 in the conference that year, surviving a 21-20 scare at Concordia in its league opener. The 1971 squad, the first directed by longtime Gustavus coach Denny Raarup, posted a 6-1 MIAC mark to share the title with Saint John’s.
Dialing Long-Distance — Jordan Stolp and Kerry Zajicek tied the Gustavus school record for longest completion with a 97-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s game against St. Olaf. The completion tied the record originally set when Joe Thorvig found Ryan Hoag on a long-distance scoring strike against St. Olaf in 2000 at the Metrodome.
Hitting the Century Mark — The 97-yard touchdown pass may have put Zajicek in the Gustavus record book, but it was also his 100th career reception, which ties Todd Raarup for fifth place on the Gustavus career list. 2006 Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame inductee John Huepenbecker is fourth on the list with 107 career receptions. Zajicek’s 170 receiving yards last Saturday also ranks as the sixth best single-game mark in Gustavus history. Zajicek currently ranks 11th on the Gustavus all-time list with 1,175 career receiving yards. He is within striking distance of Darin Zielsdorf in tenth place (1,190 yards; 1988-91) and Tim Belmore in ninth place (1,196 yards; 1992-95).
Marking the End of an Era — When Gustavus meets Augsburg on Oct. 28, it will not only be the final home game of the season, but it will also be the last football game to be played on what is now Hollingsworth Field. One of the oldest stadiums in the nation, Hollingsworth Field (originally Hallander Field and then Gustavus Field) was initially laid out in its current configuration in 1905. The Gustavus Adolphus Athletics Department invites all current and former Golden Gustie football players to be in attendance for that final game. A photograph of all former players in attendance will be taken following the game. Anyone needing more information should contact Randall Stuckey ’83, Gustavus Director of Alumni Relations at (507) 933-7514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGE
11 Jordan Stolp