The Gustavus Adolphus football team scored the game’s inital points, but #3 Saint John’s responded with 34 consecutive points, pulling away in the final 17:16 of play for a 34-7 victory at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville Saturday.
Jordan Stolp (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Chad Arlt (So., St. Michael, Minn.) on a 5-yard touchdown pass on the Gusties’ first offensive series to give Gustavus a 7-0 lead with 8:05 to play in the first quarter, capping a 10-play, 64-yard drive that took 5:28 off the clock. After trading punts, the Johnnies responded with a touchdown of their own as Craig Luberts scampered in from six yards out to knot the score at 7-7 with 0:18 to play in the game’s opening frame.
Saint John’s took the lead in the second quarter by capitalizing on a Gustavus miscue. Kevin Boegel intercepted a Jordan Stolp pass at the Gustavus 32-yard line on the first play following a Johnnie punt, giving the hosts prime field position. Mike Lofboom gave Saint John’s a 13-7 lead six plays later as he scored on a 3-yard touchdown run.
Gustavus defensive back Wade Vrieze (Sr., Richfield, Minn.) stunted another Johnnie scoring opportunity before it had a chance to develop, intercepting an Alex Kofoed pass at the Gustavus 35-yard line with 23 seconds to play in the first half.
Kick returner Ethan Armstrong (So., Wheaton, Minn.) gave the Gusties good field position to start the second half with a 41-yard kickoff return, but the Gusties were unable to capitalize. Three rushes resulted in only five yards, forcing a punt by Jordan Stolp. The teams traded punts on the next two series, the last by Jordan Stolp resulting in a touchback for the Johnnies.
Saint John’s took the ball at their own 20 and began chipping away at the Gustavus defense before breaking the game open with a 28-yard Kofoed-to-Kyle Gearman touchdown pass with 2:16 to play in the quarter. The 9-play drive covered 80 yards in a time of 4:10 and put the Johnnies up 20-7.
The Johnnies added two more scores in the fourth quarter as Luberts scored from seven yards out and Mike Patnode added a 20-yard touchdown run.
Saint John’s finished the game with a 343-181 advantage in total offense, including a 126-31 edge on the ground. Patnode, Luberts, and Lofboom each carried a substantial part of the running load for the Johnnies, with Patnode leading all rushers with 53 yards on nine carries, helped by the 20-yard TD run. Luberts carreid the ball seven times for 31 yards, while Lofboom added 28 yards on nine carries. For Gustavus, Adam Lukes (So., Watertown, Minn.) and Ray Wilson (So., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) split most of the carries, with Lukes gaining 21 yards on 10 carries. Wilson added 18 yards on 11 carries.
Kofoed, last week’s MIAC Offensive Player of the Week, passed for 217 yards, hitting on 18 of 34 attempts. Gustavus’ Jordan Stolp finished 12-of-18 for 114 yards. Each quarterback had a touchdown and an interception. Jacob Mehr (Sr., Aitkin, Minn.) was a perfect 3-of-3 for 36 yards in relief of Stolp in the fourth quarter.
Brian Weber (61 yards) and Lofboom (59 yards) were Kofoed’s most frequent targets, each making five catches. A total of nine Gusties recorded a catch Saturday, led by Lukes and Wilson with three catches apiece out of the backfield. Arlt and tight end Patrick Wieneke (Sr., Jackson, Minn.) each snagged two balls for 24 yards. Tom Johnson (Jr., Mankato, Minn.), John Retka (So., Shoreview, Minn.), Ben Brandt (Fy., Rochester, Minn.), Mitch Anderson (Jr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) and Kerry Zajicek (Sr., Glencoe, Minn.) each made one grab. For Zajicek, it was his first catch against the Johnnies and extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 12.
Gustavus’ Taylor Beahrs (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) and Saint John’s Nick Gunderson each recorded a game-high eight tackles with four solo stops and four assists. Gunderson added two tackles for loss and a sack. Adam Miron (Sr., Princeton, Minn.) and Wade Vrieze each added seven tackles for the Gusties.
Vrieze’s second quarter interception, the seventh of his career, moves him into a tie with fellow senior Kevin Hegland (St. Michael, Minn.) and 10 other former Gusties for ninth place on the career interceptions chart.
With six tackles overall and three solo tackles, junior linebacker Jared Sieling (Watertown, Minn.) moved past Brad Arndt into 10th place on the Gustavus all-time tackles list with 233 and past Brent Staples and Dirk Erickson into fourth place on the all-time solo tackles list with 108.
Gustavus (2-4 overall, 1-4 MIAC) will look to get back on the winning track next weekend when they travel to Macalester (1-4 overall) for a non-conference game.