Two first-half touchdowns proved to be enough Saturday as the Gustavus Adolphus football team edged Carleton 14-10 in the team’s season finale in Northfield. The Gustavus defense amassed five takeaways (four interceptions, one fumble) and Jordan Stolp (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) threw a pair of touchdowns for the Gusties.
Carleton got on the board first, capitalizing on a fumble by Jordan Stolp on Gustavus’ second offensive play of the day. Taking over at the Gustavus 42, the Knights used a mix of run and pass on a 10-play, 42-yard drive that resulted in a five-yard touchdown pass from Darren Caspers to Matt Frank to put Carleton up 7-0 with 10:07 to play in the first half.
A combination of Gustavus defensive pressure and Carleton miscues led to the Gusties’ first score. On the Knights’ initial drive of the second quarter, Gustie senior defensive back Brian Evans (Gaylord, Minn.) intercepted a Caspers pass near midfield, but was unable to keep a hold of the ball, fumbling the ball back to Carleton after a nine-yard return. Fate smiled on the Gusties, though, as Caspers fumbled the ball back to the Gusties on the very next play. Gustavus took the break and needed only three plays to cash in as Stolp found Kerry Zajicek (Sr., Glencoe, Minn.) on a 23-yard touchdown play to knot the score at 7-7.
The Knights nearly caught a break of their own late in the half, only to see the momentum swing back in the Gusties’ favor. After recovering a Gustavus fumble at the Gustavus 24-line with only 1:30 to play, Carleton seemed poised to take the lead into halftime. However, this would not be the case. On third-and-10, Gustie linebacker Adam Miron (Sr., Princeton, Minn.) made the third Gustavus interception of the quarter and rumbled 74 yards to the Carleton 11-yard line, where the tackle was made by wide receiver Mike Kootsikas. After an 8-yard completion to Adam Lukes (So., Watertown, Minn.) moved the ball down to the three, Stolp hooked up with tight end Patrick Wieneke (Sr., Jackson, Minn.) for the touchdown with one second remaining on the clock. A Stolp extra point gave the Gusties the 14-7 edge heading into the locker room.
Late in the third quarter, the Knights mounted their second sustained drive of the game. Taking over on downs at their own 31-yard line, Carleton drove 60 yards in 11 plays but had to settle for a 26-yard Tim Kane field goal to cut the score to 14-10 on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The Gustavus defense stepped up again in the fourth quarter, stopping Carleton twice on fourth down and making their fourth interception of the day to secure the victory. Gustavus was outgained 269-164 by Carleton during the game, limited to 25 net rushing yards on 24 carries. Stolp finished 15-of-34 through the air for 139 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Gusties. Mitch Anderson (Jr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) led the Gusties with 23 yards on three carries, while Adam Lukes picked up 19 yards on six carries. Chad Arlt made five grabs for 48 yards, while Kerry Zajicek added three catches for 62 yards, including a 31-yard reception in the first quarter.
Darren Caspers led the Knights both through the air going 20-of-38 for 201 yards a touchdown and three interceptions, while also rushing the ball a game-high 23 times for 12 yards. Matt Frank had game highs in both catches (8) and receiving yards (93).
Miron led all players with eight tackles (five solo) and also had a quarterback sack in addition to the long interception return. Evans finished with six tackles (five solo) and two interceptions, while Jared Sieling (Jr., Watertown, Minn.), Wade Vrieze (Sr., Richfield, Minn.), and Kevin Hegland (Sr., St. Michael, Minn.) each contributed five tackles for the Gusties, who also compiled four quarterback sacks. Drew Ziller, Mike Kootsikas, and James Clark each had five tackles to lead the Knights.
The season-ending win over Carleton gave Gustavus head coach Jay Schoenebeck his 63rd career win, tying him with George Myrum for third place on the Gustavus career coaching wins list. Myrum was 63-20-6 from 1926-38. Schoenebeck is 63-67-0 since 1994.
Chad Arlt put together one of the best seasons ever by a Gustavus receiver. His 56 catches this season ranked tied for second most (w/ Ryan Hoag, 2002) on the all-time single season receptions list, while his 765 receiving yards ranked fourth for a single season. Larry Bodin holds the single-season records for both receptions and receiving yards, making 58 catches for 889 yards in 1985.
Senior Kerry Zajicek wrapped up his career with at least one catch in his last 16 games. Zajicek now ranks fourth in career receptions with 117 and sixth in career receiving yards with 1,397 yards.
Junior Jordan Stolp became just the second Golden Gustie quarterback to attempt 900 passes in a career with his 34 attempts Saturday. Stolp, who now has 926 career attempts, trails only current Gustavus defensive backs coach Bob Southworth, who holds the school record with 986 career passing attempts. Stolp also ranks third in completions (476) and passing yardage (5,681) and fifth in touchdown passes (42).
With his five tackles against the Knights, Jared Sieling moved past older brother Isaac and into fourth place on Gustavus’ career tackles list with 267. Sieling now also sits third on the career solo tackles list with 126, having passed Shane Thielke (125 career solo tackles) with four on Saturday.
Senior defensive back Kevin Hegland became just the eight Gustavus football player to record 100 career solo tackles. Hegland capped his career with 105 solo stops, 175 overall. Fellow senior Wade Vrieze nearly reached the milestone, but with four solo tackles against the Knights finished with 99 career solo tackles.
Gustavus (6-4 overall, 4-4 MIAC) closed the year on a four-game winning streak.