Gustavus welcomes Carleton College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field today for the final regular season game of 2007. The Gusties enter the game with a record of 4-5 overall and 2-5 in the MIAC after losing to Concordia 34-24 last Saturday. Carleton enters with a record of 3-6 overall and 1-6 in the MIAC after losing to St. Olaf 85-28 at Carleton last Saturday.
As is tradition at Gustavus, the final home game of the regular season is dedicated as Senior Day and a special tribute is made to the individuals who have committed themselves to Gustavus football for the past four years. This year, the athletics department, Coach Schoenebeck and his staff, parents, and fans salute the 15 seniors who have represented the Gustavus football program with pride and class from 2004 to the present. We thank them for their efforts and wish them the very best in the challenges ahead.
Gustavus and Carleton will be facing each other for the 33rd time today. The Gusties have compiled a mark of 15-14-3 in the all-time series. The Gusties picked up a 14-10 win in Northfield last year claiming their 10th consecutive win against the Knights. Gustavus has won the last seven games played between the two teams in St. Peter. The Gusties are 8-3 against Carleton in St. Peter since the Knights returned to the MIAC in 1983.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) is in his 14th season at the helm of the Gusties with a career record of 67-72 overall and 58-61 in the MIAC. Schoenebeck has directed the Gusties to six top four finishes in the MIAC during his tenure including a second place finish in 1998 and third place finishes in 1999, 2000, and 2002. Carleton Head Coach Kurt Ramler begins his second season directing the Knight football program. He directed Carleton to a 4-6 mark and a seventh place finish in the MIAC last year. Ramler, came to Carleton from HeidelbergCollege, where he had been the offensive coordinator. A 1997 graduate of Saint John’s University, Ramler was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Johnnies. He was the MIAC’s Most Valuable Player in 1996
A Glimpse of the Gusties
The Gusties will close out their inaugural season in the new Gustavus Stadium today against Carleton and with a win, Coach Jay Schoenebeck’s squad would post a solid 4-2 mark on the new Lloyd Hollingsworth Field. Gustavus suffered only its second loss at home last weekend with a 34-24 setback to Concordia. The Gusties struggled to stop the Cobber running game, which compiled 225 yards and rushed for four touchdowns on the day. Gustavus countered with 386 yards passing and three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as the Cobbers held on for the 10-point victory.
The Gustie offense has had a very productive year compiling 3,756 yards of total offense (10th best all-time), 4,961 all-purpose yards (7th best all-time), 417.3 yards per game of total offense (3rd best all-time), and an average of 5.6 yards per play (4th best all-time). Interestingly, Gustavus currently ranks seventh in the MIAC in total offense (404.3 yards per game) as the conference has experienced one of the most explosive offensive seasons in its 86-year history. Seven of the nine teams in the MIAC are averaging over 400 yards of total offense per game. The Gusties rank fourth in the league in passing offense at 293.6 yards per game and the team has passed for over 300 yards in four of its seven conference games this season. Individually, Jordan Stolp broke the school record for attempts in a season last week with 344 (the old mark was 335). He needs eight completions today to break the school record for completions in a season (currently 202) and 148 yards passing to break the record for passing yards in a season (currently 2,578). He is also averaging 286.4 yards passing per game, which is a new school mark for a single season (old record was 272.6).
Defensively, the Gusties became only the third team to hold the Cobbers under 40 points this season, while also forcing two key turnovers. Jared Sieling led the defense with 16 tackles and a fumble recovery. Sieling needs 10 tackles today to become only the second player in the program’s history to record two 100-tackle seasons in his career. Gustavus ranks seventh in the MIAC in total defense allowing 468.3 yards per game, but the Gusties rank fourth in the league against the run allowing 130.4 yards per game and fifth in turnovers forced with 17. Individually, Sieling leads the team in tackles with 90 (32 solo, 58 assisted), while Joe Welch is second with 72 (41 solo, 31 assisted).
A View of the Knights
The Knights will be looking to snap a three-game losing skid today after falling to St. Olaf 85-28 at home last Saturday. Carleton played a strong first half against the Oles and trailed 29-28 at the intermission, however St. Olaf exploded for 56 points in the second half. The Knights’ offense posted some impressive numbers including four touchdown passes and 459 yards passing against a solid St. Olaf defense. Individually, quarterback Shane Henfling completed a school record 33 passes for a personal best 421 yards and four touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Matt Frank made 12 catches for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, junior strong safety Drew Ziller made 12 tackles and forced two fumbles.
Carleton ranks sixth in the MIAC in total defense allowing an average of 414.0 yards per game, while the offense ranks eighth in the league with an average of 312.6 yards per game. Turnovers have been a problem for the Knights as they have committed a league high 33 including 12 fumbles and 21 interceptions. Individually, Ziller leads the MIAC in tackles with 75 (an average of 10.7 tackles per game).
Senior Sendoff — Fifteen seniors will take part in their final home game as Golden Gusties today. In spite of its relatively small size, this group has set a great example for the program by its performance on the field and its work ethic during practices. The Gustavus Athletics Department would like to extend a sincere thank you to this fine group of gentlemen for their leadership on and off the field for the past four years. The seniors playing their final game today include: Jared Sieling, Jordan Stolp, Tom Johnson, Mitch Anderson, Blake Theisen, Mike Johnson, Carl Wilking, Phil King, Ian Ruppel, Chris Kappler, Andy Klaers, Andrew Liska, and Patrick Riordan. In addition to these 13 players, two seniors have been valuable members of the coaching staff this season. Those two are Kraig Olson and Justin Barlow. We salute this fine group as they bid farewell to the Golden Gustie football program today!!!
2008 Golden Gustie Football Schedule — At the present time, the Gusties are set to open their 2008 season on Saturday, Sept. 6 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa against Coe College. The rest of the Gustavus schedule includes Sept. 13 vs. St. Thomas at home, Sept. 20 at Hamline, Sept. 27 vs. St. Olaf at home, Oct. 4 vs. Bethel at home, Oct. 11 at Saint John’s, Oct. 18 is an open date, Oct. 25 vs. Augsburg at home, Nov. 1 at Concordia, and Nov. 8 at Carleton. Please note that it is possible that Gustavus is likely to add a tenth game to this schedule and that game will most likely be played Saturday, Aug. 30 against an opponent and site yet to be determined. The schedule will be posted on the Gustavus website as soon as it has been finalized.
Armstrong Putting “Special” in Special Teams — Junior punt returner Ethan Armstrong leads the MIAC in punt returns with an average of 13.4 yards per return. Armstrong has recorded 21 returns this season, which is the third highest single season total in the program’s history and he can tie the school record with five returns today. His 228 punt return yards are the fourth highest single season total and he needs 20 yards today to move into third place. Armstrong is also climbing up the career punt return charts as he currently ranks third all-time in career returns with 47 and fourth all-time in return yards with 428.
Ostertag in the Zone — Junior kicker John Ostertag has quietly put together one of the finest seasons by a Gustavus kicker in the program’s history. Ostertag, who became the regular kicker in the second game of the season, has made nine field goals in nine attempts and his nine field goals are the fourth highest single season total in the program’s history. He has made at least one field goal in seven of the eight games he has played in this season and he leads the MIAC in field goals made in conference games with seven. Ostertag’s season long field goal is 39 yards against Macalester.
Stolp Earns “Iron Man” Distinction — Jordan Stolp will complete his Gustavus career today having played in all 40 games for the Gusties over the past four seasons. Several other seniors have played in a very high percentage of Gustavus’ games since the 2004 season including Jared Sieling (38 games), Blake Theisen (36 games), Tom Johnson (35 games), Mitch Anderson (34 games), and Ian Ruppel and Andy Klaers (32 games).