The Gustavus football team will travel to Tacoma, Wash. to face Pacific Lutheran University of the Northwest Athletic Conference on Saturday, October 11 at 3:30 p.m. (CDT). The Gusties enter the contest at 2-2 overall after falling to St. Thomas 30-22 last Saturday, while the Lutes come in with an overall record of 1-2 after defeating Lewis & Clark 40-14 a week ago. Listen to a live broadcast of the game on KNUJ 860 AM or by clicking here as Tom Wheeler will provide the play-by-play.
Saturday’s contest will be the first ever meeting between Gustavus and Pacific Lutheran. The Gusties have faced only one Northwest Athletic Conference institution, Willamette University, in program history. Gustavus defeated Willamette 35-7 in 2006 and 34-25 in 2007. Pacific Lutheran faced St. Olaf in the season opener for both squads in Northfield where the Oles came away with a 17-0 victory.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) saw his career record move to 70-74 overall and 60-63 in the MIAC while in his 15th season at Gustavus. Schoenebeck announced earlier this fall that 2008 will be his last season as head coach. Pacific Lutheran Head Coach Scott Westering is entering his fifth season at the Lutes’ helm with a record of 21-18 overall. Westering served as the offensive coordinator at Pacific Lutheran for 22 seasons before replacing his father, Frosty Westering, as head coach in February 2004.
A Glance at the Gusties
Gustavus was unable to overcome a 16-0 halftime deficit in its 30-22 Homecoming loss to the University of St. Thomas on Saturday in St. Peter. The Gustie offense marched right down the field on its first possession of the game, but missed a field goal and could net get on track the rest of the half. The second half was a much different story for Gustavus as the offense scored 22 points and put some pressure on the Tommies. The Gusties got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when quarterback Jordan Becker found wide receiver Chad Arlt for a 99-yard touchdown reception. Both squads traded scoring drives until Gustavus pulled to within eight at 30-22 after Arlt caught his second touchdown of the game with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing St. Thomas drive, Gustie defensive lineman Christian Vanek tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage which was intercepted by linebacker Tony Palma giving Gustavus possession on the St. Thomas 30-yard line with 5:26 left to play. The Gusties were unable to score on the drive allowing the Tommies to hang on for the win.
Offensively, Gustavus compiled 335 total yards despite having possession of the ball for just twenty minutes. Becker went 26-of-47 passing for 313 yards and three touchdowns, while Arlt had seven receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, safety Joe Welch registered a game-high 12 tackles with three solo stops. Linebacker Zach Lundquist joined Welch in double-digit tackles with 11.
Through the first four games of the season, Gustavus is averaging 303.2 yards of offense per game with 234.5 of that total coming in the air. Arlt leads the MIAC with 118.5 receiving yards per contest, while Becker ranks third in the league in passing yards per game at 234.5. Defensively, the Gusties are allowing 368.0 yards per game including 117.0 rushing yards. Safety Joe Welch and linebacker Paul Stommes are ranked among the top ten in tackles in the conference. Welch is second with 43 total tackles and Stommes is ninth with 32.
A Look at the Lutes
Pacific Lutheran earned its first win of the season by defeating Lewis & Clark College 40-14 on Saturday in Portland, Ore. The Lutes scored on their first offensive play of the game when quarterback Michael Byrne hit wide receiver Greg Ford for a 43-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead after the extra point early in the first quarter. It was the beginning of a big day for Ford, who went on to set two Pacific Lutheran single-game records in receiving yards and touchdowns at 272 yards and five touchdowns on seven catches. The Lutes held a 33-0 lead before Lewis & Clark scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 33-14, but that is as close as the Pioneers would get. It was the 14th consecutive win for Pacific Lutheran over the Pioneers. The Lutes compiled 497 total yards compared to 302 yards for Lewis & Clark. Three players, Jordan Davison, Tim Cumming, and Haden Gienger, recorded seven tackles for Pacific Lutheran as the defense registered eight tackles for loss in the contest.
The Lute offense struggled in its first two games scoring a combined seven points before Saturday’s offensive burst. Only two starters, wide receiver Greg Ford and guard Kyle Edwards, returned from an offense that averaged 32.4 points per game in 2007. Quarterback Michael Byrne stepped into the full-time starting role this season after throwing for 449 yards and four touchdowns last year. Coach Westering has focused on the passing game due to the presence of Ford and Byrne as Pacific Lutheran is averaging 231.3 yards in the air compared to just 54.0 yards on the ground.
Linebackers Haden Gienger and Neal Chalmers lead an aggressive Lute defense that has posted 34 tackles for loss (136 yards total) and sacked the opposing team’s quarterback 12 times.
Arlt Approaching New Milestone- With his seven receptions in Saturday’s game against St. Thomas, senior Chad Arlt reached 192 career catches. Arlt needs eight receptions against Pacific Lutheran to become the sixth player in MIAC history to reach the 200-catch milestone. Arlt would join P.J. Theisen of St. Thomas, Scott Hvistendahl of Augsburg, Jim Bradford of Carleton, and Blake Elliott and Adam Herbst of Saint John’s.
Big Day for Becker- Jordan Becker’s 26-for-47 passing performance against St. Thomas put him in the Gustavus passing record book. His 47 attempts tied current quarterbacks coach Bob Southworth for the eighth highest single-game total in Gustie history. Becker’s 26 completions also tied four other players for the eighth most completions in a single-game.
Unchartered Territory- The 99-yard touchdown pass caught by Chad Arlt from quarterback Jordan Becker tied a MIAC and school record for the longest pass play in a game. Last season, Arlt set the record on a 99-yard touchdown play from Jordan Stolp against Augsburg. Arlt is believed to be the first player in college football history to have recorded two 99-yard touchdown receptions.
Coaching Reunion- Pacific Lutheran defensive coordinator Jud Keim was a member of the Gustavus coaching staff under Coach Schoenebeck from 2000-2003. During his time with the Gusties, Keim coached current Gustavus defensive coordinator Brian Bergstrom. Bergstrom, a three-time all-conference player from 1998-2001, finished his career as the all-time Gustie leader in tackles at 406.
“Pick” of the Week- Tony Palma’s fourth-quarter interception against St. Thomas extended a 16-game streak in which Gustavus has forced at least one opponent turnover. The last time the Gustie defense did not create a turnover was on October 28, 2006 in a 41-27 victory over Augsburg. In addition, Gustavus has intercepted a pass in each of its first four games of the season for the first time since 2005.