The Gustavus football team will square off against No. 22 Carleton College on Saturday, October 18 at 1 p.m. in Northfield, Minn. The Gusties head to Northfield with an overall record of 3-2 after defeating Pacific Lutheran 24-14 last Saturday, while the Knights come in with an overall record of 5-0 after defeating Augsburg 49-41 a week ago. Gustavus is 1-2 in the MIAC standings and Carleton is 3-0 in league play. The game will be broadcast on KNUJ 860 AM as well as through the Gustavus Athletics website at gustavus.edu/athletics/audio.cfm. Carleton will be providing live stats for the game, which are accessible here.
Saturday’s contest will be the 34th meeting between Gustavus and Carleton. The Gusties defeated the Knights 37-14 in the last game of the 2007 season at Hollingsworth Field. Gustavus has won 11 straight games against Carleton as the Gusties have averaged 36.8 points per game compared to 13.9 points per game for the Knights. Carleton has not defeated Gustavus since 1996 when the Knights won 17-14 in Northfield.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Jay Schoenebeck (’80) saw his career record improve to 71-74 overall and remain at 60-63 in the MIAC while in his 15th season at Gustavus. Schoenebeck has a coaching record of 12-2 against the Knights. Carleton Head Coach Kurt Ramler is entering his third season at the Knights’ helm with a record of 12-13 overall. Ramler, a Saint John’s graduate, has led Carleton to five wins for the first time since 1996 and its first 5-0 record since 1992.
A Glance at the Gusties
Gustavus scored 21 straight points in the second and third quarters on their way to a come-from-behind 24-14 win over Pacific Lutheran University in Puyallup, Wash. last Saturday. Safety Joe Welch came up with a big play in the first quarter when he intercepted a pass deflected by cornerback Ethan Armstrong in the end zone to keep the Lutes from going up 14-0. The Gusties tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter when a two-yard scoring run by Adam Lukes capped off a 17-play, 73-yard drive that lasted nearly eight minutes. Welch registered his second interception of the game late in the second quarter, which led to a one-yard Lukes touchdown run and a 14-7 Gustavus lead at halftime. The Gusties extended their lead to 21-7 when quarterback Jordan Becker found Elliott Herdina in the right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown reception with 10:35 remaining in the game. Pacific Lutheran scored on the ensuing drive to cut the deficit in half at 21-14 with 9:11 left on the clock. The Gustavus offense countered with an important 10-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in a 32-yard field goal by John Ostertag. The field goal gave the Gusties a 24-14 lead with 2:33 remaining in the contest. T.J. Ridley sealed the win for the Gusties when he intercepted a Lute pass as the clock was running out.
Offensively, Gustavus compiled 314 total yards including a season high 122 yards rushing. Chad Arlt led the receiving corps with four receptions for 81 yards, including clutch grabs on third- and fourth-down on two Gustavus scoring drives. Running back Ray Wilson led the Gusties on the ground with 16 carries for 62 yards. Jordan Becker finished the game 17-of-36 passing for 192 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions. On defense, Ted Aleckson led the team with five tackles, including a sack in the first quarter. Four players, Isaac Perry, T.J. Ridley, Tony Palma, and Dustin Kammerer, registered four tackles each as the Gusties held the Lutes to 58 yards rushing and 159 yards passing. Gustavus turned the five Pacific Lutheran turnovers into 14 points, while the Gustie defense did not allow the Lutes to score after any of the five Gustie turnovers.
Halfway through the season, Gustavus is averaging 305.4 yards of offense per game including 226.0 passing yards and 79.4 rushing yards. Arlt is second in the MIAC with 111.2 receiving yards per contest, while Becker ranks third in the league in passing yards per game at 226.0. Defensively, the Gusties are allowing 337.8 yards per game including 105.2 rushing yards. Safety Joe Welch has three interceptions, which is tied for first place in the conference with four other players. Welch has also recorded 46 total tackles which is tied for second in the league.
A Look at the Knights
Carleton took over sole possession of first place in the MIAC standings after defeating Augsburg 49-41 in a shootout on Saturday in Northfield, Minn. The two teams combined for 90 points and over 1,000 yards of total offense, but it was the Knight special teams that made the difference. After Carleton tied the score 35-35 in the third quarter, Coach Ramler decided to attempt an on-side kick. The play was executed perfectly as the Knights gained control of the ball on their 45-yard line. Four plays later, Carleton took its first lead of the game at 42-35 when quarterback Shane Henfling connected with Will McGivern-Smith on a five-yard touchdown reception. Later in the game, special teams provided the Knights with what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown when Drew Ziller blocked an Augsburg punt and returned it 25 yards for the score with just over 14 minutes left in the contest. Carleton sealed the victory when Ziller intercepted an Augsburg pass at midfield with 00:27 left on the clock. Offensively, the Knights were led by Henfling, who completed 21-of-27 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Jon Lien carried the ball 25 times for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, two players recorded double-digit tackles as linebacker Tim Mulso finished with 13 stops and cornerback Kane Beckstein had 10.
Carleton currently ranks second in the MIAC with an average 29.0 points per game and second in total offense with an average of 366.3 yards per game. The Knights rank ninth in the league in total defense allowing an average of 403.3 yards per game. Quarterback Shane Henfling leads the MIAC in pass efficiency as he has completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 780 yards, 8 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. Matt Frank, who missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury, leads the MIAC in receiving yards with an average of 136.5 yards per game. Defensive back Drew Ziller leads the Knight defense with 46 total tackles and three forced fumbles. Safety Neil Kolstad has recorded four of the six Carleton interceptions and broken up three passes.
Gustavus Game Notes
Defense Comes Up One Short of Interception Mark – The five interceptions by the Gustavus defense against Pacific Lutheran fell one pick short of tying the school record of six interceptions in a game. The Gusties recorded six interceptions against Hamline and Augsburg in 1970 and Macalester in 1977. Gustavus has picked off 11 passes in four of its five games this season, one pick short of 2007’s total of 12.
Double Time- Joe Welch became the sixth Gustie player since 2000 to record two interceptions in a single game. He is the first player to have multiple interceptions since Brian Evans recorded two picks in a 14-10 win over Carleton on November 11, 2006 (a span of 14 games).
Special Teams Success — The Gustavus special teams have been performing well as a whole as the Gusties lead the MIAC in kickoff coverage with a net average of 44.0 yards (which means their opponents are starting at their own 26-yard line), rank third in kickoff returns with an average of 22.0 yards per return, and fifth in punting with a net of 32.8 yards.
Down the Stretch — The Gusties begin the second half of their season on Saturday at Carleton and it looks to be a challenging final five games. The teams Gustavus will face down the stretch have a combined record of 18-9 through the first five games of the season. The Gusties remaining schedule includes Carleton (5-0, away on 10/18), Augsburg (4-1, at home on 10/25), Bethel (3-3, away on 11/1), St. Olaf (3-3, away on 11/8), and Concordia (3-2, at home on 11/15).
Gustavus in the National Rankings- The Gusties are ranked in several NCAA statistical categories. As a team, Gustavus is tied for 15th in passes intercepted at 11. Individually, Chad Arlt ranks 23rd in receiving yards per game at 111.2 yards and 30th in receptions per game at 7.00, while Cody Sukalski is 33rd in kickoff returns averaging 25.71 yards per return.
Becker Making Progress — Junior quarterback Jordan Becker has put together some solid numbers in his first five games as the starting signal caller for the Gusties. Overall, Becker has completed 98 passes in 169 attempts for 1,130 yards and nine touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He has completed a sparkling 58.0 percent of his passes and has an efficiency rating of 118.71. In addition, Becker has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season (with a high of three against St. Thomas) and he has completed at least one pass of 40-yards or longer in every game (with the longest being the 99-yard td pass against the Tommies). His inexperience has shown at times as he has thrown 11 interceptions (including four against both Hamline and Pacific Lutheran), but Coach Schoenebeck is pleased with the progress Becker has made in taking every snap for the Gusties in the first five games of the season.
Ground Attack — The 49 carries (for 122 yards) by Gustavus running backs last Saturday was the second highest total in a single game in the past five years. The only other time the Gusties ran more in a single game during that stretch was against Hamline last season when the team carried 50 times for 248 yards. The running success against Pacific Lutheran helped Gustavus control the ball for just under 37 minutes (36:53), which was also the second highest single game total for possession in the last five seasons (the best was 37:43 in a 30-14 win at St. Thomas last year).