Two blocked extra point attempts late in the game helped the Gustavus football team defeat 22nd-ranked Carleton College 30-29 in an overtime thriller in Northfield, Minn. on Saturday. Head coach Jay Schoenebeck’s squad first blocked point after attempt came with four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, forcing the game into overtime when the Gusties deflected another extra point for the victory. Gustavus improved its record to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC. Carleton, which has not defeated the Gusties since 1996, fell to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in league play.
Gustavus needed 16 plays on its first possession of the game to take a 3-0 lead after Jake Holsten (Sr., Stillwater, Minn.) kicked a 26-yard field goal with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter. Jordan Becker (Jr., Easton, Minn.) converted two long fourth-down plays when he completed a nine-yard pass to Elliott Herdina (Fy., Blooming Prairie, Minn.) and rushed for 11 yards to sustain the drive. The Gusties took more than seven minutes off the clock as they kept Carleton’s offense off the field.
The Knights responded on the ensuing drive with a 28-yard field goal from Tim Kane to tie the score at 3-3 in the first minute of the second quarter. Carleton quarterback Shane Henfling used a 14-yard run and a Gustavus face mask penalty to move into Gustie territory on third-and-16 as the Knights gained momentum. Carleton was forced to kick a field goal after the Knights could not move the chains inside the red zone.
Gustavus scored its first touchdown minutes later with Becker ran into the end zone from 17 yards out to give the Gusties a 10-3 lead after Holsten added the extra point. However, Carleton answered with a six-yard touchdown pass from Henfling to Chris Gardner and extra point to even the score at 10-10 with 5:09 left in the first half.
The Knights threatened to score before the end of the second quarter as they marched down the field. Carleton had first-and-ten at the Gustavus 16-yard line after Henfling connected with Phil Blue for a 27-yard pass play. The Gustie defense kept the Knights from taking the lead at halftime when Tony Palma (Jr., Lino Lakes, Minn.) blocked Tim Kane’s 34-yard field goal attempt as the score remained tied 10-10 at halftime.
Gustavus started its second possession of the third quarter at the Carleton-48. The Gusties pushed the ball down the field with three straight rushing plays for 33 yards including a 22-yard scamper from Cody Sukalski (So., Blue Earth, Minn.). On third-and-16 at the Knight 21-yard line, Becker found Herdina in the end zone to give Gustavus a 17-10 lead with 8:32 left on the clock in the third quarter after Holsten tacked on the extra point.
Carleton put together a 10-play, 79-yard drive to get tie the game at 17-17 with 9:14 left in the game after Henfling hit Steve Ramey in the end zone with a six-yard pass. Henfling went 5-of-8 passing for 69 yards, including a 34-yard completion to Matt Frank, during the drive.
The Gusties started the next possession on their 13-yard line and proceeded to march down the field. Gustavus came up with big plays in third-down situations as Becker completed three passes to three different receivers. The biggest play of the drive came when Becker hit John Retka (Sr., Shoreview, Minn.) for a 25-yard pass to give the Gusties first-and-goal at the nine-yard line. Running back Adam Lukes (Sr., Watertown, Minn.) found his way into the end zone from the three-yard line three plays later to give Gustavus the 23-17 lead after the point after attempt failed with 3:11 left in the game.
The Knights tied the score three minutes later at 23-23 when Dylan Bothun caught a five-yard pass from Henfling with the point after attempt remaining. However, Gustavus blocked the kick to keep the game knotted at 23-23 with ten seconds left in regulation.
Carleton won the coin toss and elected to play defense first in overtime. On second-and-10, Becker found Chad Arlt (Sr., St. Michael, Minn.) for a 24-yard pass to give the Gusties first-and-goal. Lukes fumbled at the goal line three plays later, but offensive lineman Chris Martinez (So., Champlin, Minn.) came up with the ball giving Gustavus the touchdown. Holsten nailed the extra point giving the Gusties a 30-23 lead.
When the Knights took over possession, Henfling ran into the end zone from five yards out to pull Carleton within one point at 30-29 with the extra point to come. However, Gustavus was able to get deflect the point after attempt again to come away with the victory.
Offensively, Gustavus rushed over 100 yards for the second consecutive game as the Gusties outrushed Carleton 168-77. Four players, Cody Sukalski, Adam Lukes, Jordan Becker, and Elliott Herdina, provided the balanced ground attack as they rushed for over 30 yards each. Gustavus used its running game to keep the Carleton offense off the field as the Gusties had control of the ball for nearly 33 minutes (32:54) compared to 27 minutes for the Knights.
Becker completed 17-of-31 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. Chad Arlt led all wide receivers with eight catches for 109 yards. Arlt, who currently stands at 204 career receptions, P.J. Theisen of St. Thomas, Scott Hvistendahl of Augsburg, Jim Bradford of Carleton, and Blake Elliott and Adam Herbst of Saint John’s as the only players in MIAC history to reach the 200-catch milestone.
On defense, Gustavus was led by linebackers Paul Stommes (So., Richmond, Minn.) and Dustin Kammerer (So., Watertown, Minn.) with nine and eight tackles, respectively, as the Gusties held Carleton to 332 total offensive yards, nearly 80 yards lower than its conference average. Safety Joe Welch (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) also contributed six stops, one interception, and broke up two passes.
Henfling led the Knights in passing and rushing as he finished 28-for-48 passing for 255 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, while rushing for 45 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown. Defensively, Carleton was paced by Drew Ziller, who recorded 12 tackles, one forced fumble, and broke up two passes.