The Gustavus football team controlled the line of scrimmage as the Gusties rushed for 354 yards in a 34-31 victory over Augsburg College on Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. Senior running back Ray Wilson (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) set a single-game record with 258 rushing yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winning touchdown on an 81-yard dash. Gustavus, which has won three straight games, remained in the hunt for the conference title with the win as it improved to 3-2 in the league and 5-2 overall. Augsburg fell to 2-3 in the MIAC and 4-3 overall.
On the first possession of the game, head coach Jay Schoenebeck’s squad set the tone for the game as it ran the ball 10 times on an 11-play drive. Ray Wilson finished the drive with a one-yard leap into the end zone on third-and-goal to give the Gusties a 6-0 lead at 10:07 in the first quarter after the missed extra point attempt.
Augsburg recovered a Gustavus fumble midway through the quarter in Gustie territory. However, the Auggies were forced to kick a 25-yard field goal to bring the score to 6-3 when the defensive unit stood its ground once Augsburg entered the red zone.
Gustavus answered right back with a 14-play, 60-yard drive that ate nearly six minutes off the clock before the Gusties found the end zone. After failing to cross the goal line with the ball on the two-yard line and a first-down, the coaching staff elected to go for the field goal. Jordan Becker (Jr., Easton, Minn.) picked up the low snap and raced to the left side of the end zone to extend the lead to 13-3 after John Ostertag (Sr., Walker, Minn.) converted the point after attempt.
The Auggies grabbed the lead when they turned two consecutive Gustavus turnovers into touchdowns for a 17-13 score with 6:55 remaining in the first half. Augsburg felt the momentum shift in its favor and recovered an on-side kick at the Auggie 42-yard line, but the Gustie defense came up with a series of big plays. Linebacker Tony Palma (Jr., Lino Lakes, Minn.) stopped running back Jason Potts in the backfield for a seven-yard loss on first-down. As Augsburg faced third-and-17, cornerback Ethan Armstrong (Sr., Wheaton, Minn.) intercepted a Jordan Berg pass along the left sideline to end the threat and keep the score 17-13 at halftime.
Gustavus created another Auggie turnover early in the third quarter when Joe Welch (Jr., Hastings, Minn.) forced a fumble following a punt by Matt Knutson (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.). David Papas (So., Chanhassen, Minn.) recovered the ball at the Augsburg 23-yard line to give the Gusties new life. Five plays later, Adam Lukes (Sr., Watertown, Minn.) punched the ball into the end zone from one yard out to regain the lead 20-17 with 9:23 on the clock in the third quarter.
Augsburg went back on top 24-20 at the end of the quarter when Berg completed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Muneer Al-Hameed. During the drive, Berg threw two other passes greater than 10 yards.
Gustavus responded with two touchdowns on its next two drives thanks to two big plays. The first touchdown came when wide receiver Chad Arlt (Sr., St. Michael, Minn.) grabbed a pass out of the grasp of two Augsburg defenders, broke two tackles, and dashed into the end zone 46 yards for the score. The Gusties went up 27-24 after the Ostertag extra point. On the next drive, Wilson ran through the left side and found his way racing up the sideline 81 yards for another touchdown and a 34-24 lead.
The high-powered Auggie offense was not through, though, as Berg found Winford on a four-yard fade route to the left corner of the end zone to cut the deficit to a one possession game at 34-31 with 4:53 left in the game.
Gustavus used its ground game success to move the chains and keep the clock running to seal the victory.
Offensively, the Gusties racked up 467 yards of total offense on 80 plays with 354 yards coming on the ground. Ray Wilson’s 258 rushing yards broke the previous mark of 252 yards set by Andy Traetow against Hamline in 2002. Quarterback Jordan Becker finished the game 9-for-23 passing for 113 yards and one touchdown with Chad Arlt catching three of those passes for 67 yards and the touchdown. With the success of the running game, Gustavus controlled the ball for 33:10 compared to 26:50 for Augsburg. On defense, Joe Welch led the Gusties with 12 tackles (four solo, eight assisted).
Auggie quarterback Jordan Berg amassed 346 yards in the air on 24-of-49 passing and three touchdowns. Royce Winford was Berg’s favorite target as he had ten receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown. Four Augsburg defensive players recorded double-digit stops led by Garrett Adamson with 16.
The Gusties travel to Arden Hills to face Bethel University next Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff.