Coe defensive back Jacob Breitbach intercepted a Jordan Becker pass in the end zone with :09 left in regulation play ending a furious fourth quarter Gustavus rally and allowing the Kohawks to hold on for the 27-24 victory. Coe controlled play for the first 45 minutes of the game and led 20-3 through three quarters. Gustavus, however, shook off the first game jitters and exploded for 21 points in the fourth quarter to make a game of it. Coe improves to 2-1, while the Gusties fall to 0-1.
Coe methodically built a 20-3 lead after three quarters of play due to steady offensive production and a stingy defense. A 43-yard field goal by Ellliot Rausa early in the second quarter tied the score at 3-3 and then the Kohawks extended their lead to 10-3 when Brad Boyle completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Nick Ratchford with three minutes remaining before the intermission (Rausa converted the extra point). Coe led 10-3 at halftime.
The Kohawks continued their consistent play in the third quarter, while the Gusties struggled to get anything going offensively. Coe extended its lead to 13-3 when Rausa made a 39-yard field at the 10:09 mark and then pushed the lead to 20-3 when Boyle ran the ball in from two-yards out (Rausa converted the point after attempt).
The Gustavus offense came to life early in the fourth quarter when Becker hit Cody Sukalski with two-yard touchdown pass (Huepenbecker converted the PAT) to make the score 20-10. The Gusties got the running game going on the drive as Kendrick Hall rushed six times for 29 yards on the nine-play, 45-yard touchdown drive.
With just under seven minutes left in the game, and Coe facing a second down-and-11 from the Coe 30-yard line, Kohawk quarterback Brad Boyle lofted a completion to Tyler Takes and Takes raced 60 yards for what turned out to be the winning touchdown for Coe (Rausa converted the PAT). The Kohawks appeared to hold a commanding 27-10 lead with just over six minutes left to play.
The Gusties, however continued to battle back. Becker found tight end Cameron Mauer up the middle for 48 yards and as Maurer was being tackled at the Coe 20-yard line he pitched the ball to wide receiver Blake Noennig, who carried the ball 14 more yards to the six-yard line. Hall rushed six yards for the touchdown on the next play (Huepenbecker converted the PAT) and Gustavus trailed 27-17 with 6:09 left to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Gustie placekicker Tom Heupenbecker pulled off a nifty on-side kick which he recovered himself at the Gustavus 41-yard line. Gustavus took over with just over six minutes left in the game. The Gusties put together an impressive 8-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a Becker to Elliot Herdina touchdown pass from 13-yards out with 3:45 left to play (Heupenbecker converted the PAT).
Coe then took possession with 3:38 remaining and ran six plays for 19 yards before having to punt from the Gustavus 35-yard line. Gustavus’s Cody Sukalski called for a fair catch on the Gustavus 8-yard line with :39 left in regulation play. On the first play from scrimmage, Becker found Sukalski up the left side for 68 yards giving Gustavus a first-and-10 from the Coe 24-yard line. The Gusties drove to the Coe 15-yard line with :13 remaining and decided to run one more play from scrimmage before attempting a field goal that could send the game to overtime. Unfortunately for Gustavus, Becker’s pass into the end zone intended for Blake Noennig was intercepted by Breitbach allowing the Kohawk’s to hold on for the victory and sending Gustie Head Coach Peter Haugen home with a heartbreaking loss in his first game at Gustavus.
Gustavus (0-1) will open Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play next Saturday against Hamline in St. Paul at 1:00 pm, while Coe (2-0) will open Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at home against Luther at 1:00 pm.