Gustavus welcomes St. Olaf College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for a late-season MIAC match-up. The Gusties enter the game with a record of 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the MIAC after losing to Bethel 21-33 last Saturday in St. Peter. St. Olaf enters with a record of 3-5 overall and 1-5 in the MIAC after a tight 17-14 loss to Concordia last Saturday in Northfield. Both teams have dropped multiple one-possession games this season and will be looking to put together a late-season winning streak that would allow them to finish up with a .500 record.
As is tradition at Gustavus, the final home game of the season is designated as Senior Day and a special tribute is made to the individuals who have committed themselves to Gustavus football for the past four years. This year, the Athletics Department, Coach Haugen and his staff, parents, and fans salute the 17 seniors who have represented the Gustavus football program with pride and class from 2006 to the present. We thank them for their efforts and wish them the very best in the challenges ahead.
Gustavus and St. Olaf will be facing each other for the 57th time. The Gusties have compiled a mark of 35-21-0 in the all-time series. The Gusties lost to St. Olaf 27-20 in a two-overtime thriller last year in Northfield. Saturday’s will be first time the Oles have played on the new Hollingsworth Field. St. Olaf’s last trip to St. Peter was in 2006 when the Oles knocked off the Gusties by a score of 41-13.
Meet the Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Peter Haugen is in his first season at the helm of the Gusties after spending the past 15 seasons as the head coach at Minneapolis Washburn High School. Haugen has compiled a record of 3-5 in his first eight games directing the Gustavus football program. St. Olaf Head Coach Jerry Olszewski, who is in his second season with the Oles, has compiled a record of 9-9 overall. Olszewski, a graduate of UW-Stevens Point, coached at California Lutheran, UW-Stevens Point, and Minnesota State, Mankato before coming to St. Olaf.
Scouting the Gusties
Gustavus will wrap up its 2009 home schedule on Saturday against St. Olaf. The Gusties will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak that began with a 28-21 loss to Augsburg and continued last week with a 33-21 loss to Bethel. The team has played well for stretches in both games, however breakdowns both offensively and defensively have kept the team from claiming victories against the Auggies and Royals. Last week, Gustavus got a big break when Paul Stommes intercepted a Royal pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 14-14. But, just when it looked like the Gusties were back in the game, the Royals turned two Gustavus turnovers into touchdowns in a span of seven minutes, and Bethel led 26-14. The frustration continued in the fourth quarter as the Gusties had a field goal blocked and a pass intercepted that was returned 25 yards for a touchdown to make the score 33-14. Jordan Becker led the offense with 13 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns, while linebacker Tony Palma led the defense with 15 tackles.
Through eight games, the Gustavus offensive unit is averaging 328.9 yards per game including 124.6 yards on the ground and 204.2 yards through the air. The defense has been allowing 402.5 yards per game including 123.9 yards on the ground and 278.6 yards through the air. Kendrick Hall leads the team in rushing at 66.4 yards per game and three touchdowns, while Elliott Herdina is the team’s top receiver with 40 catches for 486 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Jordan Becker has completed 121-of-238 passes for 1588 yards and 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Linebacker Tony Palma leads the team in tackles with 72, including 4.0 tackles-for-loss, and 1.5 quarterback sacks.
Scouting the Oles
St. Olaf dropped a 17-14 decision to Concordia last Saturday in Northfield. The Oles are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and the largest margin of defeat is eight points. During that stretch, St. Olaf has lost to Carleton 17-13, Bethel 15-7, Saint John’s 10-3, and Concordia 17-14. Last week, The Oles out-gained the Cobbers on offense 283 yards to 243 yards, but seven penalties for 103 yards stopped several St. Olaf drives in Concordia territory and the result was another frustrating defeat. Quarterback Clay Garrett led the Ole offense as he completed 19-of-37 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Garrett’s TD passes were to Carson Jones and Antonio Jennings. Defensively, senior linebacker Adam Concannon led the team with nine tackles including one tackle for loss.
Through eight games, the St. Olaf offensive unit is averaging 337.6 yards per game including 133.6 yards on the ground and 204.0 yards through the air. The defense has been allowing 242.6 yards per game including 83.4 yards on the ground and 159.2 yards through the air. Leon Clark leads the team in rushing at 88.9 yards per game, while Antonio Jennings is the team’s top receiver with 40 catches for 545 yards. Quarterback Clay Garrett has completed 56-of-109 passes for 514 yards and 3 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. Linebacker Adam Concannon leads the team in tackles with 65, including 10 tackles-for-loss, and 1.0 quarterback sack.
Gustie Game Notes
Senior Sendoff – Seventeen seniors will take part in their final home game as Golden Gusties on Saturday. In spite of its relatively small size, this group has set a great example for the program by its performance on the field and its work ethic during practice. The Gustavus Athletics Department would like to extend a sincere thank you to this fine group of gentlemen for their leadership on and off the field for the past four years. The seniors playing their final game at Lloyd Hollingsworth Field today include: Jordan Becker, Ben Brandt, Matt Knutson, T.J. Ridley, Joe Welch, Hamada Omar, Tony Palma, Mike May, David Randall, Kevin Geurink, Barry Koppen, Jack Breckner, Blake Noennig, Cameron Maurer, and Christian Vanek. In addition to these 15 players, two seniors have been valuable members of the coaching staff this season. They are Zach Johnson and Justin Helget. We salute this fine group as they bid farewell to the Golden Gustie football program.
Omar, Welch Earn “Iron Man” Distinction – Senior defensive backs Hamada Omar and Joe Welch have played in all 38 games for the Gusties over the past four seasons and will likely complete their careers playing in all 40 games, which is something that has been accomplished by less than one percent of all of the players that have played in the Gustavus football program. Two other seniors have played in a very high percentage of Gustavus games since the 2006 season including Tony Palma (38 games), and Matt Knutson (35 games).
Ninety-Five Years of Gustavus Football – The Gustavus football program is nearing the end of its 95th season. The first season the football team was recognized as a collegiate program was in 1902 and the Gusties, who were coached by Reverend Chouinard, posted a record of 1-0. Football was later banned at Gustavus from 1904 to 1916, but was reinstated in 1917 and the College has supported a team every year since. Gustavus has compiled an overall mark of 457-313-21 and a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference mark of 362-222-13. The Gusties have won 22 conference titles since the MIAC began sponsoring football in 1920. Gustavus was a charter member of the MIAC. The other charter members included Carleton, Hamline, Saint John’s, Macalester, St. Olaf, and St. Thomas.
Establishing the Running Game – Head Coach Peter Haugen and offensive coordinator Ryan Galindo started the season with the goal of establishing the run as the primary staple of the offensive unit. The team struggled the first four games of the season rushing for an average of 98.2 yards per game, however in the second half of the season, the Gusties have made significant strides in the running game. Over the past four games, Gustavus has rushed for an average of 153.0 yards per game and in addition, the Gusties have rushed for two touchdowns in each of the last two games. During that stretch, Kendrick Hall leads the way with 42 carries for 215 yards, followed by Greg Ramaker with 35 carries for 136 yards, and Jordan Becker with 32 carries for 113 yards.