Gustavus welcomes St. Olaf College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for today’s early season MIAC matchup. The Gusties enter the game with a record of 1-1 after defeating Northwestern College 29-0 last weekend in St. Peter. St. Olaf enters with an overall record of 2-1 and a MIAC record of 0-1 after falling to St.Thomas 49-14 in its conference opener last weekend.
Gustavus is celebrating its 86th Homecoming on Saturday, continuing a tradition started in 1924 when the Gusties defeated Saint John’s 33-0. Gustavus has experienced a good deal of success on homecoming day, compiling an all-time record of 59-24-2. The Gusties are 1-2 in Homecoming games since moving to new Lloyd Hollingsworth Field in 2007. Last season, homecoming fans witnessed a thrilling 34-33 win over pacific lutheran College as quarterback Jordan Becker completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Elliot Herdina with :12 seconds left in regulation
This will be the 58th meeting between Gustavus and St. Olaf on the football field. The Gusties have compiled a mark of 35-22-0 in the all-time series. The Oles are currently on a seven-game winning streak against the Gustavus, as they have won seven of the last ten meetings. Last season in St. Peter, running back Leon Clark led a strong St. Olaf running attack, totaling 217 yards on the ground on the way to a 20-7 victory.
Meet The Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Peter Haugen is in his second season at the helm of the Gustavus football team. Haugen compiled a record of 4-6 in his first season as the head coach of the Gusties. A graduate of Bethel University, Haugen was the head coach at Washburn high school in Minneapolis prior to coming to Gustavus. St. Olaf head Coach Jerry Olszewski enters his third season at the head of the Ole football program. He has compiled an overall record of 13-10 and a MIAC record of 7-10 thus far. Olszewski is a graduate of the UW-Stevens Point, where he served as the defensive coordinator for two seasons prior to his start at St. Olaf. He has served as an assistant coach at Minnesota State University Mankato, the Green bay bombers of the arena Football League, and California Lutheran University.
About The Game
Scouting The Gusties
The Gusties are coming off an impressive performance last weekend against non-conference opponent Northwestern College. Gustavus compiled 434 yards of total offense, while allowing just 149 yards on defense in a 29-0 victory over the Eagles on Saturday afternoon on Lloyd Hollingsworth Field. Seniors Lucas Armstrong and Jade Kotila had career days on opposite sides of the ball for the Gusties. Running back Armstrong turned in 180 yards rushing on 23 carries, while linebacker Kotila turned in the top performance of his career, intercepting two passes and making a team-high 10 assisted tackles.
The Gusties dominated the second half with a punishing running game and a stingy defense.the offense focused on the ground game in the final two quarters rushing 34 times for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Armstrong was the workhorse as he carried 16 times for 128 yards, while freshman Jeffrey Dubose carried three times for 47 yards. The offensive line performed very well in opening holes for the running backs to chew up large chunks of yardage. Defensively, the Gusties completely shut Northwestern down in the final 30 minutes allowing the Eagles just eight yards on 20 plays, while allowing just two first downs.
Offensively, quarterback Logan Becker turned in a solid all-around performance as he completed 19-of-28 passes for 156 yards and one touchdown and rushed nine times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Leading the team in receiving were Muresuk Mena and Elliot Herdina. Mena had 10 grabs for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Herdina had five catches for 49 yards. Gustavus was 4-for-6 six in red zone scoring chances and held the advantage in time of possession 36:41 to 23:19.
Scouting The Oles
The Oles will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday after suffering a 49-14 loss at the hands of fourth-ranked St. Thomas last Saturday in Northfield, Minn. The loss was the first of the season for St. Olaf, which started out the season with non-conference wins against Luther 28-21 and Simpson 34-0. In the loss to St. Thomas, reigning MIAC MVP Fritz Waldvogel of St. Thomas made 12 catches for 239 yards and three touchdowns to sink the Oles. Waldvogal caught the first three touchdown passes of the afternoon as St. Thomas scored 35 unanswered points to start the game.
St.Olaf’s first touchdown of the afternoon came at the 5:28 mark of the third quarter on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Dan Dobson to Antonio Jennings (35-7). The Oles second touchdown came early in the fourth quarter when Dobson hit Casey Leslie with a 20-yard touchdown pass (42-14). Dobson was 20-for-32 for 172 yards with three interceptions and two touchdowns. Leon Clark led the team in rushing with 100 yards on 21 carries (4.8 avg.), while Antonio Jennings was the top receiver with five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. The Oles totaled 270 yards of offense compared to St. Thomas’s 428 yards.
Running back Leon Clark enters the game ranked second in the MIAC in rushing, racking up 345 yards (115 avg./g) with three touchdowns this season. Quarterback Dan Dobson is 58-for-83 for 548 yards thus far and carries a 7-to-3 touchdown to interception ratio. Antonio Jennings has emerged as Dobson’s favorite target in the passing game, bringing in 15 catches for 163 yards (54.3 avg./g). Anchoring the defense thus far have been linebackers Matt Olson and Patrick Luevano. Olson has 21 total tackles while Luevano has 18. The Oles rank second in the conference in sacks with 10 for 38 yards.
Gustavus Game Notes
Armstrong Has Career Day – Gustavus senior running back Lucas Armstrong bruised his way into the Gustavus record books with his performance last weekend against Northwestern. Armstrong, a native of Wheaton, Minn., rushed 23 times for a career-high 180 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Armstrong pounded the ball at the Eagle defense all afternoon, tallying six runs that went for over ten yards. His top run of the afternoon came on a 56-yard scamper at the 5:09 mark of the third quarter, setting up Gustavus’s second touchdown. Armstrong’s 180-yard game, which ranks 16th in school history, is the top single game rushing performance since Ray Wilson (2005-08) ran for 258 yards against Augsburg in 2008.
Kotila Recognized By MIAC – Gustavus senior linebacker Jade Kotila recorded career highs with two interceptions and 10 assisted tackles in Gustavus’s victory over Northwestern, earning MIAC Football Defensive Player of the Week honors. Kotila’s first interception came late in the first quarter when he picked off quarterback Josh Balzer’s pass at the Gustavus five yard-line, putting an end to Northwestern’s best scoring chance of the afternoon. His next interception came midway through the second quarter and led to Gustavus’s opening touchdown of the game. Kotila picked off the pass at the northwestern 27-yard-line and returned the ball 17 yards to the eagle 10 yard-line.
Herdina Chases 100 and 1,000 – Gustavus wide receiver Elliot Herdina is on a chase to record his 100th career catch and reach his 1,000 career receiving yard. After pulling down five catches for 49 yards last weekend, Herdina has now compiled 93 catches for 976 yards. Last weekend he moved ahead of Tim Belmore (1992-95) and Tom Illies (1982-85) to take over 10th place on the career receptions list. Herdina currently ranks 15th in career receiving yards, behind former Gustavus player and head coach Jay Schoenebeck who sits in 14th with 1043 yards.
Big Day For The “D” – Gustavus defensive coordinator Brian Bergstrom’s unit had its most successful game since the 2006 season on Saturday. The Gusties gave up 45 yards rushing and 104 yards passing for a total of 149 yards, the lowest amount of total offense given up by a Gustavus defense since Oct. 21, 2006 in a 51-0 victory over Macalester. In that game, the Gusties gave up 125 total yards (21 rush, 104 pass). The performance against Northwestern marked the fewest passing yards given up by a Gustavus defensive unit since Nov. 4, 2006, when the Gusties allowed 90 yards through the air in a 7-0 victory over Concordia.
Gusties vs. Oles On Homecoming – Saturday marks the 86th Homecoming game in the history of the Gustavus football program. The Gusties carry an impressive all-time Homecoming record of 59-24-2 into today’s contest. The Gusties have compiled a mark of 6-3 all-time in homecoming games against St. Olaf. The last homecoming meeting between the two teams came on October 15, 1988, and ended in a 33-30 Gustavus victory in front of 3,550 fans.
Gustavus In MIAC Openers – Gustavus will open its 2010 MIAC season on Saturday. The Gusties have compiled a record of 16-13-1 in MIAC openers, dating back to the 1980 season. Last season, Gustavus defeated Hamline 30-24 in two overtimes in its opening conference game.