St. Olaf running back Leon Clark bulled his way into the endzone for a game-winning two-yard touchdown run with :29 seconds left that gave the Oles a 19-14 comeback victory over Gustavus on Homecoming Saturday in St. Peter, Minn. Gustavus took the lead for the first time in the game at the 3:32 mark of the fourth quarter, but the Gusties could not get the defensive stop on the ensuing possession, as St. Olaf put together a 12-play, 79-yard game-winning drive.
The Gusties registered 343 yards of total offense, 145 yards rushing and 198 yards passing, while St. Olaf turned in 323 total yards, 158 yards rushing and 165 yards passing. St. Olaf’s Leon Clark had a big day on the ground, carrying the ball 27 times for a total of 155 yards. Jeffrey Dubose led Gustavus in rushing with 20 carries for 79 yards. Logan Becker was 19-for-31 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and one interception through the air. He also rushed 11 times for a season high 59 yards. St. Olaf quarterback Dan Dobson was 14-for-24 for 165 yards and one touchdown. Andre Creighton led the Gusties in receiving with five catches for 49 yards, while Muresuk Mena had five catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.
After forcing St. Olaf to a three-and-out punt on the opening drive of the game, Gustavus’s following two possessions ended in turnovers. Becker was picked off by Ben Dobson in the 12th minute, and Gustavus punter Tucker Vogt had a punt blocked by Michael Johnson four minutes later, giving the Oles the ball on the Gustavus 19-yard-line. St. Olaf used the momentum gained by the blocked punt to score on the following drive, as Dan Dobson hit Antonio Jennings with a five yard touchdown pass to take the lead at the 3:16 point of the first quarter. Jennings had a big day for the Oles, bringing down six grabs for 117 yards.
Gustavus responded with a 15 play 80 yard scoring drive on the ensuing possession. Logan Becker hit tight end Darin Wagner with a 20 yard touchdown pass on an up-out-and-go to cap off the drive. Tom Huepenbecker knocked in the extra point to tie the game (7-7) at the 9:38 mark of the second quarter.
St. Olaf’s Jason Obarski gave the Oles back the lead at the just before halftime with a 21 yard field, bringing the score to 10-7. Gustavus had 50 yards on the ground and 133 yards passing in the first half, while St. Olaf had 18 yards rushing and 121 yards passing.
Gustavus started the third quarter with a well-manufactured drive, yet Becker was sacked on fourth down by Danny Tutewohl, putting an end to the 48 yard drive. The score remained 10-7 through the entire third quarter. Brad Kruckeberg picked off Dobson at the Gustavus one-yard-line, returning the ball 33 yards out to the 34-yard-line and putting an end to St. Olaf’s most threatening drive of the quarter.
Obarski put his second field goal through at the 6:44 mark of the fourth quarter, extending St. Olaf’s lead to 13-7. Obarski was 2-for-2 on field goals in the game. On the following drive, Becker hit Muresuk Mena with a 14 yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 13-13 with 3:32 left to play. Huepenbecker hit the extra point to give the Gusties a 14-13 lead. Logan Becker went 4-for-4 for 44 yards through the air, and had two rushes for 30 yards on the drive.
Following a sack by Dane Mellgren on St. Olaf’s next possession it seemed as if the Gusties were in control, yet Dobson went on to complete a big 16-yard pass on third and 19, and a 13 yard pass on fourth and three to keep the St. Olaf’s hopes alive. Clark carried the Oles into the endzone with four rushes for 27 yards, including the two-yard touchdown run to win the game.
Dustin Kammerer led Gustavus on defense, recording a game-high 14 tackles (6 UA, 8 A), while Zach Lundquist was next in line with 8 (2 UA, 6A).
St. Olaf turned in a solid performance inside the 20-yard-line, going 4-for-4 in redzone scoring chances, well the Gusties were 2-for-3. Gustavus had the advantage in first downs 22-to-13, yet turned the ball over three times.
With the victory, St. Olaf has beaten Gustavus in the last eight meetings. Gustavus falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the MIAC, while St. Olaf improves to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC. Gustavus will travel to the Red River Valley next Saturday to take on Concordia College at 1:00 pm in Moorhead, Minn.