The Gustavus Adolphus football team got the offensive spark it was looking for on Saturday in Moorhead, Minn., cruising to a 38-14 victory over Concordia in its first road test of the season. Quarterback Logan Becker scored three touchdowns (2 pass, 1 rush), while attributing for 297 yards of offense, throwing for 256 yards (21-29) and rushing for 41 yards (14 att.) in the game.
“I am really proud of the effort our players and coaches put forth in this game,” said Head Coach Peter Haugen. “We played a complete game and executed in all three phases of the game.”
Offensively, the Gusties turned in 403 total yards (256 pass, 147 rush) on 77 plays from scrimmage, as Concordia gained 328 total yards on 63 plays. The Concordia offense picked up 271 yards passing, yet was shut down in the running game, gaining just 57 yards on 24 attempts. Tom Heupenbecker had out-standing afternoon in the kicking game, going 5-for-5 on extra points and hitting a 19 yard field goal at the 12:23 mark of the fourth quarter, bringing the score to a final at 38-14.
Concordia came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders to start the game, putting together an 11 play 73 yard scoring drive. Michael Dunham hit Bronson Shepherd for a two yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead. The Gusties responded with an impressive drive of their own, strolling 61 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown. Logan Becker completed the touchdown pass to Andre Creighton from 16 yards out to tie the game at 7-7.
Creighton was Gustavus’s leading receiver, bringing down five catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. Following him was Muresuk Mena with eight catches for 59 yards, and Darin Wagner with four catches for 54 yards.
“Our defense was able to force turnovers and our offense was able to capitalize in key situations, both of which were key in gaining momentum today,” said Haugen. “We were 5-for-5 in red-zone scoring chances, which was huge for our team.”
The Gusties forced three turnovers by way of Cobber fumbles, one of which led to a Gustavus touchdown in the second quarter. Brad Kruckeberg grabbed a Zach Debeltz muffed-punt at the Concordia 19-yard-line, and Gustavus’s Jeffrey Dubose capitalized, taking the ball in on a 19 yard touchdown run the next play, giving Gustavus a 14-7 lead.
The Gusties continued to put the pressure on in the first half, scoring once more on a Logan Becker one yard touchdown-run that extended the lead to 21-7 with just :02 seconds remaining the half. The Gusties controlled the ball for over nine minutes in the second quarter, going 2-for-3 on fourth down conversions.
The second half began with back-to-back-to-back touchdown drives. The Gusties began the half off by taking the ball 73 yards on seven plays for the score to take a 28-7 lead. Dubose capped off the drive with a 10 yard touchdown run, as he carried for four times for 32 yards within the drive. Concordia answered with a 19 yard touchdown pass from Dunham to Weller, cutting the lead to 28-14. Gustavus then marched 67 yards for a touchdown to bring the score to 35-14. Dubose dove into the endzone form the one-yard-line for his second touchdown of the afternoon. He finished the day with 108 yards on 28 carries for an average of 3.8 yards per rush.
Leading Gustavus on defense was Dustin Kammerer. Kammer registered a game-high 11 tackles (8 solo, 3 asst.) and one forced fumble. Zach Lundquist turned in seven tackles (5 solo, 2 asst.), a game-high two sacks, and one forced fumble. Brandon Jonker matched Lundquist’s sack total with a pair of his own, as the team recorded a total of five sacks for a loss of 36 yards.
“After a tough loss last weekend, our guys really responded well and showed an out-standing amount character,” commented Haugen.
With the victory, Gustavus improves to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, while Concordia falls to 1-4 overall and 0-3 in the MIAC.
The Gusties will play host to the Hamline Pipers on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1:00pm in St. Peter, Minn.