The Gustavus football team will welcome the Tommies of the University of St. Thomas to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field on Saturday for a late-season MIAC matchup. The Gusties enter the game with an overall record of 3-4 and a MIAC record of 2-3 after suffering a 33-13 loss at the hands of Saint John’s last weekend in Collegeville. St. Thomas enters today’s contest atop the conference with an overall record of 8-0 and a MIAC record of 6-0 after defeating Bethel 10-6 last weekend in St. Paul.
The Gusties will look to get back to. 500 and spoil St. Thomas’s hopes of a perfect season with a win Saturday. St. Thomas rolls into St. Peter ranked fourth in the nation and alone atop the MIAC standings. Both squads lacked the benefit of a mid-season bye this year, as Gustavus has played seven straight contests while St. Thomas has played eight straight. St. Thomas enters the game with the 18th ranked scoring offense in the nation (40.63 ppg) and second ranked offense (410 ypg) and defense (264.1 ypg) in the MIAC. Gustavus is averaging 20.3 points per game and has the fifth best rushing offense in the MIAC (159.6 ypg).
Saturday’s game will be the 79th meeting between Gustavus and St. Thomas on the football field. The Gusties have compiled a mark of 36-40-2 in the all-time series. The tommies are 7-3 in their last 10 trips to st. peter. They were victorious in their last game on the new Hollingsworth Field, defeating the Gusties 30-22 on oct. 4, 2008. Last season in St. Paul, running back Ben Wartman and quarterback Greg Morse led St. Thomas to a 45-12 victory. Wartman ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns, while Morse was 12-for-18 for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
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. Thomas Head Coach Glenn Caruso enters his third season at the head of the Tommie football program. Coach Caruso, who is currently 26-5 at St. Thomas, earned a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in 1996 and a master’s degree in education from North Dakota State University in 2004. He coached at North Dakota State, UW-Eau Claire, South Dakota, and Macalester before arriving at St. Thomas.
Watch and Listen
About The Game
Scouting The Gusties
The Gustavus football team will look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday against MIAC leader St. Thomas. The Gusties are in the midst of a grueling three-game stretch where they have faced three of the top teams in the country in Bethel, Saint John’s, and St. Thomas. Coach Haugen’s squad will need to be consistent and disciplined on both sides of the ball if they are going to keep up with the high-powered Tommies.
In the 33-13 loss to Saint John’s last weekend, Gustavus trailed just 13-7 at halftime following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Logan Becker to Andre Creighton with less than a minute to play in the half. The Gusties were behind 26-7 before Becker hit Cody Sukalski with a 27-yard touchdown pass at the 6:00 mark of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 26-13. Gustavus got back in the game on the following kick-off when tom Huepenbecker recovered his own onside kick. A Jeffrey Dubose fumble two plays later proved costly as Johnnie running back Nick Schneider scored his third rushing touchdown of the half on the ensuing possession, putting the game out of reach at 33-13.
The Gustie passing attack has struggled recently as Becker has completed 25-of-54 passes for 215 yards with three interceptions and two touchdowns in the last two games. On the season, Becker is 116-for-193 (60.1%) for 1126 yards with a pass efficiency rating of 116.9. After being shut down by Bethel two weeks ago, Jeffrey Dubose got back on track with 94 yards on 26 carries (3.6 avg.) last weekend against Saint John’s. The Gusties currently have three players with over 200 yards receiving including Muresuk Mena with 276 yards, Cody Sukalski with 258 yards, and Andre Creighton with 229 yards. Gustavus is currently averaging 320.4 yards per game (160.9 pass, 159.6 rush) of total offense. the defense has forced 17 turnovers (3rd in MIAC) and is allowing an average of 174.9 yards passing (4th in MIAC). Brad Kruckeberg leads the conference in passes defended with five break-ups and three interceptions for an average of 1.14 per game, while Dustin Kammerer is averaging 8.3 tackles per game (4th in MIAC).
Scouting The Tommies
The battled-tested Tommies have established themselves as the frontrunners in the MIAC with thrilling wins over title contenders Saint John’s (27-26, OT) and Bethel (10-6) in recent weeks. St. Thomas is currently rated #4 in the d3football.com poll and #5 in the AFCA division III Coaches poll. Last Saturday, 6,050 fans watched the Tommies edge the royals on homecoming at O’ Shaughnessy Stadium.
After a first quarter field goal by St. Thomas at the 6:33 mark, the score would remain 3-0 until the 9:0 2mark of the third quarter. Kevin Lindh gave Bethel its only lead of the afternoon when he broke free for a52-yard touchdown run to put the royals up 6-3. Tommy Becker blocked the extra point try and St. Thomas responded with a touchdown on the ensuing possession as Colin Tobin scored on a five-yard run. The Tommies converted the extra point to reclaim the lead at 10-6. The Tommie defense forced two punts, one turnover on downs, and picked off a tipped ball on Bethel’s final four possessions of the game to preserve the important victory. Both St. Thomas interceptions in the game came inside Tommie territory.
St. Thomas features a balanced attack including a punishing ground game and big-play capability through the air on offense and one the stingiest defensive units in the nation. Running backs Ben Wartman and Colin Tobin and quarterback Dakota Tracy run behind an offensive line that averages 291pounds across the board. Wartman has carried 103 times for 565 yards and seven touchdowns, while Tobin has carried 89 times for 490 yards and six touchdowns. Fritz Waldvogel, reigning conference MVP, is a game-changer in the passing game. Waldvogel has brought down 53 balls for 830 yards and six touchdowns this season. Tracy is 84-for-137 for 1149 yards through the air. linebacker Tommy Becker leads the defense with a total of 46.5 tackles, while Willy Baregi has 35 tackles, including nine sacks. St. Thomas’s defense has eight fumble recoveries and 15 interceptions this season.
Gustavus Game Notes
Early and Often – The Gusties will look to get out to an early lead against one of the top scoring teams in the country on Saturday. St. Thomas has trailed a total of five times this season, three of which came in the 27-26 victory over Saint John’s. Last Saturday against Bethel, the Royals took a 6-3 lead in the second quarter, yet St. Thomas responded with a touchdown less than four minutes later to take back the lead at 10-6. The Gusties are scoring an average of 3.86 points in the first quarter and 6.29 points in the second quarter. They are 3-0 when leading at the halftime and 0-4 when trailing at the half this season.
3-4 D’s –Saturday’s game will feature two of the top 3-4 defenses in the MIAC. St. Thomas enters the game ranked first in the conference in total defense, allowing an average of 264.1 yards per game. Gustavus ranks fifth in the MIAC in total defense, allowing 318.1 yards per game. St. Thomas and Gustavus rank first and third, respectively, in red zone defense this season. St. Thomas’s opponents are 13-for-20 (65%) in red zone chances, while Gustavus’s opponents are 17-for-25 (68%).
Sukes Leaves His Mark – Cody Sukalski made five catches for 70 yards on Saturday against Saint John’s to lead the Gusties in receiving. It was the ninth time in his career that he has recorded over 50 yards receiving in a game. The versatile wide-out from Blue Earth, Minn. has brought down a total of 84 passes for 1,179 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career. Sukalski has also carried the punting responsibilities for the Gusties this season. He ranks second in the MIAC with 22 punts for 793 yards and an average of 36.0 yards per punt.
Dubose Hits 500– With 96 yards rushing last weekend at Collegeville, Jeffrey Dubose passed 500 yards rushing on the season. He has carried the ball 109 times for 570 yards for an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Dubose is the first running back since Ray Wilson in 2008 and second since Mitch Anderson in 2007 to pass the 500-yard mark in a season.
Return Home – After dropping two straight games on the road, the Gusties return home to the confines of Lloyd Hollingsworth Field. Gustavus, which is 2-2 at home this season, is scoring and average of 22.5 points per game, while compiling an average of 379.5 yards of total offense (215.8 rushing and 163.8 passing). Opponents are averaging 120 yards rushing and 180.75 yards passing for a total of 300.75 yards per game this year in St. Peter.
All Hallows Eve…Eve – The last time Gustavus and St. Thomas met on the eve of Halloween was in 2004 on the old Hollingsworth Field. The Tommies slipped past Gustavus by the score of 10-7 in overtime to move to 6-1 on the season and keep its MIAC Championship hopes alive. Tommie kicker Adam Valenta set the bar with a field goal on the first possession of overtime (10-7) and Jeremy Krentz sealed the victory for St. Thomas by picking off a pass at the five-yard-line on Gustavus’s possession.
Rare Rushing Performance – Saint John’s became only the second team in the past 10 seasons to rush for over 300 yards in a game against the Gusties. The Johnnies totaled 368 yards on the ground, the most since sept. 11, 2004 when Wheaton ran for 318 yards on its way to a 42-21 victory in Elmhurst, ill. The Gusties are giving up an average of 143.3 (6th in MIAC) yards rushing per game this season. Since 2000, Gustavus has allowed an average of 142.6yards per game.