The Gustavus football team welcomes the Comets of Mayville State University to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for Saturday’s early-season non-conference matchup. The Gusties enter the game with an overall record of 0-1 after dropping the 2011 season-opener to 14th ranked Wartburg College 26-21 last weekend in Waverly, Iowa. NAIA opponent Mayville State University, which is between Fargo and Grand Forks, enters the game with an overall record of 2-1, defeating Robert Morris College 21-18 (8/27) and Trinity Bible College 65-6 (9/10), while narrowly falling to University of Minnesota, Crookston 31-29 (9/2).
Saturday’s contest will be the second meeting between Gustavus and Mayville State on the football field. The Gusties are 1-0 against the Comets claming a 14-0 win in St. Peter on Nov. 7, 1981. Freshman cornerback and future Gustavus Hall of Fame Inductee Mark Illies scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown in the contest, picking off a pass and returning it 48 yards to the end zone. Running back Craig Bitter added a touchdown later in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run to secure the Gustavus victory. Gustavus edged the Comets in total yards 224-to-183 in a game that lasted two hours and 20 minutes and featured a combined 99 rushing attempts.
Watch and Listen
About the Game
A Glimpse At The Gusties
The Gustavus football team enters Saturday’s home opener looking to get into the win column after drop- ping the season-opener to #14 Warburg College 26-21 under the lights in Waverly, Iowa. In a tightly-contested, back-and-forth matchup, turnovers proved to be the difference. The Knights turned three Gustie turnovers, two fumbles and one blocked punt, into 16 points.
The Gusties were off to a fast start on the road, taking a 14-0 lead by the 14:55 mark of the second quarter. Quarterback Logan Becker took in a five-yard run at the 6:11 mark of the first quarter, and running back Phillip Butler added Gustavus’ second touchdown on a three-yard plunge, the first of his collegiate career, at the start of the second quarter. Wartburg quickly tilted the momentum in their favor, taking advantage of a Gustavus fumble and scoring 17 unanswered points to lead 17-14 heading to the locker room at halftime. The Gusties reclaimed the lead at 21-17 early in the third quarter on a 35-yard touch- down scamper by Bulter, his second of the game. The freshman transfer compiled 55 yards on 10 carries in his debut in a Gustavus uniform. Following the Butler score, the Wartburg defense put the clamps down, holding the Gusties to just 26 yards for the remainder of the game.
Logan Becker was 10-for-15 for 145 yards through the air, yet was sacked four times in the contest. Becker’s favorite target was Elliott Herdina. Herdina brought in three catches for 80 yards, including one grab that went for 68 yards on a catch-and-run slip screen just off the line of scrimmage. Andre Creighton was Gustavus’ second-leading receiver with one catch for 40 yards, and running back Jeffrey Dubose led the way on the ground,going for 78 yards on 12 carries. Wartburg out-gained the Gusties in total offensive yards 369-to-306.
Wartburg played opportunistic football throughout the game, as three of the Knights’ scores came when they started the drive inside the Gustavus 40-yard-line. Leading the way on defense for the Gusties was safety Brad Kruckeberg with 12 tackles and one pass breakup. Todd Kremmin was relentless on the pass rush throughout the night, making seven solo tackles and hurrying the quarterback on several occa- sions. Gustavus was 2-for-2 in red zone scoring chances, while Wartburg was 4-for-6.
A Glimpse At The Comets
Mayville State University comes into the game averaging 38.3 points per game and coming off their best all-around performance of the season, a 65-6 win over Trinity Bible. The Comets got in the end zone five different ways against the Lions—including three rushing TD’s, two passing TD’s, two interceptions returns for TD’s, and a kickoff and punt return for TD’s.
Quarterback Jake McClain accounts for nearly 70 percent of the Comet offense thus far this season. McClain is 26-for-53 (49.1%) for 342 yards with three touchdowns and one interception through the air. He is also the team’s leading rusher with 281 yards on 47 attempts (5.0 ypr) with four touchdowns. McLain’s favoritetargets so far have been Taylor Kunkel and Steven Lopez. Kunkel has 11 catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns, while Lopez has eight grabs for 100 yards. Jerril Jenkins has contributed 129 yards on 27 attempts with two touchdowns in the rushing game, averaging 4.8 yards per rush.
The Comets defense is giving up an average of 132.5 yards on the ground and 148 yards through the air. Safety Dominique Bradley leads the team in tackles with 25, two of which are tackles for loss. Mayville State has picked off a total of nine passes, forced four fumbles and recovered all four. Cornerback Rashad Flanders has picked off two passes of his own, one of which he returned for a touchdown last weekend against Trinity Bible.
Following this weekend’s contest, Mayville State will begin its league schedule in the Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC). The DAC is composed of Jamestown College, Dickinson State University, and Valley City State University.