The Golden Gusties welcome fans to Hall of Fame Day at Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for Saturday’s mid-season Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match-up between your Golden Gusties and the Royals of Bethel University. The Gusties enter the game with an overall record of 1-4 and a MIAC mark of 1-2 after picking up their first win of the season 37-0 over Hamline last weekend in St. Paul. No. 16 Bethel comes into today’s game at 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the MIAC after defeating Saint John’s 41-20 last Saturday.
The road does not get any easier for the Gustavus football team this weekend as it takes on one of the best NCAA Division III teams in the country in Bethel. With the combination of a punishing ground game and a defense that ranks 10th in the country having given up just seven touchdowns and an average of 232.6 yards per game. It should come as no surprise to the Gusties that Bethel relies on mistake-free, power football. The Gusties look to build on the successes of last weekend as they set out to get on the board early, win the turnover battle, and keep the ball out of the hands of the explosive Royal offense.
Today’s game marks the 34th time the Gustavus and Bethel football teams have met on the gridiron. Bethel looks to even up the score today, as the Gusties have the edge in the all-time series with a mark of 17-16 dating back to their first meeting in 1978. The Royals have come out victorious in their last two meetings with Gustavus. Last season in Arden Hills, Bethel defeated the Gusties 20-0 in what was an offensively unattractive contest. The Gusties held the Royals to season-lows of 98 yards rushing and 91 yards passing. Despite the performance of the Gustavus defense, the Royal defense was there to call and raise, limiting the Gustie offense to just 97 total yards in the game.
Meet The Head Coaches
Gustavus Head Coach Peter Haugen is in his third season at the helm of the Gustavus football team. A graduate of Bethel University, Haugen was the head coach at Washburn High School prior to coming to Gustavus. Head Coach Steve Johnson is in his 23rd year as the head coach of the Bethel University football program. With a career record of 160-75-1, Johnson has led the Royals to the NCAA Championship Semifinals twice in the last four years. Johnson, a 1980 Bethel graduate, served coaching stints at St. Cloud State, St. Cloud Cathedral High School, the University of Minnesota, and Montana State before returning to Bethel.
Watch and Listen
About The Game
A Glimpse At The Gusties
The Gustavus football team returns to St. Peter and the confines of Hollingsworth Field having picked up its first win of the season over Hamline last weekend in St. Paul. Gustavus is coming off is best all-around performance of the season in a 37-0 blanking of the Pipers. The Gusties picked up a season-high 466 yards of total offense, while allowing a season-low 165 yards on defense.
The Gustavus offense came alive for more than 18 points above its season average against Hamline, going 3-for-3 in red-zone scoring chances and not turning the ball over once. Running back Jeffrey Dubose had a breakout performance with a season-high 148 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Dubose also added a 47-yard touchdown reception that put Gustavus on the scoreboard first. Logan Becker commanded an efficient passing game, going 10-for-16 for 139 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Becker proved to be a threat on the ground as well, running for 81 yards on 11 carries for anaverageof7.4yardspercarry. Becker found five different receivers in the passing game,as Elliott Herdina led the way with 45 yards on three catches that included a 26-yard touchdown grab.
With the loss of the team’s leading tackler in middle linebacker Alec Saunders due to injury against Concordia, defensive coordinator Cory Shea’s unit needed to see an increase in production from other avenues. Safety Mitch Kleinschrodt and defensive linemen Donte Green and Dane Mellgren stepped up to the challenge. Kleinschrodt led the team with seven tackles,while Green added six.Mellgren supplied five tackles, 2.5 of which were tackles for loss, and a sack.
At the halfway point of the season, the Gusties are ranked sixth in the MIAC in total offense (331.0 ypg) and seventh in total defense (348.8 ypg). Jeffrey Dubose ranks fifth in the league in rushing with an average of 78.6 yards per game, while Logan Becker sits in sixth it total offense, accounting for an average of 202.2 yards per game.
A Glimpse At The Royals
Bethel enters today’s game coming off a big bounce-back victory over Saint John’s 41-20 last Saturday in Collegeville, Minn. The only blemish on Bethel’s schedule this season came in a 30-28 loss to St. Olaf on Oct. 1. The Royals are averaging 39.8 points per game and have scored on 24-of-26 trips to the red-zone this season—22 of those scores were touchdowns.
Against Saint John’s last weekend, Bethel scored two touchdowns passing and two more rushing, while adding another on a 35-yard interception return by safety David Vavra. Running back Jesse Phenow pounded the ball 27 times for a game-high 130 yards and two scores. Quarterback Josh Aakre was 9-for-16 for 149 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Aakre spread the ball around to seven different receivers in the game. As Kyle Ulstad led the way with two touchdown receptions and 27 yards. The Royal defense picked off the Johnnies twice and allowed just 99 yards through the air.
The top-ranked defense in the league is anchored by linebacker Billy Morgan, who in five games has compiled a league leading 55 tackles (31 solo, 24 asst.) for an average of 11.0 per game. The Royals are allowing 12.4 points per game and are giving up an average of 95.4 yards on the ground and 137.2 yards through the air.
Bethel’s grind-it-out style of offense ranks second in the MIAC, averaging 414.8 yards per game. The Royals have controlled the clock for an average of 32:41 (1st/MIAC) so far and are a league-best 56.5 percent on third down conversions. The running back tandem of Brandon Marquardt and Jesse Phenow has combined for an average of 156.4 yards per game, while QB Aakre ranks fourth in the conference in rushing at 87.2 yards per game. So far this season,Aakre has been called on to throw the second-fewest amount of times of any QB in the league, yet ranks second in the league in pass efficiency at 159.9 with a 60.8 completion percentage and 622 yards.