A moral victory probably does not mean anything to the Gustavus Adolphus football team at this point of the season. But there is a certain amount of pride that can be taken away from Gustavus’ ability to battle the third-ranked Tommies to a 20-7 loss on Saturday afternoon. The St. Thomas defense came up with big plays when it had to throughout the afternoon, handing Gustavus its third-straight loss. The Gusties fall to 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the MIAC, while St. Thomas improves to 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the MIAC with the win.
The Tommies jumped on the Gusties with two first quarter scores at the 11:07 and 7:17 marks. Quarterback Dakota Tracy found Dan Noehring on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put St. Thomas up 7-0. He later hit Fritz Waldvogel on a 27-yard touchdown strike to extend the lead to 13-0.
Tracy would finish 13-of-23 for 188 yards with two touchdowns through the air, adding 59 yards on 14 carries on the ground. His top target of the day was Waldvogel who made seven catches for 108 yards.
The Gustie offense was off to a slow start in the game, picking up a total of 124 yards in the first half. Much of that yard-total was thanks to a 74-yard run by Logan Becker that set Gustavus up with a first down and goal from the St. Thomas five-yard-line late in the second quarter. St. Thomas responded to Becker’s run with a four-down goal-line stand, shutting the Gusties out as Jack Gavin picked off a Becker pass on fourth down to give the ball back to St. Thomas.
St. Thomas extended its lead to 20-0 on a 15-yard run by Colin Tobin as time expired in the third quarter. Tobin was St. Thomas’ leading rusher with 64 yards on 19 carries.
Gustavus answered with a 13-play 85-yard scoring drive that was capped off by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Becker to Elliott Herdina. Tom Huepenbecker’s extra point cut the lead to 20-7 with 8:51 left to play. Herdina was Becker’s top target of the day, making six grabs for 49 yards.
The Gusties had a shot with a pair of drives in the final minutes, but the St. Thomas defense proved its worth, forcing a punt and coming up with its third interception of the day on Gustavus’ final drive to end the game.
The Tommies outgained Gustavus 339 yards to 212 in the game, winning the time of possession battle 33:01-to-26:49.
Logan Becker finished 18-of-31 for 121 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in the passing game. Becker was the team’s leading rusher, gaining a net of 66 yards on 10 carries.
Jason Cook led the way on defense with six tackles (5 solo, 1 asst.), while Brad Kruckeberg picked off his second pass of the season on a fourth and five in the second quarter.
The Gusties return to St. Peter next Saturday for their home-finale against Augsburg at 1:00 p.m.