It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win as the Gustavus football team was able to finish its season on a high note Saturday afternoon in Northfield, Minn., defeating Carleton 21-7 in the 2011 season finale. The Gustie defense forced three turnovers and held the Knights to just 141 total yards in the game on the way to the victory on their best performance of the season.
Gustavus finishes the 2011 season with an overall record of 2-8 and an MIAC mark of 2-6. Carleton ends its year 2-8 overall and 1-7 in the MIAC.
The Gusties punted four times and had a 35-yard field goal blocked on their first five possessions of the game. Following a turnover on a punt with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, Gustavus took over possession on the Carleton 35-yard-line and went to the air. Quarterback Logan Becker found Andre Creighton on a 35-yard strike to give Gustavus a 7-0 lead after Tom Huepenbecker’s extra point.
The two squads went three-and-out on their final possessions of the first half and Gustavus went into the locker room up 7-0 at the break.
The Gustie offense went to work quickly to start the second half, capping an eight-play 71-yard drive with a touchdown to go up 14-0 with 10:36 remaining in the third quarter. Logan Becker found Turner Johnson from 22 yards out for his second throwing touchdown of the game. The touchdown reception, his only catch of the day, was Johnson’s first of his career – not a bad way to go out for the senior.
The Knights rallied with an impressive drive on the ensuing possession. The only difference was that theirs had a different outcome, as the Gusties were able to come up with a big goal line stand to keep Carleton off the scoreboard. The defense shut out the Knights on four straight plays starting from the seven-yard-line, keeping the momentum on the Gustavus sideline.
The Knights were able to cut the lead to 14-7 with :30 seconds left in the third quarter when Jordan Soteros picked off a Logan Becker pass and returned it 18 yards to for a touchdown.
The score by Carleton would be its last of the game, as the Gusties forced three consecutive Knight three-and-outs to shut the door on any comeback ideas.
Gustavus added an insurance touchdown at the 2:41 mark of the third quarter when Jeffrey Dubose broke free for a 27-yard scamper to bring the game to a final at 21-7.
Dubose got back on track after being held to under 35 yards on the ground in the previous four games. The sophomore gained 95 yards on 19 carries (5.0 ypr) to lead the Gustavus ground game. Phillip Butler ran for 41 yards on 16 carries.
Becker finished 12-of-19 for 125 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He found five different receivers in the passing game, as Andre Creighton led the way with two catches for 46 yards, and Elliott Herdina contributed five catches for 26 yards.
The Gustavus defense allowed just 17 yards passing and 124 yards rushing on the afternoon. It is the third time this season that Gustavus has held an opponent to less than 100 yards passing in a game.
Joe Haas led the Gusties with nine tackles, eight of which were solo, and two tackles for loss. Haas also recorded a sack for a loss of 12 yards.
Carleton quarterback Danny Shields was 4-for-17 for 17 yards in the passing game. Jon Lien led the Carleton ground attack with 50 yards on 20 carries (2.5 ypr), while John Baker ran for 44 yards on seven carries (6.3 ypr).
Both teams were scoreless in the red-zone, going a combined 0-for-5. Third down’s weren’t pretty for both sides either as Gustavus was 2-for-14 and Carleton was 4-for-17.
With the victory, Gustavus is now 27-25 in season finales in the last 52 years.