The Gustavus football team welcomes the Pipers of Hamline University to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for Saturday’s early-season Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown. Both Gustavus and Hamline are looking for their first conference win of the season. The Gusties are 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC after suffering a 17-14 loss to St. Olaf last weekend in Northfield. Hamline is also 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the MIAC after suffering a 48-24 loss to Augsburg last Saturday in St. Paul. After dropping their last two contests, both squads will look for a fresh start on what is Hall of Fame Day on campus.
Watch and Listen
Scouting The Gusties
The Gustavus Adolphus football team will look to get back on track at Hollingsworth Field after suffering a second straight heartbreaker, falling to St. Olaf 17-14 last weekend in Northfield, Minn. Despite their finest rushing performance of the season in which they gained a total of 320 yards on the ground, the Gusties came out on the wrong end of the turnover battle for the first time this year, throwing an interception and losing two fumbles.
After St. Olaf took a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter on a Dan Dobson touchdown pass to Jake Schmiesing, the pair’s second touchdown connection of the day, Gustavus staged a fourth quarter comeback that began with a Jake Forcier interception late in the third quarter. Quarterback Muresuk Mena capped off the ensuing drive with a four-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-7. St. Olaf’s offense answered on its next possession with an eight-minute drive that ended with a 24-yard field goal (17-7) at the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-one from his own 42-yard line, Mena cut the lead to 17-14 with a 58-yard touchdown run, Gustavus’ longest run play from scrimmage this season. It would be the last time Gustavus would possess the ball, as St. Olaf’s offense was able to grind away the last 2:18 to secure the victory.
Muresuk Mena led the Gusties with 193 yards rushing and 77 yards passing after going 8-for-18 through the air. Jeffrey Dubose eclipsed 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season, running for 114 yards on 18 carries. The Gusties were 1-for-3 in red-zone scoring, while St. Olaf capitalized on all three of its chances.
Today, Mena will guide an offense that ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (24.3 ppg) and fifth in yards per game (398.7). Expect the Gusties to keep the ball on the ground behind the nation’s 25th-ranked ground game, which is averaging 241.7 yards per game. Mena and Dubose rank third and fourth, respectively, in the league in rushing, averaging a combined 216.3 yards per game. Finishing drives and getting back to playing mistake-free football will be key for the Gusties Saturday afternoon as they look for their first MIAC win of the season.
Scouting The Pipers
Much like Gustavus, Hamline is also looking to snap a two-game skid after dropping its first two conference tests of the season to Carleton and Augsburg. Most recently, the Pipers suffered a 48-24 defeat at the hands of Augsburg at Klas Field in St. Paul last Saturday.
After a John Broback 34-yard field goal put the Pipers on top 10-7 late in the first quarter, the Auggies scored 34 unanswered points over the next two quarters to go up 41-10 late in the third quarter. Hamline’s Ryan Ferkinhoff and Joel Riordan added late fourth quarter touchdowns to bring the score to a final at 48-24.
Hamline allowed a total of 409 yards (175 pass, 234 run) in the game. The Piper offense gained a total of 274 yards (117 pass, 157 rush) and was just 3-for-12 on third down. Piper quarterbacks Zach Brautigam (3-7) and Kevin Ackerley (4-11) were a combined 7-for-18 for 117 yards passing, while Ryan Ferkinhoff led the team in rushing with 77 yards on 11 carries.
Hamline is averaging 25.0 points and 319.3 yards per game on offense this season. Gustavus’ run defense, which ranks fourth in the league and is yet to allow a rushing touchdown, will look to slow a Piper ground attack that is averaging 212 yards per game. Running back Austin Duncan and quarterback Kevin Ackerley lead the Hamline running game. Duncan has rushed for four touchdowns and is averaging 76.3 yards per game, while Ackerly
has three touchdowns and is averaging 75 yards. Through the air, Ackerley is 17-for-34 for 243 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
The Gustavus defense will look to put Hamline in third down and long situations throughout the day. Hamline enters as the ninth ranked team in the MIAC in third down conversion percentage at 37-percent (13-35). With over 45-percent of Hamline’s points this season coming in the first quarter alone, the Pipers will look for a fast start against a Gustavus defense that has allowed just 10 points in the opening frame all year.