Northfield, Minn. – Thanks to it’s best offensive performance of the season, the Gustavus Adolphus football team ran away with a 41-27 victory over Carleton College on Saturday afternoon at Laird Stadium. The Gusties picked up 28 first downs and totaled 493 yards of offense on the day. With the win, Gustavus snaps a four-game losing-streak to improve to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the MIAC. Carleton drops to 3-6 overall and 1-6 in the MIAC with the loss.
Behind the arm of senior quarterback Tim Stepka (New Prague, Minn.), who was making his first collegiate start in a Gustavus uniform, the Gustie passing game came alive. Stepka’s career day included two throwing touchdowns and a total of 297 yards passing after completing 23 of his 28 passes.
The Gusties and Knights went back-and-forth during the first 20 minutes of the game. Running back Jeffrey Dubose (Jr., St. Paul, Minn.) kicked off the game’s scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run that gave Gustavus a 6-0 lead at the 9:26 mark of the first quarter.
Following the Dubose touchdown, Carleton answered two minutes later with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Mike Hartwell to C.J. Dale to put Carleton on top 7-6.
The back-and-forth continued at the 3:21 mark of the quarter when Stepka scored his first career touchdown on a nine-yard run that put Gustavus in front 13-7 following Tom Huepenbecker’s (Sr., Middleton, Wis.) extra point.
Carleton then tied the game at 13-13 with 10:26 remaining in the second quarter when Hartwell found Anthony Kemper on a five-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown would cap a series of four straight scoring possessions by both teams.
After punts by each team, Gustavus took back the lead at 20-13 with 4:18 left in the half when Dubose scampered into the end zone from 15 yards out for his second rushing score of the day. The junior was not done there as he later plunged across the goal line from the one-yard-line for his third touchdown of the day. Dubose’s third touchdown gave the Gusties a 27-13 lead heading into halftime.
Dubose, who missed the last three games due to an injury, would lead all rushers in the game with 143 yards on 26 carries (5.5 ypc). Gustavus ran for a total of 211 yards in the game.
Despite not scoring in the third quarter, Gustavus held on to a 27-20 lead heading into the final 15 minutes of the game. Michael Hintze (So., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) scored his fourth touchdown in three weeks to put Gustavus up by two scores at 34-20 with 13:18 remaining in the game. Hintze filled the scoresheet up once again with another stellar performance, catching eight passes for a game-high 120 yards.
Carleton would not go away quietly, scoring a touchdown on a Hartwell to Derek Turner pass with 10:25 on the clock to cut the lead to 34-27. It would be their final points of the game, as the Gustie defense would shut down the Knights over the remaining minutes of the game. Gustavus responded to Carleton’s score with a touchdown scoring drive on the next possession. Dubose made an impact through the air this time, catching a 31-yard pass from Stepka with the clocking reading 5:39 to bring the score to a final at 41-27
Gustavus finished the game a perfect 5-for-5 in red zone scoring. The Gusties also won the time of possession battle with 33:18 minutes and were 6-for-10 on third down conversions.
Gustavus’ three linebackers Lucas Kleinschrodt (Jr., Alden, Minn.), Matt Keller (So., Eagan, Minn.) and Joe Haas (Jr., Mission, Kan.) led the Gustavus defense with a combined 29 tackles. Kleinschrodt and Keller led the team with 10, while Haas finished with nine. Haas and Travis Pepper (Overland Park, Kan.) also registered one sack each.
Carleton gained a total of 330 yards of offense, 261 yards of which came through the air. Gustavus shut down the Knight’s ground game, holding them to 69 yards. Carleton quarterback Mike Hartwell went 26-for-39 for 261 yards with three touchdowns in the passing game. His top target was Chase Gottschk who caught nine passes for 111 yards.
The Gustavus football team will be back on the field Saturday, Nov. 10 for it’s season-finale against Concordia at 1:00 p.m. on Hollingsworth Field.