The Gustavus Adolphus football team welcomes the Storm of Simpson College to Lloyd Hollingsworth Field for Saturday’s 2013 season opener. While Gustavus is playing its first game of the season on Saturday, Simpson enters the contest with a record of 1-0 after defeating Iowa Wesleyan by the final score of 55-21 last weekend in Indianola, Iowa. The Gusties have won four of their last 10 season openers, including a 35-26 win over Simpson in last year’s season debut. Saturday’s kick off is set for 1:00 p.m.
Scouting The Gusties
The Gustavus Adolphus football team enters the 2013 season with renewed goals and expectations. The Gusties will look to improve on an overall record of 3-7 and an MIAC record of 2-6 from a year ago. To do so, Gustavus will turn to its 37 returning letterwinners from last season to lead the way. Those 37 letterwinners include 17 starters (eight offense, nine defense), who will bring valuable experience to the field.
Gustavus’ key offensive strength rests in its veteran offensive line. While losing All-MIAC Second Team performer Brian Grundmeyer due to graduation leaves a void, all five linemen expected to start in Saturday’s game started at least two games with three of the five starting eight or more games last season. The group of Marcus Kelly (So., Woodbury, Minn.), Lyle Opdahl (Sr., Norwood Young America, Minn.), David Gschneidner (Sr., Edina, Minn.), Trevor Winkelman (Sr., Eagan, Minn.), and Wyatt Adams (Sr., Chaska, Minn.) bring a great deal of experience back to a front that cleared the way for 2012 All-MIAC running back Jeffrey Dubose (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.). Dubose returns for his senior season just 40 rushing yards shy of 2,000 in his career. Despite playing in just seven games, Dubose rushed for 665 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 16 passes for 192 yards and three touchdowns a season ago. Dubose is joined by wide receivers Phillip Butler (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) and Michael Hintze (Jr., Brooklyn Park, Minn.), who return as threats on the perimeter. Butler caught 36 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 231 yards last season. Hintze hauled in 33 receptions for 449 yards to go along with five touchdowns. With the graduation of quarterbacks Muresuk Mena and Tim Stepka, Mitch Hendricks (So., Laporte, Minn.) is expected to take the reigns of the Gustie offense in 2013. Gustavus completed 138-of-241 passes for 1,654 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions last season. Rounding out the offense at the tight end position will be Jordan Rudenick (Sr., Nicollet, Minn.) and former offensive tackle Alex Brodjeski (Sr., Savage, Minn.). Last season, Rudenick was a big play factor for the Gusties. The senior caught eight passes for 152 yards for an average of 19.0 yards per catch. Brodjeski played in nine games last season, starting four of them while playing on the offensive line.
On defense, the Gusties will look to once again force turnovers. Last season, Gustavus ranked third in the MIAC with 27 takeaways, which included 18 fumble recoveries and nine interceptions. The leader of the ball-hawking brigade, Torey Asao (Sr., Chaska, Minn.) returns at the cornerback position after picking off three passes a season ago. Jake Forcier (Jr., Watkins, Minn.) intercepted two passes after playing just five games last season. He resumes his spot at the strong safety position after being sidelined due to injury midway through the season. Free safety Beau Bachman (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) and cornerback Zach Dilger (Jr., South St. Paul, Minn.) each recorded one INT last season and will likely round out the starting defensive backfield. Kellan Euerle (Sr., St. Cloud, Minn.) will add depth in the secondary after intercepting two passes in 2012. Senior Joe Haas (Mission, Kan.) will anchor a linebacking core that featured the top four tacklers for the Gusties a season ago. A 2012 All-MIAC Second Team selection, Haas led the way with 91 tackles (45 solo, 46 assist) including five tackles for losses and two sacks. Lucas Kleinschrodt (Sr. Alden, Minn.) was second on the team in tackles with 68 (39 solo, 29 assist), followed by Matt Keller (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) with 63 (24 solo, 39 assist), and Anthony Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) with 50 (26 solo, 24 assist). Boyce also led the team in sacks (3.5) and was second in forced fumbles (3). The defensive line will take shape around 2012 All-MIAC Second Team performer Donte Green (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.). Green was the “Man in the Middle” last season, posting 41 tackles (17 solo, 24 assist), four of which were for losses. Mitch Snare (Jr., Rosemount, Minn.) is expected to fill the hole left by the graduation of Jesse Newell at the other defensive tackle. At the ends, the Gusties welcome back Andrew Lonneman (Jr., Adrian, Minn.), who missed six games with an injury last season. Cameron Cropsey (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) will be the other bookend of the defensive line. Cropsey recorded 30 tackles (16 solo, 14 assist) last season and led the team in tackles for loss with 5.5.
On special teams, the Gusties bring in a fresh new face in the kicking department as Thomas Schleusener (Jr., Rapid City, S.D.) makes the switch from the soccer pitch to the gridiron. Schleusener, a goalkeeper on the men’s soccer team last season, will handle both the placekicking and kickoff responsibilities. Jordan Rudenick will once again take his place as the punter after punting 37 times for 1,380 total yards and an average of 37.3 yards per punt. Rudenick downed 13 punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded three punts over 50 yards.
Scouting The Storm
The Simpson football team enters Saturday’s contest coming off a 55-21 win over Iowa Wesleyan last weekend in Indianola, Iowa. The Storm racked up over 600 yards of total offense in the game after gaining 352 yards rushing and 257 yards passing. Quarterback Taylor Nelson completed 16-of-18 passes on the afternoon for 210 yards to go along with four touchdowns through the air. He added 74 yards on the ground stemming from nine carries. Taylor’s favorite target for the afternoon was Brad Vogel, who caught eight passes for 139 yards and two scores. On the ground, Ethan Calvert led the way with 91 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. Following closely behind was Jordan Beem, who carried the ball 12 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Simpson’s 55 points currently ranks 10th in all of NCAA Division III football after week one.
Simpson shot out to an early 13-0 lead as Jordan Beem started things off with a 10-yard touchdown run, and Jared Bevins followed 5:37 later with a three-yard touchdown reception from Taylor Nelson. Iowa Wesleyan responded with a touchdown run to cut the lead to 13-7, the Storm went on to rattle off 35 unanswered points to put the game out of reach for the Tigers. Ethan Calvert got the ball rolling with a seven-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 20-7 before Jake McCulley found himself on the receiving end of a four-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Nelson. Less than three minutes later, Nelson fired a 79-yard touchdown to receiver Brad Vogel to extend the lead to 34-7. With :51 remaining in the first half, Nelson and Vogel connected once more, this time from 10 yards out to bring the halftime score to 41-7. Simpson then scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Berkey to Matt Kurtz midway through the third quarter to push the lead to 48-7. Iowa Wesleyan went on to outscore the Storm 14-7 in the final frame, but the damage had already been done as the 55-21 score was stamped final.
The Simpson defense allowed 322 yards passing in the game, but allowed just 16 yards rushing for a total of 338 yards. Safety Sean DeGoey, linebacker Shane Venteicher, and defensive tackle Alex Severn led the way with five tackles each while defensive end Casey Coy and defensive tackle Bud Smith both recorded a sack.