Minneapolis – After leading on the scoreboard for nearly 44 consecutive minutes of game clock on Saturday, the Gustavus football team surrendered its lead to Augsburg late in the fourth quarter and would not get it back as it fell to the Auggies by a final score of 19-16 at Edor Nelson Field. Augsburg’s game-winning drive required four plays to march 78 yards in :51 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown with just 2:37 remaining. With the loss, Gustavus drops to 1-1 overall and begins Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) play 0-1. Augsburg improves to 2-0 and opens its MIAC schedule 1-0.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Gustavus offense proceeded to control the remainder of the first quarter. The Gusties dominated the time of possession battle, controlling the ball for 11:03 of the opening 15 minutes. Following an interception on its first drive, Gustavus took over at the 12:30 mark and would not give the ball up until there was just 3:47 remaining in the quarter, rattling off a 16-play, 58-yard drive that began at its own 10-yard line. However, the Gusties came up empty-handed when they failed to convert on fourth down in Augsburg territory. Because of the dominance in possession, the Gustie defense was able to hold the Augsburg offense to just 29 total yards in the opening quarter compared to 104 yards for Gustavus.
The Gustavus offense chewed up another 3:30 to begin the second quarter before Jeffrey Dubose (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) got the Gusties on the scoreboard with a two-yard touchdown run. The touchdown capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive that was highlighted by a 45-yard carry from Dubose on the first play of the second frame. The senior’s two-yard score was his third touchdown of the season and gave the Gusties a 7-0 lead following a Tom Schleusener (Jr., Rapid City, S.D.) extra point.
Augsburg answered with a touchdown of its own on the ensuing possession. A 45-yard kickoff return to the Gustavus 49-yard line by Tyrell Martin set up what would be a 12-play, 49-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Auggie quarterback Ayrton Scott, who accounted for all 49 yards on the drive (27 pass, 22 rush), to Joey Sonnenfeld. With the Gusties now leading 7-6, a rare turn of events ensued on the point-after attempt. The extra point try was blocked by Torey Asao (Sr., Chaska, Minn.) and returned all the way to the endzone by Beau Bachman (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) to give Gustavus two points on what should have been the game-tying extra point. As it stood, the Gusties took a 9-6 lead to halftime, as neither team was able to put any more points on the board before the break.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Augsburg’s first possession of the second half, Gustavus came out to score on its opening drive of the third quarter. Beginning on their own 32-yard line, the Gusties drove 68 yards in nine plays to take a 16-6 lead. Carrying the workload throughout the day, Jeffrey Dubose carried the ball seven times for 48 yards on the drive, 12 of them coming on his second touchdown run of the afternoon.
Just as in the first half, Augsburg again had the answer in the third quarter. The Auggies marched 75 yards in nine plays, highlighted by a 45-yard completion from Ayrton Scott to Phil Putratz that would have spotted the ball inside the Gustavus five-yard line were it not for a personal foul penalty assessed to Augsburg. The Auggies were not to be denied, however, and put the ball in the endzone on the second scoring connection between Scott and Joey Sonnenfeld, this time from 10 yards out.
Augsburg threatened again late in the third and into the fourth on a 15-play, 50-yard drive that stretched over 4:54 of game clock, but the drive stalled at the Gustavus 13-yard line when the Auggies failed to convert on fourth down.
Gustavus could not pass midfield on either of its next two drives, as the Augsburg punting unit pinned the Gusties deep in their own territory in both situations. After eating up 7:53 on its second drive of the quarter, Gustavus was forced to punt on fourth down and 16 yards to go.
Augsburg took over on its own 22-yard line and four plays later owned a 19-16 lead. A 21-yard completion to Sonnenfeld, a 12-yard run by Scott set the Auggies up for a 46-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Phil Putratz to give Augsburg its first lead of the game with 2:37 to play. The Gusties began what would be their final possession at their own 41-yard line, but a key fumble on the first play of the drive put the seal on the outcome as the Auggies were able to milk the remaining 2:24 and wrap up the 19-16 victory.
“We went into the game thinking we had to contain their quarterback and run the ball well. We did both of those today,” commented Head Coach Peter Haugen. “I thought we did a great job of limiting what their quarterback was able to do on the ground. We wanted to make him beat us with his arm, and Augsburg was able to make enough plays in the passing game to do that.”
For the game, Gustavus running back Jeffrey Dubose carried 37 times for a career-high 227 yards. His performance ties the Gustavus record for most carries in a game, while his 227 rushing yards rank seventh on the all-time single-game rushing yards list, 31 yards behind the record of 258 yards set by Ray Wilson `09 against Augsburg in 2008.
Through the air, Gustavus quarterback Mitch Hendricks (So., Laporte, Minn.) completed 12 of 23 passes for 100 yards and was sacked twice on the day. Gustavus’ leading receiver was Phillip Butler (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.) for the second week in a row. Butler hauled in four receptions for 34 yards.
“We have to score more points,” Haugen put simply. “Jeffrey did a great job running the ball today and our guys up front were terrific, but we weren’t as effective in our passing game as we needed to be. Augsburg did a good job punting the football, so we played on a long field for a good part of the day, but we just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”
Defensively, Cameron Cropsey (Jr., Eagan, Minn.) led the way for the Gusties. Cropsey registered eight total tackles (4 solo) and intercepted a pass on the day. Travis Pepper (Jr., Overland Park, Kan.) came next with 7 tackles (2 solo), while Beau Bachman recorded the lone sack on the day.
Quarterback Ayrton Scott led the way for the Auggies offensively. Scott accounted for 258 yards through the air and 56 more on the ground. He also tallied three passing touchdowns on the day, two of which connected with Joey Sonnenfeld, who caught a total of four passes for 66 yards. Phil Putratz led all receivers in the game with five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Michael Juberian led the Augsburg defense in the game. Juberian registered 18 tackles (5 solo) on the day. Felix Coleman joined him with double-digit tackles, notching 10 total (6 solo) on the afternoon.
The two teams were nearly identical in most offensive categories. Gustavus claimed 21 first downs compared to Augsburg’s 19, while the Auggies outgained the Gusties in total yardage by a single yard. Augsburg gained 353 yards on 68 offensive plays in comparison to 352 yards on 71 plays for Gustavus. However, the key difference proved to be Gustavus’ two turnovers, one of which came on its final drive of the game, compared to just one for Augsburg.
The Gusties will be back in action next Saturday when they host St. Olaf at Hollingsworth Field. Saturday’s contest will serve as Homecoming at Gustavus with kick off set for 1:30 p.m.