Aerial Attack Key In Football’s 44-17 Win Over Crown In Season Opener Posted on September 7th, 2014 by

Junior wide receiver Matt Boyce brought in nine catches for 146 yards with three touchdowns in Gustavus's 44-17 win over Crown College on Saturday at Hollingsworth Field. Photo courtesy of AJ Dahm - Sport PiX.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus football team ran away with a 44-17 victory over Crown College in its 2014 season-opener on Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field. The Gusties jumped out to a 30-7 halftime lead and never looked back as their aerial attack proved to be too much for the Crown secondary. Quarterback Mitch Hendricks (Jr., Laporte, Minn.) was efficient throughout the afternoon, going 23-for-28 for 260 yards with five touchdowns. His top target was Matt Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) who made nine catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

“The offense as a whole was clicking today,” said Hendricks.  “The offensive line did a great job of keeping their defenders off me, the running backs ran the ball well after a bit of a slow start, and the receivers made plays. Matt made some big catches and Gabe and George were making guys miss all over the field. It’s a receiving corps that is young but explosive and that’s what we want to take advantage of.  We executed what we needed to today and that was enough to put points on the board and pick up a win.”

After forcing Crown to punt on the opening possession of the game, Gustavus went to work on it’s first offensive drive of the season. Hendricks completed all five of his passes on a drive that totaled 60 yards on nine plays in 2:51. The series was capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Hendricks to Harrison Feldkamp (Jr., Sibley, Iowa.) that put Gustavus on top 6-0.

Mitch Hendricks threw for five touchdowns and 260 yards in efficient fashion.

Mitch Hendricks threw for five touchdowns and 260 yards in efficient fashion.

Following another defensive stop, Hendricks continued to stay hot in the passing game. On third down and six from the Crown 28-yard-line, Hendricks connected with Matt Boyce for a 28-yard catch-and-run touchdown that put Gustavus on top 13-0 following the extra point with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter.

Crown got back into the game and generated some momentum at the end of the first quarter when DaiVon Poole (Fr., San Angelo, Texas) coughed up a fumble that was recovered by the Storm at the Gustavus 31-yard-line. Later at the 13:34 mark of the second quarter, Crown quarterback Brandon McMormick hit Ben Olson on a three-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 13-7 after the extra point.

Gustavus responded to Crown’s score with a 26-yard field goal by Thomas Scheusener (Sr., Rapid City, S.D) on its next possession, extending its lead to 16-7 with 11:09 left in the half.

Taking advantage of a short field less than three minutes later, Hendricks once again went up top to Matt Boyce for the second of their three touchdowns together. This time, the junior quarterback hit Boyce from 37 yards out to bring the score to 23-7.

Gustavus’s defense – which took away Crown’s passing game all afternoon – was rewarded with an interception with less than two minutes left in the opening half. On third and nine from the Crown 40-yard-line, Nick Frandsen (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) picked off McCormick at the Gustavus 20 and returned the pick 54 yards to the Crown 26.

Sticking to the trend, Hendricks hit Matt Boyce on an 18-yard touchdown two plays later.  The pair’s third touchdown put the Gusties on top 30-7 after the extra point.

The Storm drove down to the Gustavus 20-yard-line on their next drive and capped the first half with a 37-yard field goal by Chad Anenson.

At halftime, Gustavus was on top 30-10 and Mitch Hendricks was clicking. He was 16-for-20 for 194 yards with four touchdowns. Matt Boyce had made seven of his nine catches for 120 yards with three touchdowns.

The Gusties opened up with the ball in the second half and put together an eight-play, 68-yard scoring drive that lasted just 2:32. Hendricks capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) that extended the lead to 37-10 after Scheusener’s extra point.  Gabriel finished behind his twin brother with 66 yards on six catches.

Andrew Lonneman and Zack Martinez bottle up Crown's Josh Edlund in the backfield.

Andrew Lonneman and Zack Martinez bottle up Crown’s Josh Edlund in the backfield.

After a bend-don’t-break defensive stand, Gustavus got the ball back at the 4:16 mark of the third. Running back Leeland Lauti (Fr., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) carried much of the load during the Gusties’ 11-play, 70-yard scoring drive. Of the 70 yards of field covered, Lauti ran for 60 yards of it and eventually capped the drive with an eight-yard touchdown at 14:14 of the fourth quarter. His score brought an end to Gustavus’s scoring for the afternoon and extended its lead to 44-10.

Overall, running back Luke Martinez (Jr., Lenexa, Kan.) led the Gusties on the ground with 62 yards on 11 carries (5.6 ypc). Lauti finished with a net of 59 yards after nine rushes (6.6 ypc).

Crown brought the score to a final (44-17) with :34 seconds to go in the game when Matt Michaud plunged across the goal line from two yards out.

To go along with Gustavus’s stellar passing display, its pass defense was just as impressive. Crown quarterback Brandon McCormick finished with just 72 yards through the air after going 11-for-25 with one interception and one touchdown.

Crown rushed for 167 yards for a total of 239 yards in the game. To go along with 270 yards through the air, Gustavus tallied 119 yards on the ground for a total of 389. The Gusties were 5-for-5 in red-zone scoring and picked up 24 first downs compared to Crown’s 16.

Leading a balanced defense was linebacker Zack Martinez (Jr., Lenexa, Kan.) who recorded a team-best eight tackles (four solo). Tyler Jakes (So., North Mankato, Minn.) finished behind him with seven (six solo).

The Gustavus football team will be back in action next weekend when it travels to Lake Forest, Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 13. The Gusties will tangle with the Forresters in their final non-conference test of the season at 1:00 p.m.

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