Football Falls To Bethel 30-23 In Home Finale

Posted on November 1st, 2014 by

Luke Martinez gained 100 yards and added a touchdown in Gustavus's 30-23 loss to Bethel on Saturday afternoon.

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adophus football team suffered a 30-23 loss to Bethel University on Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field. The Royals used a big second half during which they scored 23 unanswered points en route to the seven point victory. Gustavus drops to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the MIAC, while Bethel improves to 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the MIAC.

In what was a game of two halves, Bethel won the second. Although the Gusties led 13-7 at halftime and then 16-14 after three quarters, Bethel scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to take a 30-23 lead. Although a Gustavus touchdown brought the game to within one score down 30-23 with :24 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Gusties were unable to recover an onside kick attempt, and Bethel held on for the win.

After shutting down Gustavus’s opening two drives of the game, Bethel was the first to put points on the scoreboard at the 3:37 mark of the first quarter. Running back Bridgeport Tusler took a draw, burst through the line and into the second level where he made a pair of defenders miss before getting to the outside and then into the end zone. Tusler was the first of Bethel’s three running backs to score a touchdown, finishing the game with 70 yards on 13 carries (5.4 avg.).

Gustavus tied the game early in the second quarter when it put together a 13-play, 59-yard touchdown scoring drive. Running back Luke Martinez (Lenexa, Kan.) took a handoff over the right tackle and plunged into the end zone for the two-yard touchdown. Thomas Schleusener (Rapid City, S.D.) tacked on the extra point and the game was tied at 7-7 with 10:33 left in the second quarter.

Michael Hintze picked off a pair of passes to bring his season total to a team-best three.

Michael Hintze picked off a pair of passes to bring his season total to a team-best three.

On Bethel’s ensuing offensive possession, cornerback Michael Hintze (Sr., Brookly Park, Minn.) picked off a pass and returned it 11 yards to the Gustavus 43-yard-line. Gustavus turned Hinte’s pick into points less then three minutes later at the 7:14 mark when quarterback Mitch Hendricks (Jr., Bemidji, Minn.) connected with receiver Matt Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) in the end zone. Hendricks dropped back to pass, rolled right, and fired to Boyce who broke away from coverage during Hendricks’ roll out. Schleusener’s extra point was no good, as the Gusties led 13-7 with 7:14 remaining in the first half.

With a six point advantage at the start of the third quarter, Gustavus’s defense forced a three-and-out and its offense scored on the next possession. Once the drive stalled at Bethel’s nine-yard-line, Schleusener knocked through a 26-yard field goal to put Gustavus on top 16-7 with 8:05 remaining in the frame.

The field goal signified the beginning of what was a 23-point scoring-run by Bethel. With just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bethel’s Charles Johnson caught a slant, bounced off a would-be tackler, and then outran everyone to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown reception. Johnson’s score – with Andrew O’Reilly’s kick added – cut the lead to 16-14 with 6:29 left in the third.

The Royals scored at the 9:37 mark of the fourth quarter to give them their first lead since the opening quarter and go up to 22-16. Set up by a 49-yard catch by Bryce Marquardt and a 26-yard run by Marshall Klitzke, the Royals capped a six-play, 84-yard drive with a two-yard Klitzek touchdown. Marshall Klitzke finished second on the team in rushing with 75 yards on 14 carries (5.4 avg.).

Following a second straight fourth quarter punt by Gustavus, Bethel stuck in the dagger with 1:57 remaining in the game to extend its lead to 30-16 after a two point conversion. Brandon Marquardt was the third and final running back to score a touchdown, going in from eight yards away. He paced Bethel’s ground game with 87 yards on 13 carries (6.7 avg.). All three Royal running backs averaged more than five yards per carry.

Matt Boyce celebrates after his record-tying 14th touchdown catch.

Matt Boyce celebrates after his record-tying 14th touchdown catch.

Gustavus brought the afternoon’s scoring to a close when Mitch Hendricks found Matt Boyce for the second time in the game. Boyce’s touchdown, which came with just :24 seconds left on the clock, brought the score to a final at 30-23 after Schleusener’s added kick.

Matt Boyce finished the day with 93 receiving yards on 11 catches to go along with his two touchdowns. With 15 on the season, Matt is now owner of the Gustavus football program’s single-season touchdown receptions record. He broke the previous record of 14 held by Ryan Hoag ’03 and set in 2001.

Mitch Hendricks was 25-for-48 for 204 yards with two touchdowns through the air. Gabriel Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) also had a good day receiving by catching five passes for 81 yards. Hendricks’ counterpart, Erik Peterson, was 8-for-19 for 128 yards with one touchdown pass. His top target was Marquardt who made three catches for 65 yards.

In the end, Bethel’s ground attack was the difference. Out of their 376 total yards, the Royals ran for 247. The Gusties threw for 204 yards and ran for 115 for a total of 319 in the game. Luke Martinez led the way on the ground with 100 yards on 30 carries (3.3 avg.).

Field position also played a key factor in this afternoon’s game. Gustavus punter Thomas Schleusener punted six times for 235 yards (39.2 avg.) with two downed inside the 20-yard-line. Bethel punter Philip Peterson punted six times for 240 yards (40 avg.) with one downed inside the 20.

Defensively, Gustavus forced two turnovers, which were both interceptions by Michael Hintze. Linebackers Zack Martinez (Jr., Lenexa, Minn.) and Tyler Jakes (So., North Mankato, Minn.) led all defensive players with 12 tackles each. Eight of Martinez’s tackles were solo while he also added two tackles for loss.

The Gustavus football team will hit the road next weekend when it travels to Moorhead to face Concordia at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8.

Box Score

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