Football Heads To Saint John’s Saturday For Top 20 Showdown Posted on October 15th, 2015 by


GA-FlipSt_Johns_MNhelmetThe No. 20-ranked Gustavus Adolphus football team travels to Collegeville, Minn. on Saturday for a Top 20 showdown with No. 14/15-ranked Saint John’s. The Gusties enter with a 6-0 overall record and 4-0 mark in the MIAC, while the Johnnies are 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the MIAC. Kickoff at Clemens Stadium is 1 p.m.


KNUJ AM 860 out of New Ulm, Minn. is broadcasting every Gustavus regular season game. The voice of the Golden Gusties, Tom Wheeler, handles the play-by-play duties for the 10th consecutive season. Wheeler is joined by 1984 Gustavus graduate and former Gustie football player Ken Ericson on the live call for this season’s slate of games. Fans can listen to the KNUJ broadcasts on the Internet through the Gustavus Athletics website.

Live coverage of Saturday’s game begins at 12:30 p.m.




The Gusties cruised to a 58-34 win over St. Olaf College last Saturday afternoon and in the process quarterback Mitch Hendricks (Sr., Laporte, Minn.) became the program’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns. Hendricks threw five touchdowns on the day to increase his career total to 67, passing the previous record of 65 set by Jordan Stolp (2004-07).

Not to be overshadowed by Hendricks’ career day, Jake Douglas (Sr., Montevideo, Minn.) had the best performance by a Gustavus tight end dating back more than 35 years. Douglas led the Gusties in receiving with 172 yards on nine catches and three touchdowns – proving to be the highest marks by a Gustie tight end in decades. For his outstanding performance, Douglas was named MIAC Offensive Player-of-the-Week and earned a spot on the Team of the Week.

The Gusties accumulated 575 total yards of offense and the Oles tallied 382 total yards. Gustavus also posted 30 first downs and finished eight of its first nine drives with touchdowns.

Hendricks finished the game going 23-of-35 for 383 yards and five touchdowns. DaiVon Poole (So., San Angelo, Texas) led the ground game with 19 carries for 111 yards and two touchdowns. He also added four catches for 36 yards and a score. Karim Ortiz (So., Cancun, Mexico) reached double figure carries as well, as he ran 12 times or 33 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Krzmarkzick (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) led the defense with 10 tackles, including one for a loss and a sack. The Gusties tallied four sacks on the day.

This season when the Gustie offense is faced with third down, there is not a single team in all of collegiate football (FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III) that can say it has a better conversion rate. Gustavus has converted on 51-of-77 third down attempts for a .662 percentage, which is best in the nation. On fourth down conversions, the Gusties are a perfect 7-for-7.

After six games this season, Hendricks has compiled 2,009 passing yards, which are most in NCAA Division III. He also tops the nation with 23 passing touchdowns. To add another notch in his belt, Hendricks also leads the country with 156 points responsible for. Hendricks’ big-play target Matt Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) ranks second in the nation in receiving yards (820) and receiving touchdowns (11).



No. 14/15 Saint John’s is coming off its bye week after defeating Hamline University 41-21 on Oct. 3 in St. Paul. The Johnnies broke a 14-13 second-quarter deficit with 28 straight points to defeat the Pipers and improve to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the MIAC.

All-American running back Sam Sura (Sr., South St. Paul, Minn.) rushed for a season-high 175 yards and a career-high four touchdowns on 31 carries. The four rushing touchdowns were the most by a Johnnie in a game since Corey Weber ran for five in a 41-6 win at Hamline on Oct. 2, 2004.

The 175 rushing yards enabled Sura to break his tie with Matt Malmberg (1991-94), pass Chris Moore (1997-00) and move into second place on SJU’s all-time rushing list with 3,098 yards. He is now 835 yards behind the school record of 3,933 held by Tim Schmitz (1974-77).

Quarterback Nick Martin (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) ended the afternoon 11-of-17 passing for 128 yards. He also added 18 yards on the ground. Wide receiver Josh Bungum (Sr., Paynesville, Minn.) complemented Sura with 157 all-purpose yards on the day: 42 on five catches, 21 on five carries, 83 on three kick returns and 11 on one punt return.

Linebacker Reid Bjorklund (Sr., South St. Paul, Minn.) led the SJU defense, which held HU to 56 rushing yards on 33 carries, with nine tackles (five solo), including one for a loss. Linebacker Drake Matuska (Sr., Kasson, Minn.) followed with eight tackles (three solo) and recorded the second interception of his career. Defensive lineman Peyton Thiry (Jr., Lester Prairie, Minn./Lester Prairie-Holy Trinity) chipped in seven tackles (three solo), including 2.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

After five games this season, Sura leads the MIAC with 136.2 rushing yards per game. He has 125 carries for 681 yards and 10 touchdowns. Martin leads the Johnnies as the play-caller. He has completed 68-of-97 passes for 800 yards and six touchdowns. Bungum and Nick Simon (Sr., New Ulm, Minn.) lead the receiving corps. Bungum has 28 catches for 295 yards and one touchdown, while Simon has 19 catches for 274 yards and three scores. Defensively, Carter Hanson (Jr., Blue Earth, Minn.) and Matuska lead the way with 30 tackles apiece. Hanson has three tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery, while Matuska has 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception.


Saturday’s game is the 82nd meeting between the Gustavus and Saint John’s football programs. The Johnnies hold the advantage in the all-time series with a record of 46-32-3. The rivalry has been lopsided for the past three decades as the Johnnies have a 26-2 record since beating the Gusties in the 1987 postseason. Last season, the Johnnies defeated the Gusties 29-19 on Oct. 18 in St. Peter. Although Gustavus led 13-7 at halftime, Saint John’s outscored the Gusties 22-6 over the final 30 minutes. Turnovers and red zone scoring turned out to be the difference. Gustavus committed four turnovers (3 INT, 1 fumble) and went 3-for-6 in the red zone, while Saint John’s didn’t committ a turnover and was a perfect 5-for-5 in the red zone. The last time the Gusties defeated the Johnnies in Collegeville was 1997. Gustavus has since lost the past seven games played in Collegeville.


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