Football Loses Lead Late, Falls 33-24 At Bethel Posted on October 31st, 2015 by

Mitch Hendricks hands off to Leeland Lauti. (photo courtesy of Tim Kruse)


ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – Holding a 24-20 lead late in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Gustavus football team was not able to maintain the advantage as it allowed a pair of touchdowns in the final four minutes to lose 33-24 at Bethel University. The Gusties drop their second straight road test and now own a 6-2 overall record and 4-2 mark in the MIAC.

Gustavus couldn’t contain the Royals ground attack as it allowed 413 rushing yards and five scores, highlighted by 230 yards from Marshall Klitzke. The Gusties recorded 396 yards of total offense, compared to 523 by the Royals.

The Gustie defense makes a gang tackle. (photo by Tim Kruse)

The Gustie defense makes a gang tackle. (photo by Tim Kruse)

The Gusties got off to a quick start by scoring on their first three offensive possessions. After allowing a 12-play, 77-yard touchdown drive, the Gusties answered with an eight-play, 59-yard drive – highlighted by a 45-yard pass and catch from Mitch Hendricks (Sr., Laporte, Minn.) to Gabe Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) – but were stalled at the Bethel eight-yard line. Brendan Boche (So., Lakeville, Minn.) then came in and connected for a 25-yard field goal.

Bethel put together a nine-play drive, but only made it 28 yards and turned the ball over on a fourth down attempt. Gustavus took over at its own 30 and on the first play of the possession, Hendricks found Matt Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) for a 70-yard touchdown strike to take a 10-7 lead after the extra point.

It didn’t take long for the Royals to regain the lead as they scored on the following drive after just four plays. BU went 75 yards in 1:09, capped by a 28-yard rushing touchdown. Starting at its own 10-yard line, Gustavus pieced together its longest scoring drive of the day. The Gusties gained five first downs during a 14-play drive that lasted 5:52 and ended on a four-yard pass from Hendricks to Matt Boyce to take a 17-14 lead after the extra point.

The next two possessions for each offense ended on failed fourth down attempts. Bethel then had the ball in Gustavus territory, but Nick Frandsen (Sr., North Oaks, Minn.) intercepted a pass at the Gustie 41-yard line to end the second quarter. At halftime, the Gusties led 17-14.

Gabe Boyce stiff-arms a Bethel defender. (photo by Tim Kruse)

Gabe Boyce tries to run around a Bethel defender after making a catch. (photo by Tim Kruse)

Gustavus started with the ball in the third quarter, but was stalled after six plays as Hendricks pooched a quick quarterback punt down to the Bethel 17-yard line. The Royals followed with seven straight rushing plays to drive the field for a touchdown, taking a 20-17 lead. The Gusties responded, though, with a 13-play drive that included five first downs. Hendricks finished off the drive with a four-yard touchdown run and after the extra point the Gusties led 24-20, which would be the score after three quarters of play.

Bethel’s next drive ended on a failed fourth down attempt from the Gustavus 22-yard line, giving the Gusties the ball back with all the momentum. But five plays later, the momentum swung right back into the hands of the Royals as Hendricks was intercepted at the Bethel 40-yard line. The Royals then took advantage of the turnover by driving 60 yards in 15 plays (12 rushing), capped by a five-yard touchdown run. Bethel took a 26-24 lead with 3:41 left in the game and never let go of the advantage.

Gustavus was stopped after just four plays on its next drive, giving the Royals the ball at the Gustie 41-yard line. Four plays later, the Royals took a two-possession lead on a 32-yard rushing score with 1:55 on the clock. The Gusties made it near midfield on the ensuring possession, but on the seventh play of the drive they were stopped on a fourth down attempt to end the game.

Hendricks finished the day going 20-for-39 with 285 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Hendricks also had the most rushing yards for the Gusties with 58 yards on 12 carries. Matt Boyce was the top target through the air with seven catches for 118 yards and two scores. Kysten Zierke (So., Blue Earth, Minn.) led the defense with a team-high 12 tackles.

Gustavus returns home next Saturday for a 1 p.m. matchup against Concordia College (7-2, 5-2 MIAC), who lost 38-14 to St. Thomas today.


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