Football’s Last Minute Heroics Lead To 41-34 Comeback Victory Over Concordia Posted on November 8th, 2015 by

Matt Boyce became the new Gustavus all-time leader in career receiving yards in the win over Concordia. (photo courtesy of AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)


ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team showed a never-say-die attitude Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field as it came from behind to beat No. 23-ranked Concordia 41-34 in the final minute of play.

Trailing 34-27 with just over two minutes left in the game, the Gusties went 63 yards on 12 plays, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Hendricks (Sr., Laporte, Minn.) to Gabe Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) to come within one point. Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, the Gusties elected to go for two, but the conversion failed.

With hope all but lost and 28 seconds on the clock, Brendan Boche (So., Lakeville, Minn.) executed a perfect onside kick, which was recovered by the Gusties at midfield. The composure of the team shined through in the final seconds of the game as Hendricks found Gabe Boyce on a deep slant for a 17-yard gain. After Hendricks spiked the ball to stop the clock, the senior quarterback then connected with George Buchner (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) streaking down the right side as Buchner caught the game-winning 33-yard touchdown with just 14 seconds left in the game. The Gustie defense then put a stop to a Hail Mary throw from the Cobbers to end the game.

“There was a lot of stuff going on and things were happening really fast, but we executed a play when we absolutely needed to,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said of the finish. “We certainly missed some plays during the game, but we were able to move the ball so fast down the field. What a great play by Gabe Boyce and then George Buchner getting us in the end zone.”

To add to the excitement of the victory, Matt Boyce (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) caught eight passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. His 153 yards increased his career total to 3,189 receiving yards, which broke the Gustavus all-time record for career receiving yards previously held by Chad Arlt (2005-08) with 3,180 yards.

“To break the record in a big game like this, I think that’s really special,” Haugen said of Boyce. “Every game in this league special, but this was a big moment today and Matt did some amazing stuff in big moments. He’s meant so much to this team both on and off the field.”

DaiVon Poole leaps of a Concordia defender. (photo by AJ Dahm)

DaiVon Poole leaps over a Concordia defender. (photo by AJ Dahm)

Concordia started with the ball to begin the game and put together an 11-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Gusties started their first offensive possession at the 15-yard line and struck big on the first play as Hendricks found Matt Boyce on a deep slant for an 85-yard touchdown strike to tie the game. The Cobbers responded with another long possession, this time a 12-play, 62-yard scoring drive to take a 14-7 advantage, which would remain the score after the first quarter.

Gustavus started the second quarter with a scoring drive of its own tie the game 14-14. Hendricks capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive with a 12-yard rushing touchdown. On its third possession of the game, Concordia scored its third straight touchdown. The Cobbers went 75 yards in nine plays with a 20-yard touchdown pass. In the back-and-forth battle this game proved to be, the Gusties answered right back with a 74-yard drive on 12 plays, which ended on a two-yard rushing touchdown by DaiVon Poole (So., San Angelo, Texas).

The Gustie defense made a fourth down stop on the ensuing Concordia drive and the two teams went into the locker room at halftime tied 21-21.

Gustavus went three-and-out to start the third quarter and the Cobbers took advantage of a short field to go ahead 28-21 on a 22-yard touchdown pass. The next possessions from each team ended in punts. The Gusties started their third drive of the third quarter at the 4:26 mark and proceeded to drive 70 yards in 10 plays, and ended the drive with a 32-yard touchdown run down the right sideline by Karim Ortiz (So., Cancun, Mexico). The extra point failed, though, and the Gusties trailed 28-27 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Gustie defense came up with a huge fumble recovery by Iker Ortiz-Hidalgo (Jr., Cancun, Mexico) on a third down attempt, giving the offense the ball at its own 39-yard line. The ensuing drive lasted 12 plays, but stalled at the Concordia 14-yard line. Boche came in for a 31-yard field goal attempt, but it went wide left.

Concordia fed off the energy after the missed field goal and went 80 yards in 11 plays to take a 34-27 lead on an 11-yard rushing touchdown, but the extra point attempt failed and the score remained a seven-point difference. After the failed extra point, the Gusties completed the comeback with the receiving touchdown from Gabe Boyce followed by the recovered onside kick and the game-winning touchdown catch by Buchner.

Hendricks finished the day going 25-for-41 with 363 yards and four touchdowns. He also added eight carries for 39 yards and a score. Philip Sun (Sr., Doral, Fla.) led the defense with 11 total tackles.

The Gusties (7-2 overall, 5-2 MIAC) finish the season next Saturday at home against MIAC regular season champion St. Thomas (9-0 overall, 7-0 MIAC), who defeated Carleton 80-3 today.


One Comment

  1. Kathy Schmitz says:

    GREAT game Gusties – Huge finish!!