Gustie Football Posts 24-21 Home Opening Victory

Posted on September 10th, 2016 by

George Buchner hauls in a 41-yard touchdown pass. (photo courtesy of AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY 

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team battled the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field for the 2016 home opener. The Gusties defeated UW-River Falls by a final score of 24-21.

A crowd of around 1,300 came to Hollingsworth Field for the Gusties’ home opener on a perfect Saturday for football.

“It was a huge deal for our players,” said Head Coach Peter Haugen on the Gustavus crowd. “When we were out before the game even started the “Hill Crew” already had the stands and the student section packed. That’s a huge encouragement to our players and we’re so thankful for all of the support.” 

The Black and Gold got on the board early in the first drive of the game. Michael Veldman (So., Becker, Minn.) completed a 41-yard pass to George Buchner (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.) to give the Gusties a 7-0 lead.

River Falls answered in the next drive to knot the score at 7-7, where the score stood after one quarter of play. The Gusties starting quarterback in Veldman and starting running back Luke Martinez (Sr., Lenexa, Kan.) were injured and were limited to only one quarter of play.

“We lost a couple key guys early, and guys had to step up. We excelled in a couple areas we needed to after those injuries took place,” said Haugen.

Sam Archer (So., Zimmerman, Minn.) stepped in at quarterback late in the first quarter and helped guide the Gusties to their most productive play in the second quarter. Archer completed 10 of 18 passes for 101 yards in the game. He also showed some grittiness as he ran the ball 15 times.  

“Sam is a really tough kid. I’m excited that he came in and was eager to get going,” Haugen said.

Kevin Krohn collects a fumble before he walks in for a touchdown. (AJ Dahm, SPK Sports)

Kevin Krohn collects a blocked punt before walking in for a touchdown. (AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

Defense and special teams proved to be the factor in giving the Gusties the lead in the second quarter. A 27-yard Brendan Boche (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) field goal pushed the Gustie lead to 10-7 at the 8:33 mark. On the following drive, Matt Berkner (So., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) blocked a UWRF punt at the five-yard line, Kevin Krohn (Jr., Richfield, Minn.) snagged the ball and strolled into the end zone for a Black and Gold touchdown.

Casey Decker (Jr., Mapleton, Minn.) was the next Gustie to make a big play. Decker picked off a UWRF pass at the 25-yard and returned the ball all the way back for a 75-yard “pick six” to put the Gusties up 24-7.

Gustavus wasn’t able to put up any more points on the board throughout the rest of the game but held on for a 24-21 win.

Jordan Sorensen (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) led the Gustavus defensive effort with a career-high nine total tackles. Iker Ortiz (Sr., Cancun, Mexico) added three tackles including an eight-yard sack.

Casey Decker celebrates after returning a 75-yard interception. (Roisen Granlund '17)

Casey Decker celebrates after returning a 75-yard interception. (Roisen Granlund ’17)

“We kicked the ball well and had a really solid day with special teams with the turnover for a touchdown,” Haugen said. “Offense isn’t always going to score points, you have to find ways to make big plays outside of just one phase of the game. We did that today and as a result we won. I told the players, this is such a big win for our team.  Certainly, we’re going to have to make some improvements but they’re more fun to make when you’re 2-0 rather than 1-1.”

Gustavus returns to Hollingsworth Field next weekend as they head into MIAC play, taking on Augsburg College at 1 p.m. Saturday.

 

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