Football Travels To Hamline Saturday In MIAC Battle Of Unbeaten Teams

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by


GA-Fliphamline_mn-helmetThe Gustavus Adolphus College football team continues Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup at Hamline University. The Gusties enter the game with a 3-0 overall record and 1-0 mark in the MIAC after defeating Augsburg 35-13 last Saturday, while the Pipers are 2-0 overall and 0-0 in the league after defeating Macalester 21-7 on Sept. 10. The Pipers were idle last week.


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 11th consecutive season. 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.



For the third consecutive season, the Gustavus football team enters week four with a perfect 3-0 record. Last week the Gusties came back from a 13-0 halftime deficit to score 35 unanswered points in a 35-13 victory over Augsburg. Karim Ortiz (Jr., Cancun, Mexico) had a career day, rushing the ball 27 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns. First-year quarterback Christian Haffner (Lebanon, Tenn.) provided a spark off the bench, completing 9-of-11 passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate appearance. The Gustie defense was stout in the second half, limiting the Auggies to 20 total yards and only one first down. Leeland Lauti (Jr., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) led the defensive unit with eight stops, including a tackle-for-loss.

Through three games, Gustavus has faced adversity with the injury bug and has stuck to the motto of “next man up.” Quarterback Michael Veldman (So., Becker, Minn.), who started the first two games of the season and was proving to be an extremely efficient passer (79.4% completion rate), was knocked out of the second game of the year and is likely gone for the season. Sam Archer (So., Zimmerman, Minn.) started last week and now Coach Haugen is looking to Haffner to quarterback the offense. Running back Luke Martinez, after missing all of last season due to injury, is once again sidelined and out for the time being. Martinez started the season with a big game at Westminster, rushing 21 times for 129 yards and three touchdowns. Ortiz has seen the bulk of the carries in Martinez’ absence with 44 carries for 258 yards and two scores. The Cancun native leads the MIAC with 115.5 yards averaged in the past two games. The defensive unit has also seen the injury bug as starting middle linebacker and captain Tyler Jakes (Sr., North Mankato, Minn.) was injured last week. Sophomore Matt Berkner (Sleepy Eye, Minn.) will start in his spot this week.

Gustavus is still establishing its offensive identity early in the season, but if the first three games tell you anything, it’s that the Gusties don’t rely on one facet to win games. The Black and Gold have accumulated 1148 yards of total offense – 557 rushing and 591 passing. The yardage between rushing and passing is close, but the rushing attempts outweigh the passing attempts 131-72. The defensive unit is establishing an identity of making big plays and swarming the ball. Through three games the Gusties have four interceptions after totaling six picks last season. The defense also has four sacks, 21 tackles for loss and one fumble recovery. Gustavus has scored one touchdown on defense with a 75-yard interception return by Casey Decker (Jr., Mapleton, Minn.) in week two. Special teams have also found the endzone with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.

After three games, Gustavus averages 31.3 points per game, while holding its opponents to 13.3 points per game. The Gusties are outgaining the opposition 382.7-290.0 and are winning the time of possession battle by seven minutes each game. Gustavus’s 185.7 rushing yards per game ranks third in the MIAC, while its 197.0 passing yards per game ranks sixth. The defense ranks third in the league, allowing 290 yards per game.



Under the direction of new head coach Chip Taylor, the Hamline football team has started the season 2-0 with non-conference wins over Crown (29-9) and Macalester (21-7). In their most recent victory over cross-town rival Macalester on Sept. 10, the Pipers jumped out to a 14-0 lead at halftime and limited the Scots to seven points in the second half for a 14-point win. Josiah Harris was the star of the game for Hamline, rushing for two touchdowns with six attempts and 64 yards. Justice Spriggs completed 21-of-32 passes for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Deon Bishop was the top target, hauling in six receptions for 95 yards and a score. Mitchell Maday led the defense with seven tackles, including 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, earning MIAC Defensive Player of the Week as well as making the Team of the Week on defense.

The two wins to start the season for the Pipers haven’t been flashy, but they have been efficient on both sides of the ball. Hamline is averaging 25.0 points per game and holding its opponents to 8.0 points per game. The Pipers have outgained the opposition 922-618 in total yards and have been stout on the defensive side of the ball, especially on third down. In 22 third downs, the Piper defense has allowed only five first down conversions in those circumstances. The Pipers have also stopped all three fourth down tries they have faced this season. On offense, Hamline is doing a good job of moving the chains by averaging 23.5 first downs per game, which ranks second in the league.

On the individual statistical leaderboard, Spriggs is the MIAC’s top passer, averaging 285.5 yards per game. Spriggs has completed 46-of-65 passes for 571 yards and four touchdowns. Josiah Harris leads the receiving corps with 12 catches for 150 yards and two scores. The ground game is paced by Naji El-Araby with 32 carries and 101 yards. Anthony Hills is the team’s top defensive player with 12 tackles, including a tackle for loss.



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