Football Comes Up Short In 42-40 Shootout At Hamline

Posted on September 24th, 2016 by


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Gustavus and Hamline football teams battled to the bitter end Saturday afternoon at Klas Field, but a touchdown late in the fourth quarter by the host Pipers proved to be the difference in a 42-40 loss for the Gusties. The defeat snaps a 10-game winning streak against the Pipers and marked the first time since 1975 Gustavus lost a game after scoring at least 40 points. Gustavus moves to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Pipers remain unbeaten at 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league.

Hamline quarterback Justice Spriggs was the story of the game as he passed for 475 yards and six touchdowns, completing 29-of-41 attempts. The Gusties limited the Piper ground game to just 17 yards on 29 attempts, but the aerial attack proved to be too much.

Karim Ortiz (Jr., Cancun, Mexico) had another big game rushing the ball with a career-high 34 carries for 155 yards and two touchdowns. First-year quarterback Christian Haffner (Lebanon, Tenn.) completed 14-of-25 passes for 273 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Hunter Johnson (Jr., Cannon Falls, Minn.) was the favorite target, hauling in six receptions for 104 yards. Jordan Kahlow (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) led the defense with eight tackles, including a 46-yard interception return for a score.

“We had a few chances to win on offense but didn’t get it done today,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “Some of the mistakes early in the game hurt, but we rallied back in the second half, it just didn’t come all the way around. It’s a disappointing loss, but we’re moving on.”

Casey Decker (Jr., Mapleton, Minn.) provided a spark in the third play of the game as he intercepted a pass and returned it 18 yards to the Hamline 32-yard line. On the ensuing drive, Haffner completed a 13-yard pass to George Buchner (Sr., Excelsior, Minn.), but fumbled the ball which was recovered by Hamline at its own one-yard line. The Gusties got the ball back after forcing a punt and responded with a 12-play, 50-yard drive, resulting in a 39-yard field goal off the foot of Brendan Boche (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.). After the first quarter, Gustavus led 3-0.

On the first offensive series of the second quarter, Haffner turned the ball over at midfield with a fumble. The Pipers took advantage and scored seven plays later on a 16-yard pass.  The extra point failed and Hamline led 6-3. The Gusties immediately answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive, culminating with a 24-yard pass and catch from Haffner to Brayton Finch (Fy., Mount Morris, Ill.), giving Gustavus a 10-6 advantage after the Boche extra point.

On the second play of Hamline’s ensuing drive, Kahlow jumped a route and returned the interception 46 yards for a touchdown. The Pipers wasted little time to answer as they scored after three plays – two of which went for 40 and 23 yards. Hamline forced a punt on the following drive and its offense once again found the endzone after a seven-play, 62-yard drive. Hamline led 21-17 at halftime.

Gustavus received the second half kick and put together a 12-play scoring drive. Ortiz punched in touchdown from one yard out, giving his squad the lead. The Gustie defense forced a punt after five plays and the offense responded with another scoring drive, this time 69 yards in 11 plays, ending with a four-yard score from Ortiz. Ortiz was the workhorse in the scoring drive with nine carries. Gustavus forced another Hamline punt and was in control of the game heading into the fourth quarter with a 31-21 lead.

The home team wouldn’t go down without a fight and proved that over the final 15 minutes of the game. Spriggs completed consecutive passes of 29 and 32 yards on the first possession of the quarter, with the latter resulting in a touchdown to come within three points. Gustavus was forced to punt after nine plays, giving the Pipers the ball back at their own 29-yard line. Hamline regained the lead at 35-31 after a 10-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass. The momentum then shifted immediately back in the Gusties’ favor with the biggest play of the game. Haffner connected with Jamison Beulke for an 82-yard touchdown and Gustavus grabbed back the lead at 38-35 with 4:13 remaining in the game.

Hamline once again took advantage of the long ball on its next drive, which included connections of 33 and 28 yards. The 28-yard completion found the endzone and the Pipers took a 42-38 advantage with 1:35 on the clock. Haffner made a big play on the first play of the ensuing drive with a 34-yard completion to Johnson, but his next pass was picked off, giving the Pipers the ball at their own 12-yard line. The Gusties used all three timeouts on the next possession and ended up getting a safety with 35 seconds remaining the bring the score to 42-40, but the final drive of the game came up short and the Pipers walked away with the victory.

“We had four sacks today so it was good to get a little pressure on the quarterback,” Haugen said. “We have to continue to do that. The kicking game was solid today so that was a really good sign. We bounced back there really well. And our young quarterback made some big plays in key spots, and that’s an area where we are going to have to continue to grow. We are throwing some young guys into the fire and we’ll keep growing and learning and try to get better next week.”

Gustavus hosts Concordia at 1 p.m. next Saturday for its Homecoming game.


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