Saint John’s Offensive Attack Overpowers Gustie Football

Posted on October 22nd, 2016 by

Freshman Quarterback Christian Haffner eludes Saint John's defenders. (photo courtesy of AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)


ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team was overmatched by No. 10-ranked Saint John’s University’s strong offensive attack Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field, falling by a score of 56-10. With the loss the Gusties fall to 3-4 (1-4 MIAC), while the Johnnies improve to 7-1 (5-1 MIAC).

The Johnnies raced out to a 35-3 lead at halftime and maintained control the rest of the way. Saint John’s outgained Gustavus 437-129 in total yards, limiting the Gusties to 91 yards passing and 38 yards rushing.

Josh Kirk makes a leaping catch. (photo by AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

Josh Kirk makes a leaping catch. (photo by AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

After trading possessions on the first two drives of the game by each team, Saint John’s found the endzone on its second drive with an 11-play, 45-yard drive. The Gusties were forced to punt on the following drive, but a fumbled punt return was recovered by Schuyler Thompson (Jr., Millville, Minn.) at the visitor’s 13-yard line. The ensuing possession stalled after four plays, but Brendan Boche (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) put the Gusties on the board with a 26-yard field goal.

The Johnnies returned the next kickoff 75 yards, leading up to a 14-yard touchdown through the air three plays later. After the first quarter, Saint John’s led 14-3.

The visitors intercepted a pass to start the second quarter and took advantage of the turnover three plays later with an impressive 75-yard reception as Evan Clark hauled in a one-handed catch and raced to the endzone, giving the Johnnies a 21-3 lead. Another long touchdown pass, this time 63 yards, gave Saint John’s a 28-3 lead with 9:33 remaining in the half. After forcing another punt, the Johnnies capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown rush, taking a 35-3 lead into the locker room. The Johnnies scored touchdowns on five of their eight drives in the first 30 minutes, while the Gusties ended three drives on a punt and two others on an interception.

Saint John’s gained a 42-3 advantage on its first offensive series of the second half, reaching the endzone after a six-play, 45-yard drive. The Black and Gold showed a spark of life midway through the third quarter as Ben Rengel (So., Sartell, Minn.) intercepted a pass at the Johnnie 17-yard line and returned it for a touchdown.

DaiVon Poole looks for rushing yardage. (photo by AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

DaiVon Poole looks for rushing yardage. (photo by AJ Dahm, SPX Sports)

The Johnnies returned the favor shortly thereafter as Sam Archer (So., Zimmerman, Minn.) was sacked and fumbled the ball at the home three-yard line. Saint John’s recovered the fumble and scored a touchdown two plays later, taking a 49-10 lead through three quarters.

Saint John’s tacked on its final touchdown of the day early in the fourth quarter and played keep-away the rest of the game. The Johnnies were able to run a majority of the time off the clock with an 18-play, 49-yard drive that lasted 11:28.

Christian Haffner (Fy., Lebanon, Tenn.) completed 9-of-18 passes for 83 yards and two interceptions. Ellis Hirman (Jr., Zumbrota, Minn.) was the top target with four catches for 39 yards. DaiVon Poole (Jr., San Angelo, Texas) carried six times for 24 yards. Drew Fredericksen (Jr., Forsyth, Ill.) led the team with 126 all-purpose yards, all on kick returns. Leeland Lauti (Jr., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) and Zack Martinez (Sr., Lenexa, Kan.) led the defense with 12 tackles each.

Gustavus travels to Northfield, Minn. next Saturday for a conference battle against St. Olaf (2-5, 1-4 MIAC), who defeated Carleton 32-25 today.


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