ST. PETER, Minn. – In the final home game of the 2016 season, the Gustavus football team lost to No. 4-ranked University of St. Thomas 40-6. The Tommies outgained the Gusties 458-128 in total yards and limited the home team to two field goals. Gustavus had a significant advantage in time of possession at 35:46-24:14, but was unable to finish drives in the endzone. The Gusties fall to 4-5 overall and 2-5 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Confernce, while the Tommies remain undefeated at 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the league.
“I love the way our guys competed and I think that’s the biggest thing,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “They [St. Thomas] are who they are in terms of how good they are. We had some serious setbacks, offensive line during the week with injuries and guys came in there on such sort notice against one of the top defenses in the country. We didn’t get a ton accomplished out there in terms of points and yards but I really love how the guys competed.”
St. Thomas was able to establish its offense early in the game, which set the tone for the remainder of the contest. The Tommies scored a touchdown on their first offensive series and went on to score three more touchdowns over the next four possessions.
The visitors held a 19-0 lead early in the second quarter and it wasn’t until the 5:01 mark that Gustavus would break the shutout. The Gusties capped a 15-play, 53-yard drive with a 34-yard field goal off the foot of Brendan Boche (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.).
St. Thomas gained a big momentum boost at the end of the first half, scoring a touchdown as time expired, taking a 26-3 advantage into the locker room. The Tommies added a touchdown in third quarter and another in the fourth for their 40-point total before the Gusties tacked on another Boche field goal with 8:33 remaining in the game.
Luke Martinez (Sr., Lenexa, Kan.) led the ground game for the Gusties with 41 yards on 17 carries. Martinez eclipsed the 1,000-yard career rushing mark and now has 1,040 yards on the ground. Gustavus used two quarterbacks during the game as Christian Haffner (Fy., Lebanon, Tenn.) started and completed 3-of-8 passes for 32 yards and two interceptions, while Sam Archer (So., Zimmerman, Minn.) came in relief and completed 5-of-13 passes for 50 yards. Hunter Johnson (Jr., Cannon Falls, Minn.) hauled in three catches for 45 yards. Casey Decker (Jr., Mapleton, Minn.) had a productive day punting the ball with six boots for 235 yards for an average of 39.2 yards per punt and a long of 57 yards. Jordan Kahlow (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) led the defense with eight tackles. Tanner Jensen (Sr., Lewiston, Minn.) had an interception.
“I’m very proud of the senior group, they’ve really dedicated themselves to this program over the last four years,” Haugen said. “We’ve got Minnesota kids, guys from Mexico, and all over the country, so we’re thankful for everyone one of them and their contributions to this program and the influence they’ve had on our younger players.”
Gustavus wraps up the 2016 season next Saturday at Carleton.