Defensive Playmakers Guide Football To 38-21 Win At Carleton Posted on November 12th, 2016 by

Luke Martinez led the rushing attack in his final game as a Gustie.


NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Four interceptions and two that went for touchdowns propelled the Gustavus football team to a 38-21 victory at Carleton College Saturday in the season finale. Holding on to a slim 24-21 advantage midway through the fourth quarter, the Gustie defense stood tall with two interception returns for touchdowns on consecutive Carleton possessions. The Gusties edged the Knights 378-361 in total yards to finish the season 5-5 overall and 3-5 in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

“Our defense really made a few key plays in key moments today in the fourth quarter,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “Those two interceptions were huge boosts for us.”

Carleton started the game with the ball, but six plays into the drive Alex McHugh intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it 15 yards to the home 40-yard line. Gustavus took a shot toward the endzone on its first play of the drive as Christian Haffner (Fy., Lebanon, Tenn.) connected with Ellis Hirman (Jr., Zumbrota, Minn.) for a 39-yard strike down to the 1-yard line. Luke Martinez (Sr., Lenexa, Kan.) then punched it in and the Brendan Boche (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) extra point was good for an early 7-0 lead.

The Gustie defense forced a three-and-out on the next Carleton drive, setting up a seven-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard rushing touchdown by Karim Ortiz (Jr., Cancun, Mexico), putting him over the 1,000-yard mark for his career.

The Knights answered on the ensuing possession with a nine-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a nine-yard touchdown pass. After the first quarter, Gustavus led 14-7.

To start the second quarter the Gusties drove 35 yards on 11 plays. The drive stalled at the Carleton 11-yard line and Boche booted a 29-yard field goal through the uprights giving the Gusties a 17-7 lead. Carleton was forced to punt on its next two possessions and Gustavus was driving the field at the end of the half, but a 30-yard field goal attempt by Boche was blocked with 16 seconds remaining and the score remained 17-7 at the break.

A Carleton interception early in the third quarter set up a quick three-play, 55-yard drive, bringing the home team within four points at 17-13. The following drive was the longest of the day for the Gusties as they went 75 yards on 13 plays, ending with a four-yard rushing touchdown by Haffner for a 24-13 advantage with 1:55 remaining in the third.

The Knights came right back with a nine-play, 66-yard drive to make the score 24-21 early in the fourth quarter. Gustavus was forced to punt on the ensuing drive and the Knights were in position to take the lead with the ball near midfield, but Jordan Kahlow (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown, giving the Gusties a 31-21 lead with 8:04 remaining in the game. Four plays later, Leeland Lauti (Jr., Ewa Beach, Hawaii) picked off another pass and returned it 35 yards into the endzone and the Gusties held on for a 38-21 victory.

In the final game of his career, Martinez had a big day on the ground, rushing 29 times for 161 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s such a physical runner and he’s really gotten back to full health,” Haugen said of Martinez. “He was very good today and was running downhill for the most part.”

Haffner completed 12-of-20 passes for 126 yards as Hirman was the top target with five catches for 82 yards. Brady Miller (So., Delano, Minn.) led the defense with five tackles and a 16-yard interception return.

“We’ve faced adversity this season and I couldn’t be more proud of how the guys handled it,” Haugen said. “That speaks to their character and their fight. It was tough. We played a lot of players this year and faced a lot of injuries, but that really turned into a lot of opportunities and I couldn’t be more proud of our players and coaches for how we hung in there.”



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