Football Overpowers Westminster 38-0 In Season Opener

Posted on September 2nd, 2017 by

Josh Kirk comes down with a reception. (Photo courtesy of Alex Nadeau, SPX Sports)

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ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team used a balanced offensive attack and steady defensive play in its 2017 season opener, defeating Westminster College 38-0 on Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field.

Four different Gusties found their way into the endzone, led by a three touchdown performance from quarterback  Michael Veldman (Jr., Becker, Minn.), twice completing to Brice Panning (So., Hamburg, Minn.).

“It is a good indicator, we have a lot of guys who can possess the ball and being able to spread the ball around is a good thing,” Head Coach Peter Haugen commented on the offensive balance.

The Gustavus offense just needed four plays on its first drive of the 2017 season to gain a 7-0 lead as Jamison Beulke (Jr., Montgomery, Minn.) posted a career-long 58-yard run, avoiding Blue Jay defenders towards the edge and sprinting down the sideline for the touchdown with 11:27 left in the first quarter. Brendan Boche (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) added a 33-yard field goal at the 3:24 mark and the Gusties owned a 10-0 lead after one quarter.

With just 20 seconds remaining in the first half, Michael Veldman (Jr., Becker, Minn.) found Brice Panning (So., Hamburg, Minn.) in the corner of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass, Panning’s first of his career as the Gusties took a 17-0 lead into halftime.

Jamison Beulke strides into the end zone for his game-winning touchdown. (Nadeau photo)

The offensive onslaught and defensive structure held throughout the second half as the Black and Gold notched their first shutout since the 2015 season, which was a 49-0 home-opening win against Lake Forest College.

Veldman completed another 16-yard touchdown pass to Josh Kirk (So., Garvin, Minn.) for the Gusties sole score of the third quarter, pushing the lead to 24-0. In the fourth quarter, Karim Ortiz (Sr., Cancun, Mexico) added a two-yard touchdown run while Veldman and Panning connected for another touchdown pass near the corner of the end zone for the final score of the game as the scoreboard read 38-0.

The Gustavus defense held Westminster to just eight first downs and 153 total yards of offense through four quarters, led by a share of tackles. 19 Gusties recorded at least two tackles, led by Casey Decker (Sr., Mapleton, Minn.) with a career-high of nine, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Jordan Kahlow (Jr, Le Sueur, Minn.) also tallied two tackles for loss while Chris Nelson (Sr., New London, Minn.), Nick Jacques (So., Orono, Minn.), and Tanner Sparrow (Jr., Edina, Minn.) each contributed sacks.

“Our defense played well, it was good to get plenty of guys in there,” said Haugen. “I’m really proud of them and our defensive coaches effort. I think it was a good first game for us, there are certainly some things we’re going to have to work through, but all in all, we had good effort with a lot of different guys playing. The game plan was solid and is something we can build on.”

Kevin Krohn wraps up Westminster quarterback. (Nadeau photo)

Beulke led Gustavus with 91 rushing yards, 91 passing yards, as well as 182 all-purpose yards on the day. Veldman finished the game with 17 completed passes on 31 attempts for 290 yards.

Next weekend, the Gusties travel to River Falls, Wis. for another non-conference game against the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Last season, Gustavus hosted the Falcons and came away with a 24-21 victory during the home opener. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday at Ramer Field.

“We’re going to have to get better, UW-River Falls is a good football team and we were fortunate enough to win against them a year ago, but this year is a whole new story,” Haugen concluded.

 

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