Late Push Cut Short In Football’s 20-12 Loss At UW-River Falls Posted on September 9th, 2017 by


RIVER FALLS, Wis. – The Gustavus football team was defeated 20-12 at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Saturday evening, as the Gusties wrapped up their non-conference action with a 1-1 overall record.

After a strong offensive output in the season opener a week ago, the Gustie offensive attack was hindered, as a ground-heavy Falcon offense put up 166 rush yards and limited Gustavus to just 29. Despite recording the most passing yards in a game since 2015 with 334, the Gusties were only able to come away with one touchdown and two field goals.

UW-River Falls relied on its rushing attack as they claimed a 14-3 lead in the first half. The Falcons led the Gusties with in rushing yards, 67-26, and ate up the clock, converting five of nine third down attempts. On their first opportunity of the game, UWRF used a 10-play, five minute drive. Michael Gibbons scored a 23-yard rushing touchdown to give UW-River Falls the first lead of the game with 7:18 remaining, where the score stood after the first quarter.

Brendan Boche (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) was successful on a 32-yard field goal attempt that was the Gusties only score of the first half, as Gustavus trailed UW-River Falls 7-3 with 14:56 remaining in the second quarter. The Gusties and Falcons each traded a few possessions prior to UW-River Falls tacking on another touchdown, late in the first half. With just 57 seconds left in the half, Tim McCarthy hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the home team a 14-3 lead heading into the intermission.

Boche opened the scoring in the second half, making it a one-score game and cutting the UW-River Falls lead to eight with his second field goal of the game, a 38-yard field goal to complete a 15 play, 70-yard drive at the 6:19 minute mark of the third quarter.

The Gustie field goal was answered by the Falcons, keeping the ground-game steady with another rushing touchdown from Diggins to take a 20-6 lead near the end of the third quarter.

In the back-end of the fourth quarter, the Gustavus defense led an effort to make a late push. With 9:16 left, the Gusties forced the first turnover of the game as the Black and Gold forced a UWRF fumble. However, Gustavus was unable to convert the turnover into points. In the next defensive drive, Matt Berkner (Jr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) recorded his first career interception and brought it back 37 yards as the Gusties had 4:20 remaining for a comeback. On the ensuing drive, the Gusties scored their sole touchdown of the game as Michael Veldman (Jr., Becker, Minn.) chucked a hail mary-like career-long 42-yard pass to Josh Kirk (So., Garvin, Minn.), who brought in a great catch for his second score of the season. It wasn’t enough, as UWRF ran down the clock to secure the 20-12 victory.

Berkner, Casey Decker (Sr., Mapleton, Minn.), and Dutch Claybaugh (Jr., Kaneohe, Hawaii) combined to lead the defensive effort, tallying eight tackles each.

Veldman completed 29 passes on 47 attempts, totaling a career-best 334 passing yards. Kirk led the receiving core with the sole touchdown and a career-high six receptions for 114 yards. Hunter Johnson (Sr., Cannon Falls, Minn.) also brought in a career-high 11 receptions for 84 yards.

Gustavus heads into Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play next Saturday, heading to Minneapolis, Minn. to take on Augsburg College.


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