Football Hosts UW-Stout in Home Opener Saturday

Posted on September 7th, 2018 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team welcomes UW-Stout to Hollingsworth Field at 1 p.m. Saturday for its home opener. The Gusties are 1-0 after a 32-20 comeback victory at Martin Luther last week, while the Blue Devils are 0-1 after a 27-0 loss at Saint John’s.



THE SERIES: Saturday’s game marks the sixth all-time meeting between the Gustavus and UW-Stout football programs with the Gusties holding a 4-1 advantage in the series. The last meeting between the Gusties and Blue Devils was Sept. 10, 1983 at Nelson Field in Menomonie, Wis., which was celebrated as Parents’ Night and the Hall of Fame game. Gustavus erased a 6-0 halftime deficit and scored with seven seconds remaining in the game to claim a 13-6 victory. Jim Alexander, who finished with 123 yards on 29 carries, ended the shutout in the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown run. The Gustie defense made a fourth down stop with 1:20 remaining in the game and proceeded to march 50 yards in six plays, capped by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Eric Lande to Marc Illes with just seven ticks left on the clock. The UW-Stout desperation last play fell incomplete and the Gusties secured the win.

GUSTAVUS IN HOME OPENERS: The Gusties have compiled an all-time record of 61-36-4 in home openers in the 101-year history of the program. Last season, Gustavus used a balanced offensive attack and steady defensive play to defeat Westminster College 38-0 in the home opener. Four different Gusties found their way into the endzone, led by a three-touchdown performance from quarterback Michael Veldman, twice connecting with receiver Brice Panning. Gustavus claimed an 11-6 win over Mankato Normal in its first ever home game in 1902. That game was played on what I snow the Nicollet County Fairgrounds on the north end of Saint Peter.

SCOUTING THE GUSTIES: It took some time for the Gustavus football team to find its footing Saturday in the season opener at Martin Luther College, but after trailing by two at halftime the Gusties made the necessary adjustments to outscore the Knights 14-0 in the final 30 minutes and came out on top 32-20.

Martin Luther established its rushing game with 223 yards on the ground, but the Gustie defense limited the Knights to 84 yards through the air. Conversely, the Gusties had more success in the passing game with 248 yards compared to 106 yards on the ground for a total of 354 yards.

Martin Luther had 48 offensive plays in the second half, but the Gustie defense did not allow a score during that stretch. The Knights saw some success on third down, converting 11-of-23 chances along with 3-of-7 fourth downs. Gustavus was 5-for-10 on third down.

Micheal Veldman (Sr., Becker, Minn.) finished the day completing 20-of-35 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns along with running one across the goal stripe. Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) was his top target with seven catches for 143 yards and a long of 43. Brayton Finch (Jr., Mount Morris, Ill.) had a productive day both on the ground and in the aerial attack with 13 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown along with four receptions for 43 yards and two scores. Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) led the defense with 11 tackles.

Two points of emphasis the Gusties look to improve on today are ball security and keeping the offense on the field. Last week at Martin Luther, the Gusties fumbled and lost the ball three times. The offense was also on the field for only 21:48.

SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS: UW-Stout is on the road for the second-straight game to start its 2018 campaign after suffering a 27-0 loss at Saint John’s last Saturday.

The Blue Devils simply couldn’t muster any offense against the Johnnies and were forced to punt on 8 of 12 drives. Two possessions ended on an interception, and one each on downs and a missed field goal. Saint John’s outgained UW-Stout 358-213. The Blue Devil ground game was limited to 29 yards on 27 carries.

Levy Hamer led the team with 117 all-purpose yards. He caught seven passes for 80 yards and returned two kickoffs for 45 yards, along with -8 rushing yards. Rayshawn Graham carried the ball 11 times for 28 yards. The Blue Devils used a two-quarterback approach as Jay Alston completed 9-of-17 passes for 76 yards and an interception, and Sean Borgerding went 8-for-16 for 108 yards and an interception. Jed Schlegel and Levi Wolf led the defense with 16 and 10 tackles, respectively. Schlegel also grabbed an interception.

This season’s UW-Stout squad features a lot of new faces as it graduated 24 seniors from last year’s team and has needed to replace nine defensive starters.


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