Football Falters Late, Drops Home Opener to UW-Stout in Overtime 24-23

Posted on September 8th, 2018 by

Tanner Sparrow makes a tackle against UW-Stout. (photo by Jake Noel, Gustavus Sports Information)


SAINT PETER, Minn. – Despite holding a 17-0 lead though 43 minutes of play Saturday, the Gustavus football team suffered a deflating 24-23 overtime loss to UW-Stout in the home opener. The Blue Devils scored the game-tying touchdown with eight seconds remaining in regulation, scored a touchdown on their first overtime possession, and blocked the would-be game-tying extra point to complete the improbable comeback.

UW-Stout outgained the Gusties 351-308 with 182 rushing yards. Gustavus totaled 210 yards through the air and 98 on the ground.

The first quarter proved to be a defensive battle with both Gustavus drives ending on punts, while two UW-Stout drives ended on missed field goals of 47 and 45 yards.

It wasn’t until the Gusties’ fifth possession that they found the endzone on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Michael Veldman (Sr., Becker, Minn.) to Brayton Finch (Jr., Mount Morris, Ill.) with 6:10 remaining in the first half. The Gusties took a 10-0 lead on their next drive as Sawyer Johnson’s (Jr., Mounds View, Minn.) 32-yard field goal went through the uprights.

Gustavus’s defense held UW-Stout scoreless on all six of its first half drives, which included 30 plays.

The home team gained a 17-0 advantage on its first drive of the second half as David Peal (Fy., Worcester, Mass.) capped an eight-play, 45-yard series with a five-yard touchdown run. The bend-but-don’t break Gustie defense finally gave up a field goal with 1:54 left in the third quarter.

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils found the endzone for the first time on a 15-yard pass to make the score 17-10. Each team ended their next drives on punts before the Gusties drove 58 yards in nine plays and were threatening to score, but the momentum quickly turned as the visitors intercepted a pass at their own 32-yard line. The Blue Devils proceeded to go 64 yards in 17 plays, capped by a four-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds on the clock, forcing overtime.

UW-Stout started overtime with a touchdown after five plays. The Gusties immediately answered with a 25-yard touchdown strike from Veldman to Ellis Hirman (Sr., Zumbrota, Minn.), but the extra point was blocked to end the game.

Veldman completed 20-of-41 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Finch was the top target with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. The junior tight end also rushed a team-high 16 times for 75 yards. Josh Kirk (Jr., Garvin, Minn.) posted 128 all-purpose yards, highlighted by 111 kick return yards. Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) led the defense for the second straight game, totaling 12 tackles.

Gustavus hosts Saint John’s in the MIAC opener next Saturday at 1 p.m.


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