Football Nearly Knocks Off No. 7 St. Thomas, Falters Late in 14-13 Loss

Posted on November 3rd, 2018 by

In his first game of the season, Jamison Beulke catches a pass and runs in for a touchdown against St. Thomas. (photo courtesy of David Faulkner, SPX Sports)

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SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team nearly knocked off No. 7 St. Thomas on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field, but a fourth quarter comeback propelled the visitors to a 14-13 nail-biting win. The Gusties held St. Thomas scoreless through three quarters, which hasn’t been done since its 2011 NCAA semifinal loss to UW-Whitewater.

Gustavus drops to 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the MIAC, while the Tommies improve to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the league.

The Gusties outgained the Tommies 355-279 in total yards of offense, but three interceptions kept the home squad from putting more points on the board.

“We were so good defensively today and really hung in there,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “And offensively, there was no question what the game plan was… try to spread them out and throw the ball. We made some huge catches. The offensive line battled all day long with blitzes and pressure basically every play.

“I’m just so proud of our effort. I wanted to win for our seniors more than anything because they’ve given everything to this program. Just sick to our stomach that we weren’t able to finish.”

The Gustie defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game and the offense continued to momentum with a five-play, 41-yard scoring drive all on the connection of quarterback Micheal Veldman (Sr., Becker, Minn.) to receiver Jamison Beulke (Sr., Montgomery, Minn.). Beulke, in his first game of the season, caught passes of 13, 10, and 18 yards on the drive, the last coming on a swing pass out of the backfield and spinning around a defender into the endzone.

Gustavus’s defense continued to impress against the second-best scoring offense in the nation, stopping Tommie drives on five punts, one on downs, and another on an interception by Jordan Kahlow (Sr., Le Sueur, Minn.).

The Black and Gold took a 13-0 lead with 3:40 left in the first half after a seven-play, 80-yard drive, highlighted by four first down passes of at least 12 yards. Ellis Hirman (Sr., Zumbrota, Minn.) finished the drive with a diving catch in the endzone on an 18-yard strike from Veldman.

St. Thomas first threatened to score late in the third quarter with a fresh set of downs from the Gustie 10-yard line. The Gustie defense stepped up once again with two rushing stops and forced two incomplete passes for a turnover on downs.

The Tommies finally broke the shutout on their first drive of the fourth quarter after nine plays and 53 yards. The game-winning drive featured 17 plays, went 87 yards, and lasted 6:39, ending on a 25-yard fourth down touchdown pass with 2:28 remaining in the game.

On the ensuing possession, Gustavus was driving into Tommie territory, but an interception at the 28-yard line essentially ended the game as the visitors were able to run out the clock.

Veldman completed 27-of-48 passes for 382 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Beulke was the top target with 11 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) caught six passes for 158 yards.

Jake Boykin (Jr., Las Cruses, N.M.) and Avery Bachman (Jr., Saint Peter, Minn.) led the defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.

Gustavus wraps up the 2018 season next Saturday at St. Olaf. The Oles (5-4) lost to Concordia 21-10 today.

 

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