Football Wraps Up Season at St. Olaf Saturday

Posted on November 9th, 2018 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team is set for its season finale at 1 p.m. Saturday as its travels to St. Olaf for a MIAC bout. The Gusties enter the game 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the MIAC, while the Oles are 5-4 overall and 3-4 in the league.




Saturday’s game marks the 65th all-time meeting between Gustavus and St. Olaf on the gridiron with the Gusties leading the series 39-25. Gustavus has won the past five meetings with the last loss coming in the 2012 season. Last season the Gusties defeated the Oles 41-13 at Hollingsworth Field. The rushing game guided the Gusties to victory as they ran 41 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns, led by a 200-yard performance from Karim Ortiz.


Gustavus is hoping to end the 2018 season on a high note after nearly knocking off No. 7 St. Thomas on Senior Day last week. A fourth quarter comeback propelled the Tommies 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. 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.

With one game left to play this season, the Gusties average 28.2 points and 348.1 yards of total offense per game – both fourth best in the MIAC. They’ve moved the chains on 55-of-121 third down attempts, leading the MIAC with a 45 percent third down conversion rate. On the defensive side of the ball, Gustavus has caused 18 fumbles and totaled 733 tackles – most in the MIAC.

The return game continues to be a strength with the Black and Gold averaging 12.8 yards per punt return and 20.8 yards per kick return – second and third in the league, respectively. Gustavus has proven itself to be disciplined as the least penalized team in the MIAC with an average of just 4.6 penalties per game.

First-year David Peal (Worcester, Mass.) leads the rushing attack with 92 carries for 388 yards and eight touchdowns (3rd/MIAC). Michael Veldman (Sr., Becker, Minn.) has completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 2248 yards (1st/MIAC), 16 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) continues to be the top target, averaging 92.2 receiving yards per game (2nd/MIAC) and 19.8 yards per catch (2nd/MIAC). Inside linebackers Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.) and Jake Boykin (Jr., Las Cruces, N.M.) lead the defense with 72 and 54 tackles, respectively. Berkner’s 8.0 tackles per game rank fifth in the MIAC.


After starting the season 5-0 and cracking the top-25 polls, St. Olaf has since lost its last four games, most recently losing 21-10 to Concordia. The Oles led 10-7 early in third quarter before the Cobbers answered with a 95-yard kickoff return touchdown to take the lead for good.

St. Olaf averages 23.8 points and 318.4 total yards of offense per game. The Oles like to make downfield passes, averaging 14.1 yards per completions, which ranks second in the MIAC. They convert on 32 percent of third downs and keep penalties to a minimum with 71 total on the season.

Ri. Johnson III leads the rushing attack with 537 yards on 118 carries and five touchdowns. Khayleb Willis is second with 509 yards on 122 carries and six touchdowns. Johnson III has completed 48.8 percent of his passes for 1485 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Gabe Alada leads the receiving corps with 30 catches for 638 yards and eight touchdowns. Luke Dahl and Shiloh Goodwin are the top defenders with 68 and 63 tackles, respectively.


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