Football Falls to No. 4 Saint John’s 33-21

Posted on September 21st, 2019 by


COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Gustavus football team traveled to No. 4 Saint John’s on Saturday and fell by a score of 33-21. With the loss the Gusties fall to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the MIAC while the Johnnies move to 2-0 and 1-0 in the conference.

The game started with the Johnnies driving down the field with a nine-play, 41-yard drive that resulted in a 29-yard missed field goal. On the ensuing Gustie possession, Michael Veldman was intercepted for the first time this season and the Johnnies took over at the Gustavus 48-yard line. Saint John’s would capitalize and score on the next possession to take an early 7-0 lead.

The Gusties would respond though with a great drive of their own as they went on a 10 play, 79-yard drive capped off with a Michael Veldman (Sr., Becker, Minn.) 29-yard touchdown pass to Brice Panning (Sr., Hamburg, Minn.) to even things at seven.

The scoring didn’t stop there though, as the Johnnies quickly responded with a touchdown less than two minutes later thanks to a 26 yard completion followed by a 57 yard score to go back up 14-7.

Gustavus answered the call once again, as they went on a 12-play, 73 yard drive that saw Brayton Finch (Sr., Mount Morris, Ill.) catch his first touchdown of the season to even the score at 14 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Johnnies continued to prove the potency of their offense as they went on a methodical 12-play, 72 yard drive capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass to push their lead to 21-14 just before the half.

The Gusties were able to drive late before the half but Veldman’s pass from the SJU 21 with time expiring was intercepted and left the score at 21-14 going to the the half.

The second half turned into more of a defensive battle from both teams as the first three possessions of the half were three-and-outs. After their second consecutive defense stand the Johnnies had good field position and got all the way down to the Gustavus one-yard line and on fourth and goal from a yard out the Gusties stuffed the run attempt and notched a goal line stand.

The Gusties, from deep in their own territory would get some breathing room before punting, but the Johnnies quick-striking offense would return as they scored from the 50 yard line in just two plays. The extra point was blocked so the lead held at 27-14.

Gustavus felt the urgency to find the end zone again though, as they were able to put together a solid drive capped off by Panning’s second touchdown, this one 24-yards to pull the game to 27-21.

Saint John’s looked like it was about to answer as they put together a solid drive and had the ball in the red zone. The Johnnies had the ball on the 10 yard-line and and completed a pass and just before the Saint John’s player could reach the end zone Landon Rauen (Jr., Zumbrota) came in and forced a fumble that Austin Fest (Jr., West Des Moines, Iowa) recovered in the end zone for a touchback

The Gusties had their chance to even things up or take the lead on the ensuing drive but on third and eight the Johnnies recorded a strip sack and recovered the fumble on the 10-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage they were able to find a receiver coming across the middle of the field for the score and to take a 33-21 lead. The Gusties were able to stop the two-point conversion try to keep the lead at 12.

With 7:22 remaining the Gusties took over needing a score to keep the game in reach. They were able to put together a solid drive, getting the ball to the Saint John’s 30-yard line before the Johnnies got a stop as the Gusties tried a hook-and-ladder on fourth down and long to force a turnover on downs. The Johnnies then ran out the last 4:37 of game time with seven consecutive rushes and two kneel downs to put the game away.

The Johnnies out-gained the Gusties 459-355 in terms of total yardage in the contest. The Gustavus pass attack totaled 395 yards but the Black and Gold had -40 rush yards as Veldman was sacked seven times in the game for 53 yards.

Veldman was 33-of-48 for 395 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The receiving trio of Finch, Panning and Josh Kirk (Sr., Garvin) all caught at least eight passes in the contest with Panning leading the way with eight catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively  Jake Krull (Sr., Plymouth) led Gustavus with nine tackles while Fest had five to go along with a fumble recovery and two pass breakups.

The Gusties will return to Saint Peter next Saturday as they host Bethel for Homecoming at Hollingsworth Field starting at 1 p.m.


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