Football Travels to St. Thomas for Key MIAC Matchup

Posted on November 8th, 2019 by

(Photo courtesy of David Faulkner, SPX Sports.)

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team will travel to St. Thomas Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest as they look to extend their winning streak to five. Both team’s enter the contest 6-2 overall while the Gusties are 4-2 in the MIAC and the Tommies are 5-1.

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Gustavus Game Notes

The Series: Saturday’s game marks the 89th all-time meeting between the Gustavus and St. Thomas football programs with the Tommies leading the series 50-36-2. Last season in Saint Peter, the Gusties were able to put up touchdowns in the first and second quarter, with a missed extra point bringing the score to 13-0 at the half. The Gustie defense held the shutout until the fourth quarter, when St. Thomas scored twice, the second coming with 2:28 remaining to take a 14-13 lead. The Gusties were able to put together a drive late and get intto Tommie territory but an interception ended the threat and St. Thomas took the victory. The last time the Gusties were victorious in the matchup was in 2007 when the Gusties took a 30-14 victory in St. Paul.

Scouting the Gusties: Gustavus is coming off its fourth straight win Saturday after they defeated Carlteton 55-28. The Gusties have one their past four game by a total margin of 114 points, averaging 54.5 points per game, and allowing 26.0.

The Gustavus offense has been one of the most consistent in the MIAC this season, as the Gusties average 45.4 points per contest and are the only conference team other than St. Thomas to have scored at least 21 points in every game this season. The 45.4 points per game currently ranks ninth in the NCAA Division III. The defense has stood the test of the strong offenses it has faced, allowing 336.3 yards per game, while giving up 27.8 points. 

Michael Veldman has continued his steady play from the shotgun, completing 165-of-238 passes this year for 2,554 yards and a MIAC-best and fourth most in the nation, 29 touchdowns. Veldman also has the fourth highest passing efficiency in Division III this year with a mark of 191.8, while his 212 points responsible for are the third most. Brice Panning and Josh Kirk continue to cut up opposing secondaries, as the duo have separated themselves from the rest of the conference receivers, as they’re the only two MIAC wideouts averaging more than 95 receiving yards per game. Panning has caught 54 passes this year for 875 yards and has the second most receiving touchdowns in the nation with 15, while Kirk has 48 receptions, a conference-best 971 yards, and eight touchdowns, which are the second most in the league. David Peal has been a force of late, rushing for 316 yards the past two games, and the team’s leading rusher has carried the ball 100 times for 547 yards and 11 touchdowns thus far on the season.

Jake Boykin and Zach Jakes lead the Gustavus defense with 47 and 43 tackles, respectively, with Jakes posting a team-best 6.5 tackles for loss. Austin Fest has been solid in the secondary posting 40 tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery, while Kaleb Scott has also recorded two interceptions and seven pass break ups to lead the team.

Scouting the Tommies: St. Thomas is most recently coming off a 56-7 win over St. Olaf on Saturday. The Tommies have taken care of both Northfield teams the past two weeks, previously defeated Carleton 63-15 the week prior. 

Through eight games, St. Thomas averages 50.6 points per game, which is the fourth most in the nation, while their 552.4 yards per game is second. The Tommie defense has also been stout this year, giving up just 13.0 points, and 230.3 yards, marks which rank second and first in the conference, respectively.

Through eight games, Josh Park has been the cog that makes the Tommie offense go this season, as the senior has 117 carries for 897 yards and a 14 touchdowns. Parks currently averages 7.7 yards per rush, which is the fifth most in the NCAA. Tommy Dolan has been solid under center, completing 110-of-186 passes for 1,682 yards and 16 touchdowns. Gabe Green has been the teams top target this year, with 37 catches for 634 and five touchdowns.

Defensively is where the Tommies tend to make their mark. They’re led by linebacker Alex Taylor, who has 42 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Parker Hlavaceck has been a force in opposing backfield, with 13 of his 30 tackles being for a loss, and he has also recorded five sacks. Ben Stanley leads the Tommie secondary, making 26 tackles and posting five pass break ups.


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