Turnovers Plague Football in 34-9 Loss at No. 16 Bethel Posted on October 2nd, 2021 by

Isaiah Chambers goes up to defend a pass against Bethel. (photo courtesy of Carl Schmuland)


ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – The Gustavus football team Saturday committed five turnovers and was limited to one touchdown in a 34-9 loss at 16th-ranked Bethel. Suffering their first loss of the season, the Gusties drop to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, while the Royals improve to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the league.

With the Gusties trailing by just five points at the start of the third quarter, Carson Dekam (So., Owatonna) picked off a pass at the Bethel 46 and returned it all the way down to the four-yard line, but a pass interference call negated the interception. The Royals responded by scoring a touchdown five plays later, taking a 20-9 lead, which proved to be the turning point in the game.

Bethel added two more touchdowns in the third quarter and the fourth quarter went scoreless in the lopsided decision.

Total yardage was close between the teams with the Gusties accumulating 349 yards (139 rush, 210 pass) on 67 play and the Royals putting up 357 yards (169 rush, 188 pass) on 54 plays. The deciding factor was the Gusties turning the ball over five times compared to zero by the Royals.

Starting in place of an injured Michael Veldman (Sr., Becker) at quarterback was Jake Breitbach (So., Golden Valley) who completed 15-of-28 passes for 210 yards, a touchdown, and four interceptions. Matthew Kipper (So., Bloomington) was the leading receiver with seven catches for 113 yards and the lone Gustie touchdown. Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) added six catches for 68 yards and seven carries for 26 yards. David Peal (Sr., Worcester, Mass.) led the ground game, carrying the ball 16 times for 57 yards.

The first quarter was all Bethel as the home team picked off two passes while forcing a three-and-out, resulting in a quick 14-0 advantage. The Royals picked off the first pass of the game down to the Gustie 25-yard line and scored on a seven-yard rush five plays later. Bethel then forced a three-and-out on the next Gustie possession and ensued with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to claim a 14-0 lead with 4:33 left in the first quarter.

The Gusties found their balance in the second quarter, holding the Royals scoreless while scoring nine unanswered points. Breitbach capped a seven-play, 66-yard drive with a 16-yard slant pass to Kipper for a touchdown. The extra point went off the upright and the Gusties trailed 14-6 two minutes into the second quarter. The Gustie defense forced the Royals to punt on their next two drives, setting up the Gusties at their own seven-yard line with 3:26 remaining in the half. The visitors converted a couple of key third-down plays, highlighted by a 31-yard pass from Breitbach to Thelen. The drive stalled at the Bethel five-yard line with just three seconds on the clock and Andrew Abegglen (Jr., Mound) connected on a 23-yard field goal to make the score 14-9 at the half.

Zach Jakes (Sr., North Mankato) led the defense with 11 tackles, followed by Austin Fest (Sr., West Des Moines, Iowa) with 10 stops.

Gustavus continues MIAC play on the road next Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup at the College of St. Scholastica for the inaugural football game between the two institutions.


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