Football Hosts St. Olaf in Final Home Game Saturday

Posted on November 5th, 2021 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team hosts St. Olaf at 1 p.m. Saturday in the final home game of the season at Hollingsworth Field. The Gusties enter the contest 6-2 overall, 4-2 in the MIAC, and 2-1 in the Northwoods Division, while the Oles are 4-4 overall, 3-3 in the league, and 2-1 in the division.

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The Series

Saturday afternoon’s game marks the 67th all-time meeting between the Gustavus and St. Olaf football programs with the Gusties leading the series 41-25. Gustavus has won the last seven meetings, most recently defeating the Oles 49-7 on Nov. 16, 2019 at Hollingsworth Field. The Gusties jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter before the Oles ended the shutout late in the third.

Scouting the Gusties

With just one game remaining to determine seeding for MIAC Championship Week next Saturday, Gustavus is looking to secure the Northwoods Division No. 2 seed with a win today. The Gusties improved to 4-2 in the MIAC and 2-1 in the division last Saturday with a 24-9 victory at Carleton. The Gusties jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first half and held the Knights to a season-low 261 total yards of offense.

Through eight games this season, the Gusties have one of the top offenses in the league, averaging 36.0 points and 456.6 total yards per game. The offensive attack is equally balanced between the ground and aerial games with 227.4 rushing and 229.2 passing yards per game.

Brett Hufendick (Sr., Edina) made his first career start at quarterback last week at Carleton and completed 18-of-24 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) continues to be the top threat in the passing game with 41 catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns. He’s also a threat in the running and return game with 26 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown, along with nine kick returns for 220 yards, including an 89-yard return touchdown. Thelen averages 137.9 all-purpose yards per game. Rohee Konde (So., Hopkins) and David Peal (Sr., Worcester) lead a strong rushing attack. Konde has 74 carries for 553 yards and six touchdowns, while Peal has 103 carries for 461 yards and seven scores.

The defense allows 25.6 points and 338.2 total yards per game. Austin Fest (Sr., West Des Moines, Iowa) continues to lead the defense from the secondary with 49 tackles (34 solo), one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. Carson Dekam (So., Owatonna) is the top linebacker with 48 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and an interception. Zach Jakes (Sr., North Mankato) leads the defensive line with 40 tackles, 3.0 sacks, and three quarterback hurries.

Scouting the Oles

St. Olaf enters today’s game after suffering a 35-14 loss to No. 14 Bethel last Saturday. Bethel scored the game’s first 28 points before the Oles scored their first of two touchdowns late in the third quarter.

Through eight games, the Oles are averaging 24.0 points and 349.5 total yards per game. The passing game averages 209.0 yards and the rushing attack is at 140.5 yards per game.

Theo Doran is set to start under center having completed 25-of-75 passes for 557 yards, five touchdowns, and five interceptions. Gabe Alada is the top receiver with 21 catches for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Isaac Coutier has 26 catches for 361 yards and three scores, while Payton Schott has 21 receptions for 330 yards. Jordan Embry is the feature running back with 165 carries for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. Embry’s 101.0 yards per game are most in the MIAC. Christian Graske has also seen time in the backfield with 42 carries for 262 yards and a touchdown.

The Ole defense is allowing 31.8 points and 397.8 yards per game. Brandon Foster is the leading tackler with 69 stops, including 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and four quarterback hurries. Ben Hestorff has 55 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, and one interception. Luke Stange has 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

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Senior Sendoff: As is tradition during the final home game of the season, 35 seniors will be honored as part of Senior Day at Hollingsworth Field this afternoon. The Gustavus Adolphus College Department of Athletics would like to send a sincere thank you to this group of young men for their leadership both on and off the field the past four years. The seniors honored prior to kickoff include Matthew Kipper (Bloomington), Kaleb Scott (Los Angeles, Calif.), David Peal (Worcester, Mass.), Kevin Durham (Gaylord), Michael Veldman (Becker), Nicolas Negron (Dallas, Texas), Ethan Sindelir (Wells), Brett Hufendick (Edina), Nathan Schroepfer (Sleepy Eye), Zachary Forbrook (Mankato), Andrew Bradley (Miami, Fla.), Chase Androff (Richfield), Zach Jakes (North Mankato), Brady Essig (Dodge Center), Carter Kopet (Cleveland), Anthony Massman (Sauk Rapids), Graham Nistler (St. Cloud), Dalton Thelen (Cold Spring), Max Kahn (Orono), Jimmy Heinzen (Elk River), Ezekiel Sundberg (Lakewood, Colo.), Austin Fest (West Des Moines, Iowa), Luke Oleson (South St. Paul), Jake Hintermeister (Garfield), Hunter O’Bert (Eden Prairie), Sam Jones (Jacksonville, Fla.), Colton Aydt (Champlin), Logan Holley (Fort Worth, Texas), Gunnar Johnson (St. Cloud), Tommy Bigaouette (North Mankato), Joe Fortwengler (New Ulm), Mitchell Borchardt (Le Sueur), Spencer Kuhn (Ricefield, Iowa), Jesper Salverda (Inver Grove Heights), and Jackson Sud (Andover).

And, It’s Good: Kicker Andrew Abegglen connected for a 30-yard field goal late in the first quarter last week at Carleton, marking his ninth field goal made this season. Abegglen’s nine made field goals are most in the MIAC and tied for ninth in NCAA Division III, just three behind the national leader. Abegglen’s 9-of-12 field goals made are also the most since Thomas Schleusner went 9-of-15 in the 2013 season. John Ostertag made 10-of-11 field goals in 2007, Christian White went 10-of-16 in 1999, and Ryan Boutwell holds the single season record of 13-for-18 in 1997. Boutwell, the only kicker in the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame, also went 12-of-19 in 1996.

Ball Hogs: Gustavus is averaging 34:40 time of possession this season, which ranks first in the MIAC and sixth in Division III. The Gusties have held the advantage in time of possession in six of their eight games this season, highlighted by margins of +22:10 at St. Scholastica on Oct. 9, +19:48 against Concordia on Sept. 25, and +12:52 last week at Carleton.

Still A Top Offense: Despite being held to a season-low 203 total yards two weeks ago against No. 5 Saint John’s, the Gustie offense still ranks among the top offenses in Division III. The Gusties are averaging 456.6 total yards per game, which ranks second in the MIAC and 24th in the country. They also average 227.4 rushing yards, which ranks first in the league and 26th in the nation.

Lucky No. 7: Gustavus is going for its seventh overall victory Saturday, which would give it a record of 7-2 with one game to play. The Gusties have reached the seven-win mark twice in the past six years (7-3 in 2019 and 7-3 in 2015). Gustavus also posted final records of 7-3 in 1999 and 2001, but hasn’t had an eight-win season since going 8-2 in 1998 when it took second place in the conference. The Gusties’ winningest season came in 1987 when they won the MIAC championship (9-0) and went 10-1 overall, losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Tackle Cancer: Saturday’s game is designated as a Tackle Cancer Game, which aims to raise money to support the Minnesota cancer community through the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund. Donations can be made through the Venmo app with payments made to the username @Gusties-TACKLECANCER.

 

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