Football Suffers Heartbreaking 28-25 Loss in Home Opener

Posted on September 17th, 2022 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus football team dropped its home opener in heartbreaking fashion Saturday as UW-Stout scored the go-ahead touchdown with 15 seconds left in the game and held on for a 28-25 decision. The Gusties drop to 1-1 overall while the Blue Devils improve to 1-1.

In just his second career game under center, Daniel Rennie (Fy., Cape Coral, Fla.) tallied the second most passing yards in program history, completing 28-of-34 for 467 yards and three touchdowns. Rennie also had a rushing touchdown and was picked off twice. Jake Breitbach (Jr., Golden Valley) and Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) played major roles in the high flying passing game as Breitbach caught eight passes for 197 yards, highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown, and Thelen hauled in seven catches for 167 yards, highlighted by a 76-yard score. Breitbach was stellar in the open field, accumulating 125 yards after the catch. The receiving duo also handled return duties as Breitbach added 19 kick return yards for 216 all-purpose and Thelen posted 41 kick return yards for 208 all-purpose.

Gustavus started the game strong with a six-play, 79-yard scoring drive on its first possession. Rennie found Ethan Sindelir (Sr., Wells) for a 20-yard touchdown completion, but the extra point was no good. Two possessions later, an Ezekiel Sundberg (Sr., Lakewood, Colo.) interception led to a record-tying 99-yard scoring drive. Sundberg’s pick was taken out of bounds at the Gustie one-yard line, but the offense quickly made room on a 12-yard rush by David Peal (Sr., Worcester, Mass.). Three plays later, Rennie found Breitbach open for an 80-yard touchdown connection. The two-point conversion failed and the Gusties led 12-0 with 4:45 left in the first quarter.

The Blue Devils answered on the ensuing possession with a four-play, 57-yard scoring drive, capped with a 25-yard touchdown pass. On the second drive of the second quarter, the Gusties went ahead 19-6 as Rennie tossed a strike to Thelen down the middle in stride for a 76-yard touchdown. UW-Stout cut the deficit to end the first half with another scoring drive, reaching the endzone on a 17-yard touchdown pass with just four seconds on the clock. The Gusties held a 19-13 lead at the break.

On their second drive of the third quarter, the Gusties went up 25-13 with a nine-play, 76-yard drive, capped by a six-yard rush by Rennie. The PAT was no good once again and the lead sat at 12 points. Late in the third quarter, UW-Stout turned an interception into points as it went 87 yards in just four plays, highlighted by a 63-yard touchdown pass to make the score 25-20 with 2:48 left in the frame.

The defenses for both teams stood tall in the fourth quarter, forcing punts and turnovers on downs, but on the last Blue Devil drive of the game, the visitors went for it on fourth-and-two, and completed a 62-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to take their first lead of the game. The two-point conversion was successful and the Blue Devils led 28-25 with just 15 seconds left in regulation. The Gusties were able to move up to the Stout 39-yard line after a couple plays, but a last-second Hail Mary was intercepted at the goal line and the Blue Devils walked off with the improbable victory.

“You have to give Stout a lot of credit,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “They hung in the game and we didn’t make plays down the stretch when we needed to. And early in the game not being sharp in areas hurt us in terms of getting a few extra points.”

The Gusties outgained the Blue Devils 530-410 in total yards, but were limited to just 63 yards on the ground. The Gusties also owned the possession battle 36:47-23:13.

Carson DeKam (Jr., Owatonna) led the defense with eight tackles, including 2.5 TFLs and a pass breakup. Zach Jakes (Sr., North Mankato) added six tackles, two TFLs, and a quarterback hurry.

Gustavus opens MIAC play next Saturday afternoon at Concordia.


One Comment

  1. Rod and Jean DeKam-Pipestone MN says:

    We had a lot of fun watching our grandson Carson DeKam play football today! Your facilities were great for a handicapped grandpa. We wish the team a great season!