Second Half Comeback Falls Short, Football Loses 30-27 to Bethel

Posted on October 1st, 2022 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. – Trailing 24-6 at halftime Saturday, the Gustavus football team fought back to make it a three-point difference with five minutes left in the game but the final drive for the Gusties in the last two minutes did not gain ground and the No. 12-ranked Bethel Royals walked away with a 30-27 victory. The Gusties drop to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, while the Royals improve to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the league.

“When things weren’t going well we stuck to our process and then we got some things going and had Bethel on their heels a little bit in the second half,” Head Coach Peter Haugen said. “There were some opportunities out there to make plays and win the game. We were close but to get to that point, defensively we were playing well in the second half to give our offense an opportunity. I’m proud of our guys and that’s a good football team we played.”

The first half was controlled by Bethel as it jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Royals started the game with a 32-yard field goal on their first drive and ended their second possession with a 16-yard touchdown reception. Bethel scored another touchdown on its third drive of the game for the 17-point lead with 10:45 left in the first half.

On the ensuing possession the Gusties broke the shutout as George Sandven (So., Edina) found Ethan Sindelir (Sr., Wells) open on a flea-flicker for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed. The Gustie defense forced a turnover on downs but the offense followed with a three-and-out. Bethel then went 71 yards in six plays, capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass, and took a 24-6 lead into the locker room at half.

Gustavus’s second drive of the third quarter went 93 yards in just four plays, highlighted by a 48-yard completion to Matthew Carreron (Sr., Houston, Texas) on third-and-10, followed by a 45-yard touchdown pass to Rohee Konde (Jr., Hopkins). Dalton Thelen (Sr., Cold Spring) found the endzone for the two-point conversion and the Gusties cut the Bethel lead to 24-14 with 10:53 left in the third.

A failed onside kick attempt gave the Royals a short field and they took advantage with a 28-yard field goal. The Gusties struck back on the next drive, going 70 yards in 10 plays. Jake Breitbach (Jr., Golden Valley) hauled in a 21-yard reception at midfield on a third down to keep the drive alive and Tanner Rennie (Fy., Cape Coral, Fla.) followed with a 29-yard scamper down the middle of the field, setting up the Gusties on the one-yard line. On the next play, Rennie found the endzone, but the extra point was no good and the Gusties trailed 27-20 with 5:16 left in the third.

Bethel once again found itself with a short field, this time after a 35-yard kickoff return down to the Gustie 45-yard line. The Royals converted two third down attempts but the Gustie defense put a stop to the drive at their own 10-yard line, resulting in a 27-yard field goal at the end of the third.

On it’s second drive of the fourth quarter, Gustavus took a sack on the first play but responded with a 32-yard completion to Breitbach and then a 48-yard touchdown to Carreon, making the score 30-27 after the extra point. The Gustie defense forced the Royals to punt on the ensuing possession, getting the ball back at their own 34 with 2:19 left in the game, but four incomplete passes put an end to the drive and effectively, the game.

Trailing for the entire game, Gustavus was forced to be mainly one-dimensional with the passing game, accumulating 401 yards through the air by Sandven. Sandven completed 24-of-43 passes with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Sandven’s performance was the second 400-yard passing game this season after Daniel Rennie surpassed that mark against UW-Stout, and ranks eighth in program history for single game passing yards.

Thelen was targeted 17 times and caught a team-hight nine receptions for 95 yards. He added 65 kick return yards for 170 all-purpose. Carreon made six catches for 129 yards and a score. Breitbach added four grabs for 95 yards.

Tanner Rennie led a pedestrian rushing attack with 30 yards on two carries and a score. The Gustie ground game was limited to 21 net yards. The defense was led by Carson DeKam (Jr., Owatonna), who made 18 tackles and a quarterback hurry. Zach Jakes (Sr., North Mankato) added nine stops with two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.

Gustavus hosts St. Scholastica next Saturday afternoon for Homecoming.


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