The Gustavus football team suffered a heartbreaking 17-14 loss at the hands on Augsburg on Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis. After scoring the go-ahead touchdown at the 12:55 mark of the fourth quarter, the Auggies kept the Gusties out of the end zone for the remainder of the game. With the loss, Gustavus falls to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the MIAC, while Augsburg improves to 4-5 overall, and 2-5 in the MIAC.
"The loss is disappointing," said Head Coach Peter Haugen. "Give Augsburg credit. They played tough and battled through a lot of adversity; yet still found a way to come out on top."
The Gustavus defense had Augsburg's number to start the game, forcing the Auggies to punt on their first four possessions. Within that time, Gustavus got on the board with a touchdown at the 14:08 mark of the second quarter. Quarterback Logan Becker broke free for a 26-yard touchdown run to give Gustavus a 7-0 lead. The Gusties did an outstanding job pinning the Auggies deep in the first half. Cody Sukalski registered three punts for a total of 134 yards (44.7 avg.) in the half.
Augsburg cut the lead at the 4:48 mark of the second quarter when Muneer Al-Hameed spun off a tackler and bolted down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown scamper. Dan Optiz blocked the extra point attempt to keep the Gusties in front 7-6. Al-Hameed would lead all rushers in the game with 138 yards on 20 carries.
After punts by both squads to start the second half, the two teams traded scores on three consecutive series. Jack Christopherson put Augsburg up 9-7 with a booming 41-yard field goal at the 6:52 mark. The Gusties answered with a Logan Becker touchdown on a 10-yard run at the 1:53 mark, giving Gustavus a 14-9 lead. Becker's touchdown capped a 10 play 62-yard drive. The Auggies took the lead back 17-14 at the 12:38 mark of the fourth quarter on 19-yard touchdown pass from Al-Hameed to Phil Putratz. Putratz (2) and Josh Pronschinske (2) combined to make Augsburg's only four catches of the afternoon.
The Augsburg defense picked off a pass and forced a punt before stopping Gustavus short on fourth down in their final possession to close the game. The Gusties recorded 167 yards rushing and 137 yards passing for a total of 304 yards in the game. The Gustavus defense held Augsburg to just 66 yards passing. The Auggies ran for 182 yards for a total of 248 yards on the afternoon.
Gustavus was 3-for-14 on third down and 1-for-3 in red-zone scoring chances. Augsburg scored on both of its red-zone scoring chances while going 3-for-11 on third down.
"We simply didn't convert in big situations. We have to be able to take advantage of those chances and today it was the difference," said Haugen. "I'm proud our effort though. The guys fought hard from start to finish, no doubt."
Paul Stommes led the way on defense, recording a season-high 12 tackles and one forced fumble. Jason Cook picked off his second pass of the season at the end of the first half, and Zach Lundquist made Gustavus's only sack of the afternoon.
"Our defense was very good today. Three big plays hurt but it was a great performance," commented Haugen.
Becker was Gustavus's leading rusher with 88 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. He was 15-for-23 for 137 yards and two interceptions through the air. Jeffrey Dubose carried 18 times for 74 yards. Six Gustie receivers recorded a catch, as Dubose led the way with 29 yards on five receptions. Greg Lane had two grabs for 26 yards and Darin Wagner had one catch for 26 yards.
The Gustavus football team will take on Carleton in the season finale next Saturday, Nov. 13, at home on Hollingsworth Field. Kick off is set for 1:00 p.m.