The Gustavus football team used a 30-point first half to propel themselves past Hamline by the final score of 37-0 on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul. Quarterback Logan Becker scored three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, while running back Jeffrey Dubose added two more touchdowns on the ground.
The Gustie defense turned in its best performance of the season, allowing a total of 165 yards (94 rush, 71 pass) and forcing two turnovers.
"I'm happy for our players. Any win is a big win and I'm really excited for our guys," said Head Coach Peter Hagen.
The Gustavus coaching staff talked about getting off to a fast start throughout the week. After a turnover and a punt on Gustavus' first two possessions, that fast start didn't arrive as quickly as Coach Haugen would have liked.
"Getting out to a fast start was our biggest point of emphasis during the week," said Haugen. "We talked about a fast start before the game, but I wasn't sure we were going to do that after the third snap. After we got that out of the way we started to settle in."
The Gusties first graced the scoreboard at the 6:04 mark of the first quarter when Jeffrey Dubose turned a short flat route into a 47-yard touchdown reception to put the Gusties up 7-0 after Tom Huepenbecker's extra point.
The touchdown catch was one of three big-play scores for Dubose on the day. The sophomore St. Paul native joined the Gustavus 2,000-career yard rushing club with a total of 148 yards on 21 carries (7.0 ypr). Dubose scored a 19-yard touchdown at 8:58 to put Gustavus up 20-0, then later added a 43-yard touchdown two minutes later to extend the lead to 27-0.
"Huge day for Dubose," commented Haugen on the game of his sophomore pistol back. "He ran really well, but more than that, he did an outstanding job blocking in the passing game and catching the ball out of the backfield."
Logan Becker had his best overall performance of the season, going 10-for-16 for 139 yards through the air and running 11 times for 81 yards on the ground.
"Our offensive concepts are giving him opportunities to make plays with his feet. He was efficient through the air and did a great job managing our passing game," Haugen said of Becker.
The other of Becker's two touchdown passes came on Gustavus' second score of the game. The senior signal caller found Elliott Herdina on a skinny post for a 27-yard strike.
On Sept. 25, 2010, a then junior Elliott Herdina suffered an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2010 season. On that day, he vowed to not cut his hair until he got back in the end zone. It took over 255:00 minutes of the 2011 season, but Herdina got his touchdown. The senior captain will now have to decide whether to donate his flow to Locks of Love early, or whether to heed the lesson of Sampson and keep the curls for the remainder of year. Herdina finished the game with 45 yards on three catches.
"He was really excited, you could see it was a relief," said Haugen about Herdina's demeanor. "Logan made a nice pass on a nicely executed route by Elliott."
The Gustavus defense was led by senior safety Mitch Kleinschrodt who had a team-high seven tackles. Defensive tackle Donte Green was next in line with six tackles, while defensive end Dane Mellgren made a game-high two and a half tackles for loss.
"With the injury to Alec last weekend, we needed guys to step up and they did that," stated Haugen. "Mitch came up to make some nice tackles and Donte along with Tom Einberger did a nice job clogging up the middle."
Gustavus' most important stat-line of the game was the one labeled "sacks." The Gusties made three stacks for a loss of 21 yards in the game after going the first four games without one. Mellgren, Joe Haas, and Lucas Kleinschrodt all had a sack, while Jason Cook recorded the game's only interception.
The Gustavus football team improves to 1-4 overall and 1-4 in the MIAC with the victory, as Hamline falls to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the MIAC.
"The biggest thing is confidence," replied Haugen when asked what he wants to take from this game the most. "Its fun to see smiles on the guys' faces. Its been a tough few weeks and to see them execute and have fun is great. We want to build on the confidence gained today and continue to grow from here on out."
The Gusties will be back on the field when they play host to Bethel on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Hollingsworth Field.