Gustavsu Football Uses Strong Ground Game To Push Past Hamline 37-0
St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus football team picked up its first MIAC victory of the season on Hall of Fame Day at Hollingsworth Field with a 37-0 victory over Hamline University on Saturday afternoon. With a 10-0 lead at halftime, Gustavus's ground game went work, scoring four rushing touchdowns in the second half and racking up a total of 283 yards in the game. Running back Jeffrey Dubose (Jr., St. Paul, Minn.) stole the show with four touchdowns and a season/game-high 131 yards on the ground.
Gustavus improves to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the MIAC with win, while Hamline drops to 1-3 overall and 0-3 in the MIAC.
"It was a nice win today," said Head Coach Peter Haugen. "This is a big win for our team. Coming off a pair of heartbreaking losses, you wonder how the team is going to respond. We talked all week about how we were going to respond to adversity and our guys did a nice job today."
After forcing Hamline to a three-and-out on the first drive of the game, Gustavus capped off a 22-yard drive with a 29-yard field goal by Tom Huepenbecker (Sr., Middleton, Wis.) to take a 3-0 lead with 10:53 left in the first quarter.
Huepenbecker's field goal would be the only points of the opening quarter, as the two teams combined for 77 yards of total offense.
At the start of the second quarter, Gustavus quarterback Muresuk Mena (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) connected with fellow senior Andre Creighton (St. Paul, Minn.) on a 32-yard jump ball to give Gustavus first down and goal from the Hamline two-yard-line. Jeffrey Dobose plunged into the end zone on next play for his first touchdown of the day, extending Gustavus's lead to 10-0 following the extra point with 12:04 left in the half.
Hamline would move the ball into Gustavus territory twice over the remaining minutes of the quarter but could not put points on the board, as the two squads went into the break with Gustavus on top 10-0.
"In the first half we weren't very efficient but we came out in the second half with a new fire and executed well," Said Haugen.
Despite losing a fumble on the opening drive of the third quarter, Gustavus responded with a forced fumble of its own on Hamline's next drive. Defensive end Zach Stackhouse (Sr., Houston, Minn.) forced the fumble at Gustavus's 40-yard-line and defensive tackle Donte Green (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.) recovered it at the 39 to swing the momentum back to Gustavus's sideline.
The Gustie offense used that momentum to grab a 17-0 lead (8:05) after Dubose ran untouched into the end zone from ten yards out behind a convoy of blockers on a sweep.
Gustavus's defense forced Hamline to fumble on its next two possessions. A Matt Keller (So., Eagan, Minn.) strip was recovered by Stackhouse with less than five minutes left in the quarter, and an Anthony Boyce (So., Excelsior, Minn.) forced fumble was recovered by Keller with less than two minutes on the clock.
Haguen stated, "Our defense did a wonderful job creating turnovers and putting our offense in a good position. Since the start of training camp that has been a focus of ours. Today we only had one turnover on offense and the defense was there to pick them up. That's great to see coming off last week."
Dubose wasted no time putting the Gusties on top 23-0 with :45 seconds on the clock. Dobose ran the ball on all three plays of the drive before capping it off with a 13-yard touchdown run.
Mena's offense was in rhythm at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring on its next two drives to bring the score to a final at 37-0. Dubose crossed the goal line from the one-yard-line for the first score, and Mena scampered in from 17-yards out for the afternoon's final touchdown.
Gustavus picked up a total of 283 yards on the ground and 119 yards through the air for a total of 402 yards in the game. It is the second time this season that Gustavus has eclipsed the 400-yard mark.
Mena and Dubose both went over 100 yards rushing for the second straight week. Mena ran for 116 yards on 15 attempts (7.7 ypc), while Dubose carried 25 times and averaged 5.2 yards per carry on the way to his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. Connecting with seven different receivers in the game, Mena went 7-for-16 for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception through the air.
With four touchdowns today, Dubose also became the first Gustavus player to rush for four or more touchdowns in a game since Andy Traetow ran for five touchdowns against Hamline in 2002.
"Our running game has been the strength of our offense – there is no doubt about that," commented Haugen. "With that said, we need to progress in the passing game. We had a few key plays in the passing today but we are going to still strive for balance across the board."
The Gustavus defense was responsible for a +4 rating in the turnover battle, forcing six fumbles and recovering five. Stackhouse recovered two fumbles, while Keller led the team with 12 tackles (three solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Hamline finished with 138 yards rushing and 97 yards passing for a total of 235 yards. It was the first time since last season against Carleton that Gustavus held the opposition to under 100 yards passing.
Running back Austin Duncan led the Pipers with 85 yards on the ground, while quarterback Zach Brautigam went 8-for-19 for 97 yards through the air.
The Gustavus football team will travel to St. Paul next Saturday for a showdown against first place St. Thomas next Saturday at 1:10 p.m.