This past Saturday, the Gustie offense unleashed an air assault on the Carleton defense that proved to be far too much for the Knights to handle.
Senior quarterback Michael Veldman manned the helm for the Gustie offense and continued his stellar play, throwing for a whopping 417 passing yards and tossing three touchdowns.
The deep ball was the name of the game for Veldman as he completed 22-of-33 passes for a yards per attempt mark of 12.6, a figure higher than any NFL quarterback’s average this year.
The sticky-handed duo of Josh Kirk and Brice Panning served as Veldman’s top targets, as they combined for 14 receptions, 290 yards, and all three touchdowns. It was Panning’s first entrance into the endzone this season.
Head Coach Peter Haugen was impressed with Veldman’s distribution and the team’s catching abilities.
“The thing that impressed me most today was that we made some really big plays in key moments. We had some big catches on third down with our guys going up for the ball,” Haugen said.
Not to be outdone, the Gustavus running game also forged stoutly ahead for 138 yards and five touchdowns.
First-year running back David Peal continued his strong opening campaign, notching 11 carries for 90 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s starting to show more confidence and is getting more acclimated to what we’re doing and learning a ton of football this year. I’m just proud of his efforts,” Haugen said of the Massachusetts native.
Veldman tacked the other rushing touchdowns on with two short scampers in the first half, giving him five total touchdowns on the day.
His performance was enough to earn him MIAC Football Offensive Player of the Week honors, and probably made you wish you had him on your fantasy team.
On the other side of the ball the Gustie defense also got the job done, limiting the Knights to 14 points in each half. This performance led to the lopsided final score of 62-28.
Senior linebacker Matt Berkner led the defense with eight tackles and a sack, and Carleton was limited to just 48 rushing yards on the day.
Senior Brady Miller and First-year Landon Rauen were both able to infiltrate the passing lanes, landing an interception a piece.
As for the flow of the game, Gustavus actually trailed 6-7 after the first quarter, but rallied back with 28 points in the second half.
Carleton posed one last challenge late in the third quarter by scoring 14 unanswered points to make the score 41-28, but the Knights were thoroughly routed in the fourth by a strong 21-0 finish by the Gusties.
This was a welcome development for Gustavus, as we entered today’s matchup without a single point scored in the final frame yet this season.
Momentum is a critical component of any late-season push, and with four wins in a row Gustavus is one of the hottest teams in the MIAC.
After two poor showings earlier in the year against Bethel and Saint John’s, the Gustie offense has caught fire, averaging 43 points per game during their winning streak.
Fanning the flames of desire even more is this week’s opponent, as perennial MIAC powerhouse St. Thomas looms ahead.
Gustavus currently sits at fourth place in the conference, but a win against the Tommies would push us into playoff contention.
The game takes place Nov. 3 at 1:10 p.m. and is also Senior Day at Hollingsworth Field, which gives the team more motivation for a win with nine senior starters.
Senior Dutch Claybaugh noted the team’s goals and expectations leading into this big game on Saturday.
“[Our goal is to] play one speed and hit Saturday full blast, taking the momentum from our last four wins and playing fast, smart, and together,” Claybaugh said.