Gustavus football triumphed over Carleton this past weekend in a comfortable 38-20 victory, securing their place in the MIAC championship where they will take on the Bethel Royals. Gustavus football has had quite the amazing run as they go into the MIAC championship riding a 5 game win streak, including thrillers over #7 St. Johns, and an OT win over St. Olaf. This 5 game winning streak officially meant that Gustavus swept the Northwoods division for the first time in program history
This game was of utmost importance, not only with a MIAC championship trip on the line, but it was also senior day for Gustavus. For 33 seniors this game against Carleton was the last game they will ever play at Hollingsworth field. The families celebrate the seniors on Saturday against Carleton as they move forward into the next chapter of their lives.
Senior Jake Brietbach is continuing to put on a clinic this year, as he put up an absolutely ridiculous statline of 3 touchdowns for 227 yards against the Knights. With this statline Breibach becomes the all time Gustavus program leader in both receptions and receiving yards and we still have one game to go.
Breitbach said of his statistical brilliance, “I spend a lot of time in the weight room, on the field and with my QB so I think all of that contributes to putting up good numbers.” Breitbach puts in the requisite amount of work behind the scenes, leading to his stellar play come game time.
On the defensive side of the ball Senior linebacker Carson Dekam led the way in tackles with 11, including two tackles for a loss driving Carleton back 9 total yards. Junior linebacker Jack Klug also had quite the performance with 9 tackles. Junior Darius Howard, and Senior Isaiah Chambers each had an interception, contributing to the win.
The game against Carleton started a bit prickly, as Junior George Sandven was intercepted by the Carleton defense on the very first drive. Carleton then came out in the no huddle offense and methodically made their way down the field, however after a 17 play drive the Gustavus defense stopped Carleton forcing them to kick a field goal, which they made.
Gustavus’ offense looked good on the second drive, however Sandven was intercepted for a second time, setting up Carleton with good field position, which resulted in another long drive and another Carleton field goal. At the end of the first quarter the score sat: Carleton: 6 Gustavus: 0
Gustavus’ offense kicked it into gear in the second half however, they quickly scored a touchdown when Sandven hit Breitbach on a 15 yard touchdown pass early in the quarter, and again on a 24 yard pass later in the quarter. An Andrew Abegllen field goal, and a 20 yard touchdown pass this time to Sophomore Caden Klienschmidt. At the end of the first half the score sat Gustavus: 24 Carleton: 13.
In the third quarter Gustavus really pulled away and asserted their dominance in the game. Early in the third quarter, Sandven hit Sophomore Kleinschmidt yet again this time for a massive 82 yard touchdown putting Gustavus up 3 scores.
The offense was hungry for more however, as Sandven passed to Brietbach for a 28 yard touchdown for Brietbach’s third touchdown of the day and took complete control over the game. At the end of the 3rd quarter Gustavus led 38-13.
The fourth quarter was mostly academic as Gustavus had the game secured. Many seniors got into the game, playing their final plays as Gusties. Carleton was able to push one touchdown across in the fourth but it didn’t matter as Gustavus secured the win 38-20, punching their ticket to the MIAC championship against Bethel.
This is a massive game upcoming for Gustavus, but it will certainly be a challenging one as well. Gustavus has not won the MIAC in 36 years (1987) and they will be going up against a Bethel Royals team that Gustavus has a 14 game losing streak against dating back to 2009. These two teams have faced off this year, which was a back and forth affair prior to Bethel scoring two touchdowns in the last 19 seconds to win the game 37-28, an absolute heartbreaker for Gustavus.
Sophomore Will White said on the team’s turnaround, “The team’s chemistry has been a huge key to our recent success. We were at our lowest when we lost 3 in a row to start but we kept our heads down and stuck together through the difficult period.”
Gustavus comes into this rematch red hot and with something to prove against the Royals. This Saturday the Gustavus football team will have a chance to go down in history as the first team in 36 years to win the MIAC championship.
The leader of the offense Junior Quarterback George Sandven said on the upcoming game “The biggest thing is to stay patient. Bethel has a great defense so we will have to take what they give us.” Opportunity awaits this weekend for Gustavus.