What better way to showcase the Gusties Gunslinger than with an old fashioned shootout victory? That was what was on display at Hollingsworth Field Saturday afternoon as the Gustavus Adolphus Gusties downed the Augsburg Auggies 59-42, thanks to three early takeaways that wound up being the difference in the game.
The Gusties scored on nine of their 12 possessions, and two of those possessions ended with the half. That meant that on the 10 chances they had to score, nine of them they did. Meanwhile the Gusties defense allowed just two scores on the Auggies first seven drives of the game, taking the ball away three times in the process, and that wound up being the key difference in the contest.
Gustavus Adolphus scored on their first three possessions as Gusties Gunslinger Mitch Hendricks led the drives with his usual pinpoint precision. On the team’s first possession he completed all three pass attempts, all to Matt Boyce, with the final pass going to Boyce for nine-yards and the touchdown. Karim Ortiz had a huge carry on the drive, rushing for 26-yards on a third and 2 play that moved the ball to the Augsburg nine-yardline.
Augsburg had been forced to punt on their first possession, but on their next possession they would tie the score. Quarterback Ayrton Scott began the drive with two completions to Scott Bossard, each for 14-yards. He then rushed twice for 22-yards more, and his 11-yard pass to Joey Sonnenfeld put the ball at the GAC 10-yard line. From there Tyrell Martin had back-to-back five-yard carries, the second of which was for a touchdown.
On the Gusties’ second drive it was more of the same as Hendricks completed 3-5 passes, including a 21-yarder to Jake Douglass. Ortiz was proving to be quite the deputy to the Gunslinger, rushing three times of the drive for 46-yards, including the 12-yard touchdown.
On the Auggies’ next possession Iker Ortiz sacked Scott for an eight-yard loss, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Isaac Kotila. Five plays later Hendricks found Matt Boyce for the 29-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7.
On the next Augsburg possession the team moved to the GAC one-yardline but, on third and goal, the defense delivered again as Adam Neubarth sacked Scott and forced another fumble. Neubarth recovered the ball, stymying a chance for the Auggies to pull within seven.
In the shadow of his own end zone Hendricks went to work. He hit Harrison Feldkamp for 12-yards on the first play of the possession to give some room for the team, but five plays later they were forced to punt giving the Auggies back the ball. Scott came up big, hitting Sonnefeld for a 46-yard touchdown on the drive’s first play and Augsburg was back within seven.
If there is one thing that the Gusties know how to do it is respond, and that is what they did on the team’s next possession. Starting from their own 30, Hendricks completed four straight passes, including back-to-back 20-yard completions to Feldkamp and George Buchner. Ortiz would cap off the drive when he found a hole and ran 30-yards for his second touchdown of the game.
Scott moved the ball right back into GAC territory but, on first and 10 from the Gusties 41, Nick Frandsen crushed the hopes of the Auggies. He picked off the Scott pass and raced 69-yards for the score to make it 35-14. That is how the half would end.
The third quarter began with the ball in the Gunslinger’s hands. After Ortiz gave the Gusties a fresh set of downs, Hendricks completed three straight passes to give Gustavus Adolphus the 42-14 lead. His final pass was to Matt Boyce for four-yards and the touchdown.
The Auggies showed that they can generate their own high-octane offense as well. Tyrell Martin rushed for 27-yards on the first play of the team’s next drive, and two plays later Scott scrambled and then ran for 54-yards and the score to cut the Gusties lead to 21.
Back came Gustavus Adolphus as Hendricks led the first part of the drive and Ortiz the second half. Hendricks completed 4-6 passes to get the drive moving, and Ortiz then rushed three straight times to move the ball the Augsburg six. From there Hendricks found Hunter Johnson for a touchdown to make the lead four-touchdowns again.
A see-saw battle was just getting underway, as the Auggies came right back and scored. Scott got the drive going with a 33-yard pass play to Bossard, and Martin closed out the possession with a 10-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good making the score 49-27.
Going the other way Gustavus Adolphus took possession at their own 49 after a failed onside kick attempt. Ortiz carried the ball on three successive plays, gaining 24-yards to move the ball to the Augsburg 20. Hendricks then took command, completing a pass to Johnson for 11-yards and rushing twice, including a four-yarder for a touchdown.
This was the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral at this point. Scott took his team on a four-play, 68-yard drive that resulted in touchdown. Scott’s four-yard pass to Sonnenfeld make it 56-33, and he ran in for the two-point conversion to make it a 21-point game again.
On Gustavus’ next possession they ate up 7:23 of the clock before getting a 26-yard field goal from Brandon Boche. That made it 59-35.
Augsburg came right back, moving 75-yards in 10-plays before Scott found Bossard for a 14-yard touchdown completion. Scott was a beast on the drive, completing both of his passes and rushing five times for 26-yards.
Scott’s touchdown pass was the final score of the game as Gustavus Adolphus won 59-42. The two teams combined for 1078 yards in offense and 13 touchdowns. Amazingly, in a game that featured so much offense, it was those key takeaways by the Gusties defense early on that was the difference in the game.
The two quarterbacks had amazing days. Hendricks was 26-32 for 311 yards and 4 TDs. He also rushed 9 times for 37 yards and a score. Scott was 17-24 for 288 yards and 3 TDs. He rushed 19 times for 185-yards and a touchdown.
Ortiz continues to impress, rushing 28 times for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns. Martin had 15 carries for 107 yards and two scores for the Auggies. Matt Boyce led the Gusties with 8 catches for 106 yards and 3 TDs. Bossard had 7 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown and Sonnenfeld had 5 receptions for 104-yard and 2 scores for Augsburg.
On the defensive side of the ball Nick Frandsen and Anders Raarup led the Gusties with 10 tackles each. Frandsen’s 69-yard interception return for a touchdown was a huge difference maker in the game, and Raarup had 1.5 tackles for losses.
By Robert Pannier