It is understandable that the Gustavus Adolphus offense grabs the lion’s share of the headlines, but the reality is that this Gusties defense is really solid as well. That showed Saturday afternoon, as the GAC defense held the Lake Forest College Foresters to 293-yards in total offense, in blanking the visitors 49-0.
This was a defensive struggle through the first quarter, as miscues were keeping the Foresters in the game. A fumble on the Gusties first possession turned the ball over to Lake Forest. In Gustavus territory they had the opportunity to take the lead, but the Gusties special team’s unit blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt to keep the game scoreless.
Finally with 52 seconds left in the first quarter Gustavus Adolphus got on the board. It was the Gunslinger, Mitch Hendricks, who recorded the first touchdown, but not through the air. His seven-yard scamper on first and goal put the Gusties on top and got the club rolling. Hendricks had been quite efficient on the 12-play, 80-yard drive, completing 4-5 passes for 40 yards.
The next series was another methodical drive by the Gusties offense, as the team moved 45-yards in 9-plays. Gabe Boyce caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hendricks to increase the lead to 14. Boyce had three receptions on the drive for 28-yards.
Lake Forest then went on an impressive 17-play, 83-yard drive that took them from their own 14 to the Gustavus Adolphus three-yard line. On fourth and goal the Gusties made a huge stop to keep the Foresters out of the end zone, and put their offense back on the field.
Most offenses would tense up this close to their own goal-line but not the Gusties Gunslinger and his posse. Instead, Hendricks completed 4-7 passes, including a 10-yarder to Leeland Lauti on third and 10 from the 50. On the drive’s final play Lauti burst into the end zone from one yard out to make it 21-0.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the ball back to Gustavus Adophus at the Lake Forest 31. Following an illegal motion penalty Hendricks returned to his true self, hitting a streaking Matt Boyce for 36-yards and the touchdown. That made the score 28-0 and that is how they would go in at half.
The second half began with the ball back in Hendricks hands and he led another touchdown drive. The team moved 60-yards in 8-plays, and Hendricks second touchdown pass of the game to Matt Boyce capped it off. It was brother Gabe that was making the big receptions early in the drive, making receptions of 15- and 12-yards on the first two plays. Matt’s five-yard reception produced the Gusties fifth touchdown, making it 35-0.
Hendricks would add two more touchdowns on the afternoon. A 16-yarder to Matt Boyce was the receiver’s third TD reception of the day, and a 23-yarder to George Buchner closed out the scoring.
For the day Hendricks was an impressive 28-35 for 353 yards and 5 touchdowns. Matt Boyce caught three of those touchdown passes, and had 10 receptions total for 136-yards. Gabe Boyce had 9 receptions for 93-yards and a score. Lauti continues his impressive start to the season, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
While the offense was racking up points, the defense continued to impress. The Foresters were able to sustain just one drive of at least 1o plays, and turned the ball over twice, both on interceptions. The Gusties defense also recorded three sacks, and the special teams unit blocked a field goal.
Tyler Jakes led the team with 10 tackles and also had an interception. Nick Frandsen had 8 tackles, including 1.5 for losses. Levi Gibbs had the other interception.
By Robert Pannier