Sandven, Defense Lead Gusties Past Pipers
George Sandven threw for 336 yards and the Gustavus Adolphus defense held Hamline University to 28 yards rushing as the Gusties defeated the Pipers, 44-7. Sandven threw for two touchdowns and Tanner Rennie had 72 yards rushing and two TDs. Alex Villanueva threw for 307 yards and Charlie Wilson had 138 yards receiving for Hamline.
Hamline was forced to punt after just four plays on the first possession of the game, putting the ball in the Gusties hands. Starting from the Pipers 43, the Gustavus Adolphus needed six plays before they found the end zone. Sandven’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Thelen capped off the drive to make it 7-0.
Hamline had been held to one total yard through their first two possessions, but had a spectacular third drive, moving 95 yards in 18 plays. Five times the Pipers faced third down on the drive, and each time Villanueva bailed them out, completing four passes for first downs and using his feet the other time. That included finding Eli Danielson with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at seven.
The Gusties responded right away. River Wood returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to the Gustavus Adolphus 49. On the first play of the drive, Sandven found Jake Breitbach for 21 yards. Two plays later, Sandven went up top for a 28-yard touchdown to Matthew Carreon to make it 14-7.
Hamline looked to do a little responding of their own, putting together another impressive drive that led the team to the GAC 22. However, on fourth and seven, Villaneuva was sacked for a 10-yard loss, turning the ball over on downs.
Just before the end of the half, the Gusties added one more score to extend their lead to 13. GAC got the ball at their own 25 with 2:02 left in the half. Sandven started the drive with five straight completions, including a 29-yard pass to Carreon and a 12-yard completion to Thelen that put the ball at the Hamline 18. With 15 seconds left and the ball at the two, Rennie went to the left and scored, making it 20-7.
Gustavus Adolphus added a field goal on their first drive of the second half. The team moved to the Hamline seven, putting together a 13 play, 71-yard drive that took 5:26 off the clock. Andrew Abegglen made it 23-7 with a 25-yard field goal.
Hamline went the other way, reaching the Gustavus 24-yard line where they faced a third and 14. Villanueva had a window, but Ezekiel Sundberg stepped in the way, picking off the pass and returning it to the 16. Gustavus then went 84 yards in 12 plays, capped off by the second touchdown run of the day by Rennie to make it 30-7.
The Gusties added two late touchdowns. David Peal scored from 1 yard out with 3:26 left in the contest to make it a 30-point lead and Sundberg made his second interception of the game, this time returning it 89 yards for a touchdown to make it 44-7.
Villanueva was 30-51 for 307 yards and a touchdown. It was his second 300+ yard passing game of the season. The Pipers quarterback now has at least one touchdown pass in each of his first six starts. Wilson made 15 catches for 138 yards and Danielson had five patches for 72 yards and a TD. Caleb Lueders and Zach Griebel each had 11 tackles to lead Hamline.
Next Saturday, and Hamline University (2-4) will welcome Augsburg (4-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
by Robert Pannier