Veldman Leads Gusties Victory over Blue Devils, 41-31
MENOMONIE, Wis. – The Gustavus football team looked strong in all facets on Saturday as they took down UW-Stout 41-31 at Don & Nona Williams Stadium in Menomonie, Wis. With the win the Gusties move to 2-0 on the season while the Blue Devils fall to 0-2.
“It was a strong overall effort for the team today,” said Head Coach Peter Haugen. “Key turnovers by our defense and our offense made some big plays and sustained a key six to seven minute drive in the fourth quarter. We played with great energy and had great support from our fans.”
After forcing a three and out on the first possession of the contest, Gustavus was able to march down the field thanks to two connections from Michael Veldman (Sr., Becker) to Josh Kirk (Sr., Garvin) before the duo connected again for a third time, this one finding the end zone to put the Gusties up 6-0. A two-point conversion rush by Veldman put Gustavus up 8-0.
Stout would answer on the next possession with a long drive resulting in an 18-yard touchdown run and successful two-point conversion to even things at eight. Early in the second quarter, a Gustavus fumble gave the ball to Stout around midfield where the Blue Devils took a deep shot on their first play and scored, converting the extra point to make the score 15-8.
The rest of the second quarter was all Gustavus as the Gusties responded two possessions after the Blue Devils score with an 11 play, 51-yard drive capped off by a Veldman touchdown rush to bring the score to 15-14. Veldman’s two-point conversion pass though was intercepted and returned all the way by Stout to push the Blue Devils to a 17-14 lead.
On the second play of the ensuing Blue Devil possession, Avery Bachman (Sr., Saint Peter) recorded his first interception of the year to give the ball back to the Black and Gold. The Gusties took advantage as Veldman connected with Brice Panning (Sr., Hamburg) for 36 yards and then 17 yards, with the second connection finding the end zone to put the Gusties up 21-17.
With less than four minutes left in the half, Gustavus forced another three-and-out and blocked the punt to start in good field position again, getting the ball at the UW-Stout 12. After two plays David Peal (So., Worchester, Mass.) was able to plow in from the three yard line to extend the Gusties lead to 28-17 going into the half.
After the half, Gustavus received the kickoff and marched down the field, before Veldman found Kirk in the back left corner of the endzone to put the Black and Gold up 35-17. After a Blue Devil three-and-out, the Gusties were able to march down the field again for another touchdown drive, this one capped off by a Veldman touchdown run to put Gustavus up 41-17.
With the Gusties holding a 25-point lead, the Blue Devils were able to get two scores late in the game to bring the score to 42-31, but the Gusties would run the clock out and take home the victory.
Veldman had an all-around solid day, going 18-of-28 for 249 yards and three touchdowns. The Becker native also carried the ball eight times for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Peal toted the rock 22 times for 60 yards and a touchdown to lead the rushing attack. Kirk led the receiving corps with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns while Panning had six catches for 94 yards and one score.
The Gustie defense had an all-around solid performance, with Kolt Gorg (Sr., Blue Earth) recording a team-high eight tackles and a sack. Austin Fest (Jr., West Des Moines, Iowa), Kaleb Scott (Jr., Gardena, Calif.), and Bachman all recorded interceptions for the Gusties on the day.
The Gusties will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to Collegeville to take on Saint John’s at 1:00 p.m.