Arden Hills, Minn. – The Gustavus football team suffered a 20-0 loss at the hands of 24th ranked Bethel on Saturday afternoon. The Bethel defense proved its dominance by giving up -6 yards rushing and 103 yards passing for 97 total yards. With the loss, Gustavus falls to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the MIAC. Bethel improves to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC with the victory.
Bethel, ranked first in the MIAC in time of possession, dominated the clock in the game. The Royals held the ball for 35:33 minutes and picked up 18 first downs, while Gustavus had possession for 24:27 minutes and recorded just six first downs.
"Hats off to Bethel, they played outstanding defense. We have been really good offensively for about four weeks now, but we certainly go humbled today, " said Head Coach Peter Haugen.
The Gusties went three-and-out on four of their first five drives of the game. Two of Bethel's three scores come off of Gustavus mishaps. The Royals took advantage of a botched snap on a Gustavus punt, taking a 7-0 lead on the ensuing possession after quarterback Josh Aakre scored on a four-yard option run at the 9:53 mark of the first quarter. Jesse Phenow extended the lead to 14-0 five minutes later, capping a seven play 72 yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run. Bethel took advantage of a Logan Becker interception in the third quarter when Logan Flannery rolled into the end zone on a three-yard dive, bringing the score to a final at 20-0.
"Our defense has played well all year and today we [offense] put them in a couple of very difficult situations and Bethel capitalized," commented Haugen.
Defensively, the Gusties were led by Dustin Kammerer and Paul Stommes. Kammerer had 11 tackles and Stommes had 10. Jade Kotila recorded his third interception of the year with a pick in the second quarter. The defense held the Royals to an average of 2.8 yards per play, yet the Bethel defense held Gustavus to just 1.8 yards per play.
The Bethel defensive scheme kept quarterback Logan Becker from getting into his comfort zone all game. Becker was 15-for-30 for 103 yards with three interceptions. Jeffrey Dubose was the leading rusher for Gustavus, picking up 23 yards on 10 carries (2.3 avg.).
The Bethel offense picked up a total of 189 yards (98 rush, 91 pass). Logan Flannery led the way with a game-high 129 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown. Quarterbacking responsibilities for Bethel was split between Aakre and Daniel Davis. Aakre was 5-for-21 for 47 yards with an interception, while Davis was 8-for-9 for 44 yards.
"What we have to understand is that we belong. We are a good football team and we are going to have an opportunity to over the next two weeks to prove who we are, " said Haugen.
The Gustavus football team will face another formidable MIAC opponent in Saint John's next Saturday in Collegeville, Minn. Kick off is set for 1:00 p.m.