Time of Poss.
The battle of unbeatens lived up to the advance billing. Justice Spriggs rewrote the Hamline football record book with six touchdown passes and 475 yards but it took a free kick and one last defensive play to preserve a 42-40 victory over Gustavus Adolphus at Klas Field. The Pipers have won three games in a row for the first time since 1997. They are off to a 3-0 overall start for the first time since 1988.
Despite Spriggs' efforts, nothing was assured until Gustavus' last pass was batted down at Hamline 12 as the clock ran out.
The sophomore shattered the old yardage standard by 100 yards. He connected with Josiah Harris three times for scores in the first half to help the Pipers to 21-17 intermission edge.
The Gusties bounced back with a pair of touchdown to grab a 31-21 lead after three quarters. Spriggs then found Deon Bishop for a 32-yard score to cut the lead to 31-28 with 12:56 remaining. Eight minutes later, Nick Kampa, who caught seven passes for 112 yards, took a four yard toss from Spriggs and HU led 35-31.
Gustavus responded with an 82 yard strike for a score to regain the edge at 38-35. The Pipers marched back, going 67 yards in six plays with Spriggs finding Harrison Jones on a fourth and 14 at the GAC 28 for a 42-38 advantage with 1:35 remaining -- the seventh time the lead had changed hands.
Zach Schwalbach intercepted the second pass from scrimmage at HU 12. However, Gustavus still had all their timeouts and used them to keep the Pipers from gaining a first down. At this point, HU head coach Chip Taylor elected to take a safety rather than risking a punt, making the score 42-40. Kyle Johnson boomed the ensuing free kick to the Gustie 17 with the return being held to just seven yards. GAC advanced as far as the Piper 42 but the final pass was batted down and the Pipers had their first win over the Gusties in a decade.
Spriggs, who leads the MIAC in passing yardage at 348.7 yards per game and is second in TD tosses with 10, was 29-for-41 on the day. In addition to Kampa, Harris also caught seven throws for 95 yards. Despite the high score, there were defensive highlights. Dalton Pakkala had eight unassisted tackles. In addition to Schwalbach's pick, Noah Jacobson and Anthony Hill recovered fumbles.
The Pipers will take that 1-0 MIAC mark on the road for the first time this year when they visit Carleton on Saturday, Oct. 1. Game time is 1:00 p.m.