Football collapses in second half at Saint John’s, loses 41-27

(photo courtesy of Zoé Haugen)

THE SCORE OF THE BOX

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Gustavus’ football team held a four-point lead at the end of the second quarter on Saturday, but Saint John’s outscored the visitors 24-6 in the final 31 minutes of the game for a 41-27 finish. The Gusties drop to 4-3 on aggregate, 3-2 in the MIAC and 1-1 in the Northwoods Division, while the No. 5-ranked Johnnies improve to 6-1 on aggregate, 4-1 in the MIAC and 2-0 in the division.

Gustavus started the game with the first possession and was moving the ball well until Saint John’s forced a sack fumble that was returned 35 yards for a touchdown. The Gusties continued to move the ball upfield on their second possession and completed an eight-play 58-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from George Sandven (So., Edina) at Charlie Barnick (So., Rosemount).

On the Johnnies’ first possession of the game, they moved the ball 50 yards in four plays, but Zach Jakes (Sr., North Mankato) counted a loose bag of his own, recovered by Trajan Kaeppe (Jr., Cottage Grove) at Gustie 39. Gustie’s ensuing drive stalled at SJU 34 after five plays and the home side responded with an eight-play, 66-yard drive, taking a 14-7 lead with 2:36 to go. in the first quarter.

The Gusties started the second quarter with a nine-play, 61-yard drive, capped off by a five-yard pass from Sandven to Matthew Kipper (Sr., Bloomington) to tie the score 14-14 with 10:32 to go in the half. The drive was kept alive by a 39-yard over the shoulder catch by Matthew Carreon (Sr., Houston, TX) on the left sideline to move the strings a third down.

Saint John’s responded with a 52-yard drive, but settled for a 34-yard field goal, regaining a 17-14 lead with six minutes left at halftime. Gustavus responded with an eight-play, 65-yard drive, finished with a four-yard touchdown pass from Sandven to Tanner Rennie (Fy., Cape Coral, Fla.), taking a 21-17 lead with 2:05 to go in the half. The Johnnies finished the first half with an eight-play, 65-yard drive, capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:04 left on the clock. Saint John’s took a 24-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Johnnies opened the second half with the ball and went for 61 yards in 12 plays, extending their lead to 31-21 with 9:23 on the clock. The Gusties went to three on the ensuing drive and a short punt gave the Johnnies a short field, which they capitalized with another touchdown for a 38-21 lead.

Gustavus had another three-and-out on their second practice of the half, but the Johnnies missed the punt return and the Gusties recovered at the SJU three-yard line. Rennie found the endzone in the next game and after a failed PAT, the Gusties cut Johnnie’s lead to 38-27 with 3:34 left in the quarter. On Johnnie Reader’s first play that followed, Isaiah Chambers (Jr., Houston, TX) came up and landed an interception at the Gusties 30-yard line.

Saint John’s entered the fourth quarter with a 14-play streak and settled for a 24-yard field goal with 10:08 on the clock, taking a 41-27 lead. Gustavus had some attacking momentum midway through the fourth, but an interception ended the practice and the home side were able to salt the game.

The Johnnies beat the Gusties 388-228 in total yards and won the time of possession battle 35:04-24:56. Sandven completed 17 of 31 passes for 166 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Carreon was the primary target with three catches for 55 yards. Rohee Kondee (Jr., Hopkins) led the rush with nine carries for 46 yards.

Like they’ve been doing all season, Carson DeKam (Jr., Owatonna) and Jakes led the defensive effort with 15 and 10 tackles, respectively. Jakes added a sack fumble for a loss of 14 yards and had 1.5 TFL.

Gustavus hosts Carleton next Saturday at 1 p.m. on his Hall of Fame day.

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