September 19, 2009

A thrilling finish but Pipers fall in double-OT to Gusties

Gustavus senior quarterback Jordan Becker (Easton, Minn.) threw for a total of 148 yards on 13-for-22 passing in the game, with 39 of those yards coming on the Gusties’ first touchdown of the game. Becker connected with Cameron Maurer (Sr., Morgan, Minn.) on the 39-yard touchdown reception at 10:33 in the first quarter. Tom Huepenbecker’s (Fy., Verona, Wis.) kick was good for the 7-0 lead, and the only scoring in the opening 15 minutes of play.

At the start of the second quarter, the Pipers found themselves pinned deep in their own territory, forced to punt. T.J. Ridley (Sr., Edina, Minn.) and a cluster of Gusties blocked John Broback’s (So., Apple Valley, Minn.) punt attempt near the goal line. Ridley fell on the ball when it bounced back into the end zone for the touchdown and Huepenbecker’s kick was good for the 14-0 lead at 10:17 in the second quarter.

The Pipers wasted little time responding. Hamline started their next drive on their own 37-yard line after the Gustie kickoff. They then needed just one snap to cut the Gustavus lead in half. Sean Traynor (So., Eau Claire, Wis.) cut straight up the center of the field for a 63-yard run, pulling away from a pair of Gustavus defenders 25-yards from the score. Derek Johnson’s (Sr., Casa Grande, Ariz.) point-after attempt was successful as the score was cut to 14-7 just 16 seconds after the previous change on the scoreboard.

Gustavus widened their lead again on a 42-yard field goal from Huepenbecker at 12:30 in the third.

On the ensuing kickoff, Tim Queck (So., Annandale, Minn.) returned Huepenbecker’s kick 32 yards to start a 58-yard scoring drive on the Pipers’ own 42. Adam Meyer (So., Cold Spring, Minn.) then drove down the field, connecting with Queck on a 14-yard reception and with Alex House (Jr., Champlin, Minn.) for an additional 13 yards. Traynor carried the ball in on a three-yard run to cut the Piper deficit to three, 17-14.

Huepenbecker attempted a 27-yard field goal with two and a half minutes to play in the third, but missed wide right to keep the Pipers within a field goal of a tie.

With three minutes to play in regulation, Gustavus was approaching the red zone when Piper corner back Dante Guther (Sr., Sacramento, Calif.) intercepted Becker on the goal line. The Pipers began their possession on their own 1-yard line and marched back down the field.

Several short rushing gains from Traynor, a pair of passes totaling 18-yards from Meyer to Sean Lewis (Jr., Saint Paul, Minn.), and a 14-yard run by Blake Cook (So., Fridley, Minn.) got the Pipers to their own 43. Meyer then completed a 35-yard pass to House to get Hamline to the 20-yard line.

Johnson tied the game with 1:50 on the clock with a 30-yard field goal that ultimately sent the two teams in to overtime.

Hamline won the toss at the start of overtime and deferred, giving Gustavus the ball first. On their first OT attempt from the 25-yard line, Becker completed a five-yard pass to Elliott Herdina (So., Blooming Prairie, Minn.). Huepenbecker’s kick was good to put the Gusties up 24-17.

On their responding possession, the Pipers faced fourth and five from the 20-yard line when Meyer lofted a 15-yard pass attempt to Lewis on the near sideline. The pass was incomplete, but a Gustavus defender was called for pass interference and the Pipers found new life at first and goal from the five-yard line.

At third and goal, Meyer completed a pass to House on the sideline, who stretched over the goal line for the touchdown. Johnson’s kick was successful, tying the game at 24-24 and sending the teams into double overtime.

As the possession order switched, Hamline remained on offense. After the team failed to gain much ground on a couple of short runs and an incomplete pass, Johnson attempted a 39-yard field goal that went wide left.

Gustavus needed just one more play to end the game as Becker handed off to Kendrick Hall (Fy., Minneapolis, Minn.) and he carried the ball 25 yards for the winning score.

Hall led Gustavus with 120 of the Gusties’ 180 rushing yards. Maurer had 68 of the Gusties’ 148 receiving yards while Cody Sukalski (Jr., Blue Earth, Minn.) chipped in 56 receiving yards.

Gustavus’ defense was anchored by Tony Palma’s (Sr., Hartland, Minn.) 10 tackles (seven solo, three assists).

Traynor netted 90 of the Pipers’ 113 ground yards, including the rushing touchdowns of 63- and 3- yards. Meyer was 23-for-32 with 207 yards passing. House pulled in seven of Meyer’s tosses for 75 yards to lead Hamline’s receivers.

A pair of Pipers had ten tackles in Cory Olsen (So., Elk River, Minn.) and Josh Bain (Jr., Spring Valley, Minn.). Nine of Olsen’s tackles were solo efforts while Bain posted seven solo tackles.

With the conference loss, the Pipers are now 1-1, 0-1 MIAC. They will continue MIAC play at home next Saturday, September 25, by hosting St. Thomas at 1:00 p.m.

For post-game reaction from the team, click here.