The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 8, 2013

Don't overlook Gusties' victory over St. John's

It was a quite a football weekend around here.

Minnesota State pounded another team, running its season record to 9-0 and sparking debate whether these Mavericks are better than last year when they went to the national semifinals.

Former Mankato West quarterback Philip Nelson led Minnesota to its third straight victory, earning player of the week honors from the Big Ten and pushing Gopher Nation toward a tizzy.

And the Minnesota Vikings lost again, which shouldn’t be newsy, but the NFL rules, even when the hometown team is struggling.

Lost in all this football frenzy was quite an accomplishment over in St. Peter. Gustavus Adolphus defeated St. John’s 23-20 in double overtime.

What was so special about this game? Let’s count the ways.

The Gusties ended a 15-year losing streak to St. John’s, which used to be the best program in the MIAC and was having another good season. And some of the games in this series haven’t been close.

But the Gusties have proven that by beating St. John’s, and giving St. Thomas a good tussle, that they are headed in the right direction.

The victory also guaranteed an end to a string of four consecutive seasons with losing records. Gustavus needs a win in the final two games to have a winning record, but five victories is a sign of progress, which keeps the lads motivated in the offseason and might lure attractive recruits.

The victory proved the Gusties could win a close game against a quality opponent. Over the last five seasons, the Gusties have allowed the winning points in the fourth quarter, sometimes excruciatingly late, eight times. If those eight games go the other way, coach Peter Haugen’s record would go from 18-30 to 26-22.

This season, the Gusties have given up points in the fourth quarter in tight losses to Augsburg and St. Thomas, and had they won those two games, they’d be still in the hunt for an MIAC championship.

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