By Denny Weller
Special to The Free Press
ST PETER —
A swarming Gustavus Adolphus defense forced five turnovers Saturday afternoon at Hollingsworth Field and Jeffery Dubose scored four touchdowns as the Golden Gusties dominated Hamline 37-0 in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football game.
Dubose, a 190-pound junior from St. Paul, rushed for 122 yards in 23 carries while senior quarterback Muresuk Mena gained 113 yards on 13 attempts — including a 17-yard TD run. Their efforts helped the Gusties improve to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the MIAC. Mena was also 7 of 16 passing for 82 yards.
While the Gusties’ power running game amassed 249 yards, Gustavus’ defense limited Hamline to 203 total yards and caused six fumbles. Senior defensive end Zach Stackhouse triggered the defensive effort by forcing two fumbles and recovering two more while being in on eight tackles. It was Stackhouse’s second start after being moved from a reserve linebacker due to some injuries.
“Stackhouse is a fourth-year guy in our program and he’s probably played four different positions since he’s been here,” Gustavus coach Peter Haugen said. “Being a little smaller he doesn’t quite look right out there, but he really causes a lot of disruption.”
Gustavus struck first when senior Tom Heupenbecker booted a 29-yard field goal after Beau Bachman’s 33-yard punt return.
The Gusties extended their margin to 10-0 at halftime when Dubose capped a 66-yard, six-play drive by powering in from 2 yards out over the right side three minutes into the second quarter. Dubose ripped off runs of 5 and 15 yards in the surge before Mena’s 32-yard pass to Andre Creighton put the ball on the Pipers’ 2-yard line.
The Gusties second-half onslaught began when Stackhouse jarred the ball loose from Austin Duncan and Donte Green recovered. Dubose carried the ball four straight times for 26 yards before Mena lobbed a 17-yard aerial to tight end Trevor Winkelman. After Mena picked up five yards, Dubose sped 10 yards on a misdirection toss to the left side to put the Gusties in front 16-0.
“We made a few mistakes but everybody was pursuing and picking each other up,” said Stackhouse, a 5-foot-9, 200-pounder. “They’re an option team so you have to play disciplined football.
“I made the position change last week and I am starting to fit into the position. The guys around me are really helping me make the change and coaches are spending extra time with me.
“I may be a bit undersized but if you have good technique and use leverage you can make up for it. I was just flying to the ball like everyone else and our coaches are always harping at us in practice that once the tackle is secure you go for the ball.
“We all did a good job of pursuing and getting after the ball so our offense can then make plays. ... Everyone is making it all worth while and I am having a blast.”
Green, who was in on six tackles, forced the next fumble and Stackhouse recovered to set up Dubose’s 13-yard touchdown run on a delay up the middle. Dubose added a 1-yard TD plunge early in the final quarter before Mena’s 17-yard keeper closed out the scoring. Gustavus ended up with 368 total yards and was 5 of 11 on 3rd-down conversions.
“Our offensive line was really hammering their defensive line,” Dubose said. “I had a lot of holes open up for me.
“We went back to the basics in the second half and really pounded it at them. I am confident with my guys blocking and it feels great to get four touchdowns, but it was all my line.”
Hamline (1-3, 0-3) received 87 yards rushing from Austin Duncan and 97 yards passing from reserve quarterback Zach Brautigan. Sophomore middle linebacker led the Gusties with 12 tackles and sophomore inside linebacker Anthony Boyce totaled nine stops.
“We were a little sloppy in the first half,” Haugen said. “Offensively, we kind of hit our stride a little more in the second half.
“We started being more consistent and were finishing plays. This was a good game for us after two difficult losses. I think we showed we’re a character team.”
Gustavus plays Saturday at Valley City State.