UW-Stout (0-1, 0-0 WIAC) will play their second consecutive MIAC opponent when they travel to Gustavus Adolphus College (1-0, 0-0 MIAC), Saturday, Sept. 8 for a 1 p.m. contest in St. Peter, Minn. The Blue Devils and the Gusties have not met since the early 1980s. The Blue Devils are coming off a 27-0 loss at 11th ranked St. John’s University, Sept. 1. The Gusties pulled away and took a 32-20 win at Martin Luther College, Sept. 1.
The Blue Devils are coming off the 2017 season where they finished 5-4 overall, and woke up the Division III football world when they defeated fourth-ranked St. Thomas, 25-22, Sept. 9 at Don & Nona Williams Stadium. the win propelled the Blue Devils to 25th on the D3football.com Top 25. Stout moved up to 24th the following week, then jumped two spots to 22nd before a loss to UW-Platteville dropped Stout one spot to No. 23 and a loss to UW-Whitewater the following week put Stout in the receiving votes category. The last time Stout appeared in the poll was when they received votes for several weeks midway through the 2010 season and the last time Stout cracked the D3football Top 25 was during Week 5 of the 2005 season. Stout received votes in the first AFCA Division III Coaches Poll, then moved up to 25th during the second poll. The Blue Devils fell out of the AFCA’s Division III Coach’s Poll after the Platteville loss. After the win over UW-River Falls, the Blue Devils reappeared in the receiving votes category, with four votes during Week 7 in the D3football.com poll and returned to the “Receiving Votes” category of the AFCA Coaches Poll after a win over UW-Stevens Point. Stout fell out of the “Receiving Votes” category in the D3football.com poll after the Eau Claire game, but stayed in the RV category in the AFCA Coaches Poll. Following the loss to La Crosse, the Blue Devils are no longer receiving votes.
The Blue Devils could not get their offense in gear and dropped a 27-0 decision at St. John’s University, Sept. 1 to open the season. Stout couldn’t get into gear and 11th-ranked St. John’s University scored twice in the first quarter, then added two more scores in the third quarter as the Johnnies rolled to a 27-0 victory Saturday. All four of St. John’s (1-0) touchdowns came via the air as Jackson Erdmann threw for all four sc to three different players. St. John’s scored opened the scoring at 4:02 of the first quarter as Erdmann finished off a 10-play drive with a 12-yard TD strike to Jared Streit. Erdmann, who finished with 241 passing yards, used two plays to get into the end zone just before the end of the quarter, hitting Blake Patrick with a 48 yard pass and struck paydirt with an 8-yard toss to Tommy Auger. Erdmann found Will Gillach for two scores in the third period, getting a 22-yard score at 6:13 and for 25 yards with 1:03 left in the period to close out the scoring. The Blue Devils, which started their first five drives inside the 20, finished with 213 total yards, but were held to 29 yards rushing. The Blue Devils never got into the red zone and only got as close as the St. John’s 26 yards line on their final drive of the day.—St. John’s Story and Stats
It took some time for the Gustavus football team to find its footing Saturday in the season opener at Martin Luther College, but after trailing by two at halftime the Gusties made the necessary adjustments to outscore the Knights 14-0 in the final 30 minutes and came out on top 32-20, Sept. 1 in New Ulm, Minn.—Martin Luther Story and Stats
The teams have not meet since the early 1980s. when the teams split in back-to-back seasons, with Stout winning in 1982 at St. Peter, Minn., 14-0. But Gustavus turned the tables the following year Sept. 10, 1983, in Menomonie, when Marc Illies hauled in a 29-yard TD pass from with seven seconds left in the game from QB Eric Lunde for a 13-6 win. Jim Alexander of Gustavus carried the ball 29 times for 123 yards rushing, as Gustavus tallied 299 yards of total offense, while Stout had 169 yards of offense with quarterback Glen Majszk scrambling for 62 of Stout’s 136 rushing yards. The head coach for Gustavus Adolphus at the time was Dennis Raarup, who was an assistant football coach and member of the Stout physical education department from 1963-1968. Raarup had a Hall of Fame career at Gustavus from 1971-87.
Gustavus Adolphus holds a 4-1 lead in the series. The Blue Devils defeated the Gustavus, 14-0, in 1982 in St. Peter, Minn., but Gustavus returned the favor the following year when they came to Menomonie to hand Stout a 13-6 defeat. In the two team’s first ever meeting in 1939 Gustavus won 39-0, while the Blue Devils set a mark for most punts in a game with 12. That Stout mark was matched in 2014 against Wartburg College. In the teams’ first meeting, Gustavus won again in 1940, 37-0.
On paper, it would look like UW-Stout would have a lot of holes to fill after graduating 24 seniors last year, one of the largest group of graduating seniors in head coach Clayt Birmingham’s eight year tenure. And while the Blue Devils will need to replace a lot of players—including nine defensive starters,—Birmingham said his squad returns athletes who have seen considerable time in rugged Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) play, but not as a listed starter. This year’s senior class, along with a solid junior class, will need to step in while the team develops depth they will need for the schedule which opens Saturday, Sept. 1 with a trip to traditional football powerhouse St. John’s University. “We have talent, just not a lot of veteran talent,” Birmingham said. “By losing so many seniors (last season), we lost depth.” 2017 Statistics
The Blue Devils finished fifth in the competitive WIAC last season and according to a preseason poll by WIAC football coaches and sports information directors, the Blue Devils are picked to finish fifth this year. UW-Oshkosh is picked to finish first, UW-Whitewater second, UW-Platteville third, UW-La Crosse fourth, UW-Stout fifth, UW-River Falls sixth, UW-Stevens Point seventh and UW-Eau Claire eighth.
The Gusties finished fifth in the MIAC last season and the team is Gustavus Adolphus College is ranked No. 5 in this year’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll, having garnered 36 points in the balloting. Injuries derailed what appeared to be a promising 2017 campaign, which saw the Golden Gusties jump out to a 3-1 start to the year. Chiefly among those hit by the bug last season was quarterback Michael Veldman, who ranked among the top-five passers in the Conference with 143 completions for 1,931 passing yards and 18 scores, despite missing four games. Most significantly, Gustavus won twice as much as it lost with Veldman behind center, as the 6-foot-4 senior signal-caller registered a 4-2 record as a starter last year.
iHeartRadio’s Newstalk WMEQ AM 880 and 106.3FM will provide broadcast coverage for the season with Pete Knutson and Jake Bostrom providing commentary during the games. Game streams are available on wmeq.com or through the iHeartRadio App. For home games, iHeartRadio’s Newstalk WMEQ AM 880 and 106.3FM will provide the audio portion for Live Video streaming of all home football games. Live Stats will be available for all home games.