Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Knights #1 after thrilling victory over Auggies

< roster filled with such household names as Ziller, Henfling, Ramey, and Frank, it was only a matter of time before the Carleton Knights, already known as the nation’s classiest team with the most attractive fans, were officially recognized as the top football program in the MIAC. That time came last Saturday, when the Knights defeated the previously unbeaten Augsburg Auggies at their own stat-padding game in a 49-41 shootout. When the offensive dust had settled, it was Carleton that was left alone atop the conference standings for the first time in over a decade.

Led by senior quarterback and touchdown-enthusiast Shane “Showtime” Henfling, freshman running back Jon Lien, and an unstoppable line, the Knight offense piled up 441 yards at a 7.5 yards-per-play clip and found the endzone 6 times. Henfling picked apart a bewildered Auggie secondary with his underrated athleticism and pinpoint accuracy, finishing the contest with 266 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing an outstanding 78 percent of his passes. Henfling, ever the egalitarian, spread his 21 completions to 6 different Carleton receivers. Leading the way with 6 grabs apiece were sophomore Dylan Bothun and freshman Erik Fabry. Bothun finished the game with 97 yards and a momentum changing, Matt Frank-esque diving touchdown as time expired in the first half, and Fabry complemented his sticky hands with a strong leg, averaging nearly 40 yards on 4 punts. Also on the receiving end of Henling’s scoring strikes were seniors Chris Gardner, Steve Ramey, and Will McGivern-Smith, whose first career touchdown reception, which came late in the third quarter, gave the Knights their first lead of the contest.

While Henfling and Company were busy lighting up the skies, Lien, affectionately known as the “Vanilla Gorilla” (undoubtedly due to his extraordinary strength, love of vegetation, and ability to use primitive tools), kept himself occupied with punishing the Augsburg defenders on the ground. Lien turned his 25 carries into 168 yards (the highest output by a Carleton freshman in nearly 4 years) and 2 scores while picking up MIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors, and left a trail of battered, bruised, and possibly emotionally scarred Auggies in his wake. Helping pave the way for Lien’s breakout performance (while giving Henfling plenty of time all game long to work his magic) was a young Carleton offensive line whose performance was dominant enough to earn them National Offensive Line of the Week honors as well as a possible roll in the upcoming film The Replacements 2.

In a crowd-pleasing game that was back-and-forth from the very first kickoff, it took only a few big plays by the Carleton defense for the Knights to come out on top. Thankfully, senior safety Drew Ziller makes a habit out of making big plays, and there is really nothing anyone, including the Auggies, can do to stop him. Ziller (he’s an All-American) blocked a punt and returned it 25 yards for a score and had the game-clinching interception. Throw in 9 tackles and a pass breakup for the hero of Byron, Minnesota and you get his 2nd MIAC Defensive Player of the Week award of the season and third appearance on the national Defensive Team of the Week. Also making a habit out of Zillering the Auggies were sophomore linebacker Tim Mulso and senior defensive back Kane Bechstein. Mulso led the Knights with 13 total tackles, and Bechstein added 10 of his own while coming up with 3 key pass defenses. Multi-talented senior defensive lineman Tim Kane, who had 6 tackles of his own, started what was perhaps the play of the game when his perfectly executed onside kick (recovered by Bothun) began the Knight’s pivotal lead-changing third-quarter drive that set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

Speaking of pivotal, the Carleton Cheerboys had what was perhaps their game of the year in front of a loud, raucous homecoming crowd. In running their traditional post-touchdown laps, the Cheerboys accumulated more than 5 times the yardage of the vaunted Augsburg offense, and in adding pushups to their repertoire have developed a nationally recognized Saturday afternoon workout that burns nearly twice the calories of a comparable routine on Chuck Norris’s Total Gym. Join the Cheerboys and the rest of the Carleton faithful this Saturday as the Knights took to continue their reign on top of the conference against the unsurprisingly labeled Gustavus Gusties, the only team in the MIAC named after any sort of weather phenomena.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *