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The Carletonian

Football wins “Brain Bowl” shutting out Macalester 38-0

<ebate over academic superiority may go on, but in last Saturday's “Brain Bowl” between Carleton College and Macalester College, there was no question which school dominates the gridiron. Led by a breakout performance from sophomore quarterback Vaughn Schmid, the Knights (2-1, 0-1 MIAC) pummeled the Scots 38-0 (1-3) at Macalester Stadium in St. Paul and held on to the Book of Knowledge for the seventh straight year.

After struggling mightily the previous week against Bethel, the Carleton offense came to life in a huge way against the non-conference foe, out-gaining the Scots in total offensive yards 436-261. Leading the way was the dynamic sophomore duo of Schmid, who completed 18-of-25 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 69 yards as well, and running back Jon Lien, who caught two of those touchdown passes and rushed for one more on his way to 105 all-purpose yards.

Meanwhile, the Knights’ defense owned the Scots completely, shutting out an opponent for the first time since a 49-0 thumping of UM-Morris in the 2007 season opener. Sophomore linebacker Mark Skoglund led the way with nine tackles, while junior safety Neil Kolstad and sophomore cornerback DeAngelo Williams both had interceptions.

On an afternoon full of highlights, perhaps the greatest was turned in by freshman defensive lineman Caleb Hyde, who forever solidified his name in the Carleton record books early in the fourth quarter when he preserved the Knights’ shutout in dramatic fashion. Hyde stripped the ball from Scot running back Jake McDonnell at the goal line and returned the fumble recovery 99 yards for a touchdown.

The outcome of the contest was decided long before Hyde’s heroics, however. After Macalester came up empty on its opening drive by missing a 33-yard field goal attempt, the Knights offense took over, scoring on its first possession when Lien caught a short jump-pass from Schmid then broke numerous tackles and ankles en route to a 37-yard touchdown reception.

Carleton padded its lead in the second quarter, finding the end zone on consecutive possessions. First, Kolstad’s interception with 13:16 remaining in the half opened the door for a 81-yard scoring drive. After a 17-yard rush of his own earlier in the series, Schmid connected on another 37-yard touchdown pass, this one to Anthony Kemper, who went on to finish the day with three catches for a game-high 115 yards.

After junior linebacker Killian Murphy, playing in his first game of the year after recovering from an illness, sacked Macalester quarterback Trevor Miehe to force the Scots three-and-out, freshman Mike Elder returned the punt 22 yards to the Mac 37, positioning the Knights for another score. Lien rumbled in from six yards to give the Knights a 21-0 advantage, which they would enjoy at the half thanks to Williams’ interception in the end zone as time expired.

After the break, the Carleton defense was equally formidable, keeping the Scots from recording a first down on either of their first two possessions of the third quarter. First sophomore linebacker Erin Jones sacked Miehe to force a three-and-out, setting up a 24-yard Eric Murphy field goal, then, after another Macalester punt, Schmid connected on a 51-yard pass to Kemper, opening the door for Lien’s third touchdown of the afternoon, this one an 8-yard catch to put the Knights on top 31-0.

Carleton added its final score on Hyde’s remarkable fumble return with 12:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.

While the Knights will enjoy retaining the Book of Knowledge, they now focus on protecting an even more important keepsake. After claiming the famed Goat Trophy from cross-town rival St. Olaf for the first time in 11 years with last season’s historic 21-7 road victory, Carleton will look to hold onto its prize in tomorrow’s 1 p.m. homecoming contest at Laird Stadium.

Always the biggest game of the year, the Knights players know the impact a win tomorrow could have. “This is our entire season,” junior preseason All-American offensive tackle Brad Eckelmann said. “If you win, it acts as a springboard for the rest of the year, and if you lose it’s tough to come back from.”

A victory will be no easy task, as the Oles enter the match-up at 3-1 (1-1 MIAC), losing only to No. 18 St. Thomas. If the eagle statue in Bridge Square is to remain facing Carleton for another year, Schmid, Lien, & Co. will need to conquer a St. Olaf run defense that is nearly as stifling as its campus drinking policy, yielding an average of just 46.5 rushing yards per game.

“Identifying the defense they’re running and executing our individual jobs accordingly is going to be our main challenge,” Eckelmann noted. “Their defense plays fast, they play hard, but we play fast and play hard too.”
The weather forecast calls for chilliness, clouds, and a rain of Carleton touchdowns on dry Oles, so bundle up and come out to Laird Stadium tomorrow for the Cereal Bowl as the Knights defend the Goat in this year’s defining contest.
“The game has the same importance every year,” Eckelmann mused. “Certainly they’ll be looking for some measure of revenge this year, and this year we’re both teams that are looking to win a MIAC title.”

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