Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Knights beat St. Olaf 17-13, hold onto Goat

<at Trophy will remain on the east side of the Cannon River for another glorious year after Carleton College held on to defeat cross-town rival St. Olaf College 17-13 last Saturday at Laird Stadium.

“There’s no better feeling than this,” said Knights’ sophomore quarterback Vaughn Schmid, who led the way for Carleton (3-1, 1-1 MIAC), completing 23 of 33 passes for 199 yards and rushing for 61 more and a touchdown.

This year’s “Cereal Bowl,” the result of which Carleton head coach Kurt Ramler aptly called “delicious,” proved to be a defensive battle for much of it.After a scoreless first half, both teams eventually found the end zone.

Schmid got the Knights on the board with an eight-yard touchdown scamper midway through the third quarter, then Carleton added insurance on an Eric Murphy field goal and a devious lateral pass to offensive lineman Brad Eckelmann, who ran in from five yards to put the Knights up 17-0 with 9:17 remaining in the game.

In a furious comeback, however, the Oles (3-2, 1-2 MIAC) nearly overcame the deficit thanks to touchdown passes of 40 and 38 yards from John Haberman to Antonio Jennings which brought the score to 17-13 with four minutes remaining. A missed extra point following the second touchdown proved costly, however, as the Oles lost the chance to kick a potential game-tying field goal on their final drive.Instead, they had to go for the touchdown and fell just short when the Knight’s defense stopped them on fourth down at the twelve yard line.

The story for much of the game was defense, as Carleton rose to the challenge of an Ole team that entered the day allowing just 46.5 rushing yards per contest.

“The defense played out of their minds,” Ramler said. “[Defensive coordinator Bob] Pagel is a genius, and those guys play with great poise and heart.”

Both teams had numerous first half scoring chances quashed by their opponents’ defensive prowess. On Carleton’s opening drive, Ole Adam Concannon blocked a 41-yard field goal, then six minutes later, the Knights returned the favor when sophomore cornerback Tsubasa Matsui intercepted Haberman at the Carleton 17 yard line.

The second quarter proved to be equally defensive, as numerous penalties on both sides prevented the offenses from gaining momentum. The Knights drove well into Ole territory on their first possession, but Patrick Luevano picked off a Schmid pass at the 32 to end the chance. St. Olaf then proceeded to march effectively down the field, but a holding call on second down pushed them back and Jens Lillehei teamed up with George Zeon to stuff Ole rusher Leon Clark on fourth-and-one, giving the ball back to the Knights.

The defenses continued to bear down and the scoreboard remained untouched going into halftime, during which Carleton honored the undefeated 1954 football team.

Perhaps inspired by the ceremony, the Knights took the field for the second half, forced St. Olaf to punt, then found the end zone for the first time. Schmid led the drive, completing two passes and rushing for gains of 30 and twelve yards on nifty draw plays, before jaunting into the end zone from eight yards out.

The sophomore signal-caller continued his effectiveness into the fourth quarter, leading another scoring drive by completing four-of-five passes to set up Murphy’s 29-yard field goal with 13:12 remaining in the contest.

St. Olaf’s first comeback bid was then snuffed as two plays into the drive, junior linebacker Kilian Murphy recovered a Clark fumble at the Oles’ 42, setting the stage for another Carleton score.

After a 17-yard rush by Jon Lien, who finished the afternoon with 15 carries for 58 yards, brought the Knights into the red zone, Ramler pulled an old trick out of his sleeve, using a similar play that won his first conference game as head coach against nationally-ranked Bethel University in 2006. On second-and-goal, Eckelmann, generally the right tackle, lined up on the left side, threw a block, then rolled back behind the line of scrimmage to catch the lateral from Schmid and take it to the house, flattening an Ole defender in the process

“Last year we ran the same play against St. Thomas, and I went for the pylon and I didn’t get it,” Eckelmann said. “So all that was going through my mind was the truck stick. I saw that guy coming at the goal line, and I just put the head down and went for it.”

With the performance of the defense to that point, a 17-0 Knights lead with 9:01 to play seemed secure, but the Ole offense dug deep and came roaring back to life. Despite turning the ball over on downs at the Carleton 16 when DeAngelo Williams and Neil Kolstad stopped Clark on fourth-and-seven, St. Olaf quickly forced the Knights three-and-out.It then took only one play for the Oles to end the shutout, as Haberman connected with Jennings from 40 yards out with 5:42 remaining.

It took under two minutes for St. Olaf to score again. After the Ole defense forced another quick Carleton punt, Haberman connected with Carson Jones for 32 yards then again with Jennings for a 38-yard touchdown pass.In what proved to be the game’s deciding play, though, Josiah Powell missed the PAT attempt, keeping the score 17-13 and requiring St. Olaf to score another touchdown.

The Oles got the ball back with 2:28 remaining, needing 59 yards for a score. Haberman completed passes of 18, five, and 19 yards, then rushed for five to bring the ball to the Carleton twelve yard-line, but he would go no further.

On the third-and-five, freshman cornerback Paul Hoffer gave his team a lift when he prevented Jennings’ third touchdown catch of the day by elevating to break up a jump-ball end-zone pass. On the Oles’ last chance, Haberman’s pass sailed by diving tight end Mike Shimshock, sending the Carleton sideline and stands into frenzy.

After Schmid took a knee twice to lock up the win, the celebration moved by foot to Bridge Square in downtown Northfield, where the entire Knights team and many parents and fans proudly gathered around the eagle statue, reveling in the fact that it will remain pointing towards the campus of Carleton for a second consecutive year.

Senior captain Phil Blue put it best, saying “honestly, this is the best feeling ever. Last year we beat them for the first time in twelve years. This time it’s even better, because literally, the season is a success if you go out with an Olaf win, and it’s my last season, so I couldn’t be happier right now.”

The Knights will look to continue their winning ways tomorrow in Minneapolis against Augsburg College in a 1 pm contest.

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 *