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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Near miss for football, losing 31-28 at Augsburg; Gustavus Next

<otball is a game of inches, and sometimes you have to learn it the hard way.

Carleton came up just short on both of its final drives, and a 24-yard field goal by Augsburg’s Jack Christopherson with 6:55 remaining proved the difference as the Auggies defeated the Knights, 31-28, at Edor Nelson Field last Saturday.

Coming into the game with the leading pass offense in the MIAC, Augsburg (2-3, 1-2 MIAC) surprised the Knights (3-2, 1-2 MIAC) with their ground game, amassing 304 rushing yards on the day.

After leading 21-13 at halftime, the Knights yielded 15 unanswered points on two Auggie touchdowns in the third quarter before sophomore quarterback Vaughn Schmid tied the game at 28-28 with his two-yard touchdown run with 13:07 left in the fourth.

After Christopherson’s field goal put the Auggies back on top, Carleton drove into Augsburg territory. A five-yard Jon Lien rush brought the Knights to the 28-yard line, but a costly holding penalty pushed them back 10 yards and on fourth-and-14, Schmid’s scramble came up two yards short, and the Auggies took over on downs with 1:49 remaining in the game.

The Carleton defense forced a quick three-and-out as the Knights used all three timeouts to get the ball back on the Auggies’ 44-yard line with 1:22 still to play. But with just 23 seconds remaining, Schmid fumbled the ball just inside the line as he tried to get out of bounds on a third-down rush that would have brought the Knights into potential field-goal range. Augsburg recovered the turnover, sealing the win for the hosts.

Schmid completed 21-of-35 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns and ran for the ball 16 times for a career-high 105 yards and two more scores to lead the Carleton offense.

The Auggie attack was equally formidable, though, as quarterback Marcus Brumm passed for 206 yards and ran for 162 more, accounting for three Augsburg touchdowns (one passing, two rushing). Running back Waylon Hartwick added 119 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

The Auggies found the end zone on the game’s opening drive when Brumm hustled in from seven yards, but Christopherson’s PAT attempt failed, allowing the Knights to take a 7-6 lead after Schmid’s 50-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass to Erik Fabry with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter.

Carleton padded the cushion early in the second quarter when Schmid found Anthony “Touchdown” Kemper from 19 yards out. Knights’ junior linebacker Tim Mulso intercepted Brumm on the ensuing possession, but Mulso fumbled the ball on the return, and the Auggies recovered. Three minutes later, Brumm connected with tight end Josh Pronschinske on a 15-yard strike to bring the score to 14-13.

Augsburg had a chance to take the lead later in the quarter, but Christopherson’s 25-yard field goal attempt was blocked, and the Knights capped an 80-yard drive with Schmid’s first rushing touchdown of the game with 24 seconds left in the half. After Augsburg returned the kickoff 40 yards, the hosts missed another scoring opportunity when Christopherson missed wide left on a 30-yard attempt on the final play of the half.

The Auggies wasted no time taking hold of the momentum in the third quarter, however. After the Knights were forced to punt on their opening drive, Brumm found a hole on Augsburg’s third play of the possession and dashed 77 yards for the touchdown. After another short Carleton possession, the Auggies took the lead on Hartwick’s seven-yard run. Augsburg faked the kick on the PAT, and Andy Roff ran in for the two-point conversion, putting the Auggies on top 28-21 with 7:04 left in the third quarter and setting the stage for the late-game dramatics.

In addition to Schmid’s impressive offensive performance, Lien ran the ball 12 times for 80 yards. Fabry had five catches for 70 yards and the early touchdown, while Kemper’s score was one of four catches for a total of 76 yards. Junior tight end Tyler Palin added a career-high four receptions for 60 yards. Mulso and sophomore Erin Jones each recorded 12 tackles to lead the Carleton defense. In addition to Mulso’s pick, freshman cornerback Paul Hoffer also had an interception.

With the loss, the Knights find themselves in a logjam in the middle of the MIAC standings heading into the second half of the season. With conference juggernauts Saint John’s and St. Thomas still ahead on the schedule, Carleton will look to build momentum with a win tomorrow at Gustavus Adolphus College (2-3, 1-2 MIAC) in a 1 pm contest. The Knights will be looking to snap a 12-game losing streak against the Gusties.

If you can’t trek west through the prairie to St. Peter and see the game live, it will be broadcast live on KDHL 95.9 as well as Knights Online.

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