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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Football falls in last minute at Gustavus

<s deja vu all over again for the Carleton football team last Saturday as the Knights lost on the road for the second straight week in another game that easily could have been won. This time it was Gustavus Adolphus College rallying to beat Carleton 28-21 in the closing seconds.

The Knights (3-3, 1-3 MIAC) built a 21-6 lead early in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Vaughn Schmid connected with his favorite endzone target, Anthony Kemper, for the rookie’s second touchdown catch of the day, but the offense went drier than an Olaf dorm party from then on and Gustavus grabbed momentum when Joe Welch took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the house. With the tide now turned, the Gusties continued to roar back, adding a two point conversion and eventually the game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds to play.

The Carleton offense, which had more turnovers on the day than your average pastry shop – five to be exact – missed a great opportunity to reclaim the lead late in the fourth quarter. After Gustavus intercepted Schmid at the Knights’ 43 yard-line then tied the game at 21-21 with a touchdown, the Knights finally moved the ball effectively only to see Eric Murphy’s 32-yard field goal attempt blocked with 2:33 to play, giving the ball back to the Gusties for what would turn out to be the game-winning drive.

Things looked good for the Knights early in the contest when they blocked a field goal of their own to snuff Gustavus’ opening drive. Sophomore Kyle Jacobs scooped up the loose ball and returned it 47 yards to the Gustie 31 yard-line, setting up a one-yard Jon Lien touchdown plunge.

Gustavus came right back and scored a touchdown of their own on the next possession, but Carleton continued its best Dikembe Mutombo impression, blocking the PAT kick to keep a 7-6 cushion.

The Knights got on the board again early in the second quarter when Schmid engineered a 60-yard drive that culminated in Kemper’s first touchdown grab of the afternoon. Things began to get hairy after that, however, and not because John Schlaefer entered the game for Carleton. For the remainder of the half, the score remained 14-6, as Schmid was intercepted twice and fumbled the ball once. Junior safety Neil Kolstad gave the Knights a lift when he vetoed a potential Gustie scoring drive with a red zone interception late in the quarter, but Carleton could not capitalize on offense.

Interceptions aside, Schmid threw for a career-high 25 completions on 44 attempts for 258 yards and the two scores. After rushing for 105 yards against Augsburg the previous week, however, the sophomore’s legs played hooky on Saturday, as Schmid carried the ball only three times for a whopping total of negative two yards.

Lien plowed on for 89 yards rushing on 24 carries and also added three receptions for 46 yards. Sophomore Erik Fabry, who has stepped into Matt Frank’s old role as short-yardage receiver, led the team with six receptions for 60 yards. Kemper, who seems to be taking the other half of the vacated Frank-Chris Gardner duo, finished the day with four catches for 48 yards. His six touchdown grabs on the season ranks second among MIAC receivers.

With the loss, the Knights finish the first half of the conference season at a frustrating 1-3. To have any hope of finishing with a winning record in MIAC play, Carleton needs a win at home tomorrow. It won’t be easy, though, as the Knights welcome #19 St. Thomas to campus. The Tommies will be bloodthirsty, too, after suffering their first loss of the year in overtime to #5 Saint John’s last Saturday.

Never underestimate the Ramler Factor, though, as Carleton will be looking for its fourth win over a nationally-ranked opponent in as many years under their inimitable head coach. The skies have promised to be only partly cloudy with just a 10% chance of rain, so come on out to Laird Stadium tomorrow at 1 pm for what could be the upset of the year!

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