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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Football smokes Pipers for first win

<st week’s flood of biblical proportions may have drowned the football team’s home stadium and practice fields, but it could not wash away their resolve, as the Knights dug deep on Saturday to notch their first win of the season in a rousing 45-21 blowout of host Hamline University.

Playmakers abounded on both sides of the ball for Carleton, as the Knights used three interceptions and strong special teams play to complement a balanced offensive attack that put up the school’s highest single-game point total since “Showtime” Shane Henfling led the squad to 49 points in an epic Homecoming win over Augsburg on October 11, 2008.

Though the Knights may not agree with maritime prose in these moist times, with Vaughn Schmid at the helm of their proverbial schooner the team racked up 293 yards passing and another 184 yards on the ground.

Running back Jon Lien delighted his fantasy owners with a stellar performance, running as free as the waters of the Cannon to the tune of 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Lien started his productive afternoon with a bang when he completed the Knights’ 94-yard opening drive with a 71-yard touchdown run that suggested to the Pipers that domination was in the air on this day. Also in the air were a career-best 107 yards receiving for senior wideout Killian Murphy, who starred alongside Lien as a key cog in the Knights’ offense.

Hamline quarterback Adam Meyer could not find the same rhythm enjoyed by the Knights passing game, with his first interception coming in his own territory at the hands of cornerback DeAngelo Williams, whose dual performance as kick returner garnered recognition as MIAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Williams’ pick set the table for kicker Eric Murphy punching one through the uprights from 28 yards out to give Carleton a double-digit advantage.

Though the Pipers responded with a touchdown of their own that made it 10-7, Kurt Ramler’s defense would soon ramp up the intensity and hold Hamline scoreless for the rest of the half. Carleton was able to generate some momentum going into the locker room by finishing a scoring drive in the half’s waning seconds. With 24 seconds to go before intermission, Schmid found his target of preference, Murphy, for an eight-yard touchdown that tipped the scales to 17-7.

After halftime, the Knights turned up the heat and showcased some second-half moxie that had not been present in their previous games. Not long after a big kick return from Williams that aided his candidacy for his special teams superlative, Lien waltzed into the endzone to put the Knights ahead 24-7. The closest that Carleton would come to a slip-up happened on their next possession, when a promising drive was squandered in the red zone after Hamline’s Christian Willman returned an interception 84 yards for a score.
Once the fourth quarter rolled around though, Carleton let it be known that it was Knight Time at Klas Field, as their lead began to swell much like the tributaries of their native watershed.

In a 27-second flurry of activity, the Knights would put up two touchdowns that effectively buried the Pipers. One play removed from a Schmid touchdown run that capped another scoring drive, defensive back Kyle Jacobs found himself clutching the football when Meyer’s second interception of the day made its way into his Wisconsin ham hocks. Seconds later, Schmid went deep to C.J. Dale for a 48-yard touchdown that put Hamline in the rearview-mirror, 38-14.

Not quite satisfied with a 17-point lead in the game’s final minute, linebacker Tim Mulso delivered a knockout punch when he picked off Meyer and then used his shifty kick-holder moves to outfox would-be tacklers as he puttered 74 yards for a long-distance touchdown.
The turbid waters covering the hallowed grounds of Laird Stadium have since receded, leaving dead ichthyoids, dashed dreams, and destruction in its wake. Due to the damage sustained to the field and the stadium alike, Carleton will celebrate “Homecoming” this weekend at Northfield High School’s football stadium, when Augsburg College comes to town. Kickoff is still scheduled for 1 p.m. and buses will be made available to shuttle fans from campus to the game.

Once they take the field, the Knights will look to imitate the heroics of the 2008 unit that coincidentally beat Augsburg on Homecoming in the aforementioned white-knuckle shootout.  In that memorable contest, Carleton overcame 508 passing yards from Augsburg gunslinger Jordan Berg to win 49-41, with a Drew Ziller blocked punt return marking the decisive touchdown.

In all likelihood, the Knights will have to go into nomad mode for the foreseeable future, as they will be probably displaced from Laird Stadium for the rest of the year.

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