Royals Run Wild in 58-14 Win over Carleton
NORTHFIELD, Minn.—A wet and windy day in Northfield, Minn., didn't stop Bethel's offense from finishing with nearly 60 points and 550 total yards. The No. 5-ranked Royals (3-0, 1-0 MIAC) used 348 rushing yards, exceptional defense, and sound special teams to top the hosting Knights (2-1, 1-1 MIAC) of Carleton College, 58-14.
The two opponents went back-and-forth in the opening 18 minutes of the game, as each squad scored two touchdowns to make the score 14-14 with 12:31 remaining in the second quarter. But from there it was all Bethel, as the Royals scored 44 unanswered points in the remaining 42 minutes of the game. Perhaps the most impressive stretch came right after Carleton evened the game at 14, as BU scored 21 points in a 2:07 time frame. From there, the Royals tallied 23 more points in the second half.
Marshall Klitzke helped the Royals score first, as he capped off the opening drive with a two-yard rushing touchdown. Teammate Brandon Marquardt continued the running trend, as he scored from nine yards out on the first play of the second quarter. That would be just a taste of what Marquardt went on to accomplish, though, as he put the Royals ahead to stay 21-14 with a 68-yard run two and a half minutes later.
A Carleton fumble on the ensuing kickoff possession back to Bethel in a hurry, and the Royals didn't waste any time. On the very next play, Erik Peterson found Jay Hilbrands for a 13-yard score—Hilbrands's first of the year—to give the Royals a 28-14 lead.
The Knights went 3-and-out after receiving the BU kickoff and while attempting to punt, sophomore linebacker Landon Mathis blocked the Carleton kick and Will Van Duzer landed on the ball in the end zone to give Bethel a 35-14 lead going into the half.
Right before the half ended, senior linebacker Seth Mathis recorded his sixth tackle of the game, which helped him become the all-time leader in career tackles at Bethel University. His record-breaking tackle was one of several that helped hold Carleton scoreless in a goal line situation. Mathis ended the game with 10 tackles, which puts him at 258.5 career tackles.
Both teams started the second half with a punt, but it was Philip Peterson's 49-yard punt that bounced out of bounds at the Carleton one-yard-line that set up a Carleton safety with 10:10 on the clock.
Leading 37-14, Bethel continued to run the ball well, as Marshall Klitzke recorded his second touchdown of the day on a 47-yard rush that capped a three-play, 72-yard drive.Josh Werness went for a 40-yard scamper late in the third quarter that helped him score his second touchdown of the year and Brandon Marquardt finished the Royals scoring with a 57-yard dash—his third rushing touchdown of the day.
Altogether, Marquardt had a career day—rushing for 181 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns and an average of 12.9 yards per carry. Klitzke wasn't far behind—finishing with 70 yards on nine carries—with two touchdowns and a 7.8 yards per carry average.
Erik Peterson finished the day 19-of-27 for 190 yards and one touchdown. Peterson continues his streak of zero interceptions through three games, as he found seven different receivers again Saturday. Mitch Hallstrom caught seven passes for 76 yards, while Jay Hilbrands completed his stat line with four catches, 40 yards, and one touchdown.
David Morgan led the Royals defense with 13 tackles, including seven solo, while Seth Mathis finished with 10 and six solo. Kevin Flaherty wrapped up nine tackles, including two for a loss of 10 yards. He and Luke Buttenhoff each recorded a half-sack in the contest.
The Royals finished with 26 first downs and 541 yards of total offense, while holding the Knights to 14 first downs and 282 yards of offense. Phillip Peterson recorded four punts on the day with an average punt of 41.5 yards.
Bethel will celebrate homecoming next week, as the Royals welcome Augsburg College to Royal Stadium for what is projected to be a MIAC showcase. Kickoff is set to begin at 1 p.m. with many festivities taking place the morning before.