November 16, 2013

Bethel Completes Perfect Regular Season with 28-7 Win

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Coach Johnson post-game speech
Gatorade bath for Coach Johnson
Bethel receives MIAC Trophy

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.—Already crowned 2013 MIAC football champions, Bethel wasn't satisfied with just a title. Instead they were thirsty for something that had only been done once before in program history—finish the regular season undefeated.  So instead of looking past Saint John's, the Royals (10-0, 8-0 MIAC) held the Johnnies (7-3, 5-3 MIAC) to seven points and 260 yards of total offense to complete its first undefeated regular season since 2000. The 28-7 victory was the fourth win over a regionally ranked opponent and the sixth against a team with a winning record. Additionally, it was the seventh win over SJU in the past eight matchups.

Quarterback Erik Peterson said after the game that he wanted to model to his team that physical toughness was essential to beat SJU and what a model he was. 188 yards in the air on 12-of-22 throwing and 55 yards rushing on nine carries, alongside four touchdowns (two rushing, two throwing) were exactly what Bethel needed in the triumph.
 
Peterson found Mitch Hallstrom seven times for 126 yards and a touchdown—Hallstrom's sixth game with at least 95 yards receiving. Hallstrom's sixth catch—a 20-yard completion in the fourth quarter—helped him secure the all-time record at Bethel for career receptions. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native topped the previous mark that was set by Jeremy Belisle from 1996-1999.

Hallstrom and Jared Schultz each benefited from a Peterson touchdown throw, as Hallstrom caught a 63-yard catch-and-run on 3rd-and-10 on the opening series that went for a BU touchdown. Meanwhile, after Seth Mathis intercepted his fourth pass of the season and a 20-yard run from Brandon MarquardtJared Schultz hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass on the Royals third possession—pushing Bethel's lead to 14-0 in the first quarter.
 
With BU leading 14-7 late in the second quarter, momentum was fairly even and maybe even leaning towards Saint John's, but a critical blocked field goal by Matt Mehlhorn that was returned by Josh Treimer to the SJU 37-yard line set up Erik Peterson's first rushing TD of the day and pushed Bethel's lead to 14 before the half.
 
The Royals held Saint John's scoreless for the final 43:08—forcing the Johnnies to punt three times in the third quarter. Bethel's Kevin Flaherty was on the receiving end of Connor Brun's second interception of the day late in the fourth quarter at the SJU 33-yard line, which set up Peterson's second and final rushing score of the afternoon.

In addition to the aerial attack, Bethel's ground game finished with 174 yards and seven rushing first downs. Brandon Marquardt rushed for 76 yards on 15 carries—averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
 
BU's defense was led by Landon Mathis, who collected 17 tackles—seven solo and ten assisted—one sack for five yards, one forced fumble, and two pass breakups. Seth Mathiswrapped up 13 tackles, while recording an interception and a QB hurry. Will Van Duzermuscled down Bruns at the end of the first half for the Bethel's second sack of the day.

Bethel's offensive line kept Peterson on his feet all day long, while also helping the Royals collect 362 total yards. BU turned the ball over once—deep in Johnnie territory—and averaged 5.9 yards per play.
 
The Royals know they are playoff bound, but what they don't know is what seed they will receive and who they will play. Early speculations presume that Bethel will host the first round of the playoffs at Royal Stadium next Saturday at noon. Fans can watch the selection show tomorrow (Sunday) night at 5 p.m. on NCAA.com.

Sep. 24: All times Eastern
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MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
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at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
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Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
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Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
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Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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Langston at McMurry
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at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
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Sep. 29: All times Eastern
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Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
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Emory and Henry at Washington and Lee
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Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
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at Hobart 27, Union 23
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Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
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St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
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at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
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at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
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at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Central 42, at Loras 34
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St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
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at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
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