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MIAC Football: Final Tune-Ups for Conference Play
by Rich Mies, CSN Mapping the MIAC Columnist
The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference concluded its final week of non-conference games and posted a 5-3 record. Concordia, Saint John’s and St. Olaf improved to 2-0 on the year. The Cobbers routed Valley City State 43-28, the Johnnies held off UW-Eau Clare 35-27 and the Oles hammered Pacific Lutheran 46-7. Hamline kicked off 2009 with a 34-0 win over Martin Luther and Carleton opened its season with a 27-21 win over Cornell. Bethel lost to fifth ranked Wheaton on a touchdown as time expired, 29-26. Gustavus’ rally fell short as they were intercepted in the end zone with 0:09 to play and fell to Coe 27-24. Augsburg dropped a 34-21 decision at Wartburg.
WHEATON 29 BETHEL 26
The Thunder, ranked fifth in the nation, rallied in the closing seconds to tip the Royals 29-26 in Arden Hills. Sean Norris, under intense pressure, got off a five-yard scoring strike to Justin Zeller as the clock expired before 4,567 at Royal Stadium.
Kicking was a trouble spot for both teams. Bethel had a field goal attempt blocked and missed a pair of PATs. Wheaton missed a PAT, had a botched snap on a field goal attempt and had a field goal attempt blocked. Each team also lined up for a punt but the snap was botched and the kicker was unable to get off the kick.
Wheaton, making it’s first-ever trip to Bethel, took the opening kickoff and methodically drove downfield before the Royals defense tightened up. The drive stalled at the Bethel 24. From there, Scott Roche drilled a 41-yard field goal, putting the Thunder on top 3-0.
The defenses dominated the rest of the first half, keeping both teams out of the end zone. On its first possession, Bethel attempted a 30-yard field goal, but the kick was blocked. On the second play of the second quarter, the Royals’ Tim Cornish got his hand on a Wheaton field goal attempt and deflected the ball.
Bethel took over at its 20 and moved the chains quickly, stringing together a nine-play drive. Josh Aakre capped the drive by rifling the ball to Joel Quick in single coverage down the right sideline. He streaked past the defender and into the end zone. The PAT sailed wide right, but the Royals held a 6-3 lead.
Shortly after that, Wheaton capitalized on one of three BU turnovers on the day. An interception by JD East gave the Thunder the ball near the midfield stripe. Twelve plays later, Rocky Gingg blasted through the left side of the line, reaching pay dirt. However, the PAT caromed off the left upright, sending the teams into the intermission with Wheaton clinging to a 9-6 lead.
Bethel was unable to move the ball on the opening series of the second half and lined up to punt. A bad snap prevented Kevin Ness from attempting the kick, and Wheaton took over on the Bethel 33. Two plays later, Gingg muscled into the end zone. With the PAT, the Thunder increased its lead to 16-6.
The Royals marched right back down the field, needing 12 plays to traverse 67 yards. Dusty Wahl got the call from one yard out and bulldozed in for the TD. With the PAT, the gap was cut to 16-13.
Wheaton countered with a quick eight-play drive that Norris punctuated by hitting Danny Hindman in the end zone from three yards out. That put the Thunders’ lead at 23-13, and glum expressions filled the Royal cheering section.
Bethel appeared to stall after three snaps, and lined up to punt. The snap went to Reid Velo rather than to the punter and Velo drilled a 23-yard pass to Cornish for a first down that breathed life into the Royals and their fans. Six snaps later, Aakre rolled into the end zone from the one yard line as the clock expired for the end of the third quarter. With the PAT, Bethel had pulled back within three, 23-20.
Wheaton’s ensuing drive stalled at the Bethel 27. The Thunder lined up for a field goal, but the snap was low and the ball was downed, giving possession to Bethel. The Royals worked quickly, needing just six plays to reach the end zone. On the final play, Aakre faked a handoff but dropped the ball. He recovered it and flipped a two-yard pass to Logan Flannery in the end zone. The PAT attempt sailed wide to the right, but BU held a 26-23 lead.
The Royals appeared to have sealed the game as Brendan Flaherty picked off and errant pass on Wheaton’s next possession. However, the Thunder forced Bethel to punt, and took over at the Bethel 46 with 2:11 to play. They moved down to the BU 16. There, they faced third-and-10 with 0:18 on the clock. Norris completed a pass to Any McLain that gained a first down by two inches. Norris followed up by evading three would-be tacklers before firing the ball to an open Zeller in the zone as the horn sounded.
Flannery led the Royal ground game with 1440 yards on 21 carries. Aakre completed 13-of-26 passes for 207 yards, with Gabe Kleinschmidt on the receiving end of five of those for 90 yards.
Bethel drops to 1-1 on the season. The Royals kick off the MIAC portion of their schedule at Carleton on Saturday.
Around the MIAC:
CONCORDIA 43 VALLEY CITY STATE 28
The Cobbers broke a 7-7 tie with 24 consecutive points in the second and third quarters to blow past the Vikings in Valley City, ND. Concordia scored on each of its first three possessions, taking control of the tempo from the start.
On their opening drive, the Cobbers marched 68 yards before Justin Brantner plunged in from one yard out, staking Concordia to a 7-0 lead. After Valley City tied the game, the Cobbers strung together another 68-yard drive. A seven-yard scoring pass from Andrew Larson to Bronson Shepherd to take the lead for good capped this one.
Concordia got the ball back after recovering a VCS fumble. Five plays later, Brantner scampered in from four yards out to make it 21-7. They added a 25-yard field goal by Carl Hauser with 0:02 left in the half to take a 24-7 lead into the intermission.
The Cobbers put the game out of reach in the third quarter as Larson dashed in from two yards out. They later added a 24-yard field goal by Hauser and a two-yard scoring run by Tyler Ahlf to wrap up their scoring.
Larson finished the day 11-for-17 for 120 yards to pace the Cobber offense. Brantner added 72 yards on the ground.
Concordia improves to 2-0 overall. They open MIAC play this weekend, hosting Saint John’s on Saturday.
SAINT JOHN’S 35 UW-EAU CLARE 27
A blocked PAT and some clutch defense saved the day for the Johnnies as they turned back the Blugolds 35-27 to the delight of 8,679 at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville. The eleventh-ranked Johnnies rushed for 296 yards, their largest single-game output in five years.
The Jays took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter as Stephen Johnson scored his first collegiate touchdown. The one-yard run capped a 62-yard drive.
UWEC quickly wiped that lead off the boards, countered with a TD of its own just 33 seconds into the second stanza.
The Johnnies strung together and 85-yard drive, using five plays to march downfield late in the second quarter. With 0:58 left in the half, Jakob Reding busted into the end zone from two yards out for the score. The PAT was botched, but the Johnnies took a 13-7 lead into the break.
Taking the opening kick of the second half, SJU drove 54 yards over seven plays for another TD, this one on a six-yard run by Harry Awe. With the PAT, the Johnnies lead was 20-7.
Eau Clare battled back, scoring a third quarter TD and adding another midway through the fourth. With the PAT on the second TD, the Blugolds took their first lead of the game, 21-20.
The Johnnies refused to give in. They took the ensuing kick and drove downfield, covering 72 yards in ten plays. Joe Boyle capped the drive with a 14-yard scoring scamper, giving SJU a 26-21 lead. The Johnnies opted to try for two and Boyle rolled out to pass but fumbled the ball. He scooped it back up and drilled a pass to Ben Vanderheyden for the two-point conversion and a 28-21 lead.
UWEC countered with a seven play drive of its own, resulting in a touchdown with 1:39 to play. They lined up for a game-tying PAT, but SJU’s Jack Daggett blocked the kick, preserving SJU’s lead.
SJU added another touchdown in a rather unorthodox way. Needing the ball back to score, UWEC’s defense made no effort to tackle SJU’s Sam Pederson, who scurried 37 yards for a final score. The strategy almost worked as UWEC moved the ball to the SJU nine. However, a pair of passes fell incomplete in the end zone, giving SJU the win.
Saint John’s improves to 2-0 on the season. They open MIAC play on Saturday at Concordia.
ST. OLAF 46 PACIFIC LUTHERAN 7
The Oles dictated play on both sides of the line en route to a 46-7 win in Tacoma, WA. They limited the Lutes to only 104 yards in total offense, including -79 on the ground.
The Oles racked up 463 yards in total offense, including 298 yards on the ground. They controlled the ball for 40:58 minutes as they dominated the game from start to finish.
Jon Haberman threw four touchdown passes for the Oles, two of them to Carson Jones. Haberman finished the day 17-of-27 for 147 yards. Jones hauled in four balls for 75 yards. Leon Clark led the ground game with 166 yards.
St. Olaf scored on six of its first nine possessions. After the defense got the ball back on downs, the Oles took their first possession and marched 79 yards in nine plays, with Haberman hitting Jared Miller from seven yards out. On the Oles next possession, Haberman and Jones connected for a 20-yard TD.
The Oles pushed the lead to 17-0 in the second quarter as Josiah Powell drilled a 28-yard field goal. They extended the margin to 24-0 later in the stanza as Haberman and Jones teamed up for s 29-yard scoring strike.
Clark capped the opening drive of the second half with a four-yard rushing touchdown.
PLU finally got on the board in the third quarter with a 63-yard scoring pass from AJ Palazzolo to Greg Ford.
The Oles retaliated with a four-yard TD toss from Haberman to Kevin Foss. They added a fourth quarter safety and a six-yard scamper by Foss to round out the scoring.
St. Olaf is now 2-0 overall for the fifth year in a row. They travel to St. Thomas on Saturday to being the MIAC portion of their schedule.
HAMLINE 34 MARTIN LUTHER 0
The Pipers held Martin Luther to just 115 yards in total offense, allowing only a pair of completed passes, and rolled past Knights 46-0.
Sean Traynor rushed for 100 yards to lead the Pipers. Adam Meyer completed 19 of 30 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns. Ben Johnson caught six passes for 76 yards and a TD to lead the receivers.
Meyer connected for scoring strikes on Hamline’s first two possessions. He opened the scoring with a 26-yard TD toss to Tim Queck and followed that with a five-yard touchdown to Johnson.
In the second quarter, the Pipers scored on a 22-yard field goal by Derek Johnson. Blake Cook added a 28-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter, putting Hamline on top 24-0.
Hamline added a Meyer to Kyle Nitz touchdown from five yards out in the third quarter before Johnson booted a 27-yard fourth quarter field goal.
The Pipers open their MIAC schedule on Saturday by hosting Gustavus.
CARLETON 27 CORNELL (IA) 21
The Knights got a huge goal line stand in the final seconds to preserve a 27-21 win over the Rams. The game was the Knights’ season opener and was played in front of 1132 fans at Laird Stadium in Northfield.
Cornell drew first blood, as Andrew Burdick completed a 24-yard scoring pass to Chris Lopez, giving the Rams a 7-0 lead.
Carleton countered with a 25-yard scoring strike from Vaughn Schmid to Billy Shapiro early in the second quarter. Schmid later teamed up with Anthony Kemper from seven yards out to lift the Knights into the lead, 14-7.
Schmid and Kemper hooked up again early in the third quarter, this time for 47 yards, to give Carleton a comfortable 21-7 margin. The Rams bounced back and scored on a 12-yard pass from Burdick to Michel Goering.
Things got wild in the fourth quarter. On the second play of the stanza, Carleton’s Zack Armstrong blocked a field goal attempt and the Knights recovered the ball. The Knights converted that into points, as they marched downfield for a touchdown. Schmid capped the drive with a six-yard run. However, the PAT was blocked, and Carleton led 27-14.
The Rams responded by driving 64 yards on eight plays, with Burdick punctuating the drive with a four-yard TD pass to Thomas Connor, trimming the margin to 27-21. The Knights were unable to move the chains and were forced to punt. Cornell drove down to the ten yard line, setting up first and goal. They were able to get to the two, and faced fourth and goal there with 0:18 on the clock. Burdick’s pass fell incomplete, sealing the win for Carleton.
Schmid led the Knights with 14-of-29 passing for 224 yards in his college debut. Jon Lien piled up 150 yards in total offense, with 88 on the ground and 62 on receptions.
Carleton is 1-0 in 2009. They open their MIAC schedule on Saturday, hosting Bethel.
COE 27 GUSTAVUS 24
Trailing 27-10 in the fourth quarter, the Gusties rallied but a potentially game-winning pass was picked off in the end zone with 0:09 left to play. That allowed the Kohawks to escape with a 27-24 win before an announced crowd of 3,422 at Hollingsworth Stadium in St Peter. The game was Peter Haugen’s debut as head coach at Gustavus.
After the Gusties opened scoring with a 27-yard field goal by Tom Heupenbecke, Coe took control of the game. The Kohawks steadily built a 20-3 lead over the first three quarters of play and appeared set to coast to the win.
That is when the Gusties came back to life. Early in the fourth quarter, Jordan Becker connected with Cody Sukalski for a two-yard scoring play, trimming the gap to 20-10. However, Coe countered with a 70-yard scoring bomb to extend their lead to 27-10.
On Gustavus’ next possession, Becker hooked up with Cameron Maurer for a 48-yard gain. As Maurer was being tackled, he alertly pitched the ball to Blake Noennig, who took it 14 yards more to the Coe six-yard line. On the next snap, Becker handed off to Kendrick Hall, who scurried in for a touchdown. The PAT was good, pulling GAC within ten, 27-17.
With just six minutes to play, the Gusties opted to try an onside kick. They were successful, recovering the ball at their own 41 yard line. Eight plays later, Becker connected with Elliot Herdina from 13 yards out. With the PAT, the Gusties trailed by three with 2:21 to play.
The defense held, forcing a punt. The Gusties took over at their own eight. Becker and Sukalski teamed up for a 68-yard gain. GAC drove down to the Coe 14. With 0:09 left to play, Becker’s pass was picked off in the end zone, sealing the game for Coe.
Becker finished the day 21-for-37 for 348 yards. He was sacked five times and threw a pair of interceptions. Maurer was on the receiving end of eight of those passes for 137 yards. Hall led the ground attack with 83 yards.
Gustavus is now 0-1 on the season. On Saturday, the Gusties travel to Hamline for the MIAC opener for both teams.
WARTBURG 34 AUGSBURG 21
The Auggies rallied from a third quarter deficit, but could not overcome the Knights, falling 34-21 in Waverly, IA Saturday night. The loss snaps a two-year streak of wins over Wartburg by Augsburg.
Trailing 24-7 midway through the third quarter, the Auggies came back to life. Waylon Hartwick capped a 60-yard drive by diving in from two yards out. Later that quarter, Marcus Brumm found pay dirt from three yards out, trimming the gap to 24-21. However, the Auggies were stopped on fourth and goal from the two early in the fourth quarter, and the momentum shifted back to Wartburg.
Brumm completed 29-of-61 passes for 337 yards. He was not sacked but threw a pair of interceptions. Mike Nourie hauled in 10 catches for 103 yards and Muneer Al-Hameed had nine catches for 119 yards.
September 18, 2009 – all at 1 PM
Bethel @ Carleton
Gustavus @ Hamline
Saint John’s @ Concordia
St. Olaf @ St. Thomas