ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
For the third straight game the Carleton College football team fell behind early. This time, the Knights (2-1, 1-1 MIAC) could not make up the difference and dropped their first game of the season, falling 52-14 to Bethel University, the eighth-ranked team in the country.
As they had in the season-opening win at Grinnell and again in last week’s triumph over Hamline, the Knights found themselves on the wrong end of a 14-0 score at the end of the first quarter. This time, the deficit was too large to overcome—even though Carleton actually doubled the combined scoring output of the Royals’ first two opponents—as the Royals (3-0, 1-0 MIAC) racked up 511 yards of total offense, 249 of those coming on the ground, to remain unbeaten on the year.
Mike Hartwell (Sr./Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North) came off the bench and led the Knights’ offense in his first appearance of the season as he accounted for both of Carleton’s scores. He finished the day with 70 yards and a touchdown through the air and rushed nine times for 43 yards and a score.
On the other side of the ball, Zach Heinrich (So./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) paced the Knights with nine tackles and a sack. Caleb Hyde (Sr./Rogers, Minn./Rogers) also contributed three tackles and a sack, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble in the fourth quarter to halt the high-powered Royals’ offense.
Bethel struck early, taking the lead just over a minute into the contest. On only the third play of the game, quarterback Erik Peterson hit tight end Kyle Ulstad, who rumbled down the sideline for a 64-yard score. After a fumble by the Knights, the Royals took over in Carleton territory and capitalized with a 46-yard drive, adding to their lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Derek Waldbillig.
The second quarter started in a similar way for Bethel. The Royals drove 48 yards in just under two minutes and capped the drive with another Waldbillig touchdown. However, the Knights blocked the Bethel extra-point attempt to keep the score at 20-0.
The Knights struck back later in the period on Hartwell’s first touchdown of the day. He hit a wide-open Chase Gottschalk (Jr./Independence, Minn./Orono) down the middle of the field, and Gottschalk outran the remaining Royal defenders for a 66-yard touchdown, Carleton’s longest play of the season.
Bethel responded later in the half when Marshall Klitzke took a hand off and scampered 51 yards down the sideline to extend the lead to three scores. The Knights failed to respond on their next drive, and the Royals missed a 49-yard field goal attempt as the clock expired, keeping the score at 27-7 going into halftime.
The Royals’ offense continued to in the third quarter, reaching the endzone four times on touchdown runs of 46, 2, and 63 yards plus a 67-yard score via the passing game.
In the fourth quarter, Carleton showed signs of life on offense when Hartwell contributed his second score of the day. On second down, he found an opening and scampered 49 yards to the end zone for the third rushing touchdown of his career. However, this was too little, too late, and time expired with the Knights inside the Bethel 10-yard line.
The Knights face another tough challenge next Saturday when they host No. 3 University of St. Thomas for a 1:10 p.m. kickoff. Live audio and video will be available on Knights Online with Gordy Kosfeld calling the action on KQCL 95.9 FM in the Northfield/Faribault area.