NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- The Carleton College football team racked up 311 yards of total offense on Saturday, but the Knights (2-2, 1-2 MIAC) failed to overcome yet another early deficit, falling to No. 3 University of St. Thomas, 47-24. The 24 points marked a season-best for the Knights and also matched the highest total allowed by the Tommie defense this year.
“I’m tremendously proud of the guys for the way they battled today,” said Carleton head coach Bob Pagel. “We had another tough opponent, and the guys played hard for four quarters and left it all on the field. I can’t ask for more than that.”
Conor Lynch (Jr./Salem, Ore./South Salem) paced the Carleton offense, passing for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Jordan Butler (Sr./El Mirage, Ariz./Dysart) picked up his first rushing score of the year from 11 yards out.
The Tommies (4-0, 2-0 MIAC) struck quickly, scoring on their first play from scrimmage on a 79-yard pass from Matt O’Connell to Dan Ferrazzo. The Knights came back with Kyle Kasten’s (So./Nairobi, Kenya/International School of Kenya) first field goal of the season, but St. Thomas added to their lead late in the first quarter on a 54-yard rush by Brenton Braddock.
The Knights responded early in the second period with a fake punt that resulted in their first touchdown. On fourth-and-nine, linebacker Zach Heinrich (So./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) received a direct snap and hit Chase Gottschalk (Jr./Independence, Minn./Orono) down the middle of the field. Gottschalk then cut through the Tommie defense for a 53-yard score.
St. Thomas added to their lead before intermission when O’Connell scampered for a 56-yard touchdown. The Tommies were threatening again in the final seconds of the first half, but the Carleton defense – which limited St. Thomas to just 4-of-7 scoring in the red zone – held strong once again, keeping it a 20-10 game at the break.
The Tommies quickly widened the gap in the third quarter, scoring on a 20-yard pass from O’Connell to Dan Noehring, as well as runs of two and five yards by Braddock.
The Carleton offense found life in the fourth quarter when Lynch hit C.J. Dale (Sr./Fox Island, Wash./Charles Wright Academy) for a 20-yard score early in the period. However, the Tommies proceeded to march 70 yards in 12 plays, capped off by a 6-yard rush into the end zone.
The Knights responded by going 80 yards in 11 plays for another touchdown on Butler’s run. Kasten’s successful PAT made the final count 47-24, the most points scored against St. Thomas in 14 games, dating back to Sept. 24, 2011, and the second-most since Oct. 2009.
The Knights are back at Laird Stadium next Saturday for their homecoming game against Macalester College. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. 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.