The Carleton College football team returned to the win column with a complete all-around performance in picking up a 56-17 road win at Macalester College. The Knights scored early and often with the victory meaning they maintain possession of the “Book of Knowledge” trophy for another year as this is Carleton’s 11th consecutive victory in the series.
After disappointing results against national No. 5 Bethel and No. 6 St. Thomas the last two weeks, the Knights had it going on both sides of the ball from the opening kickoff. The end result was Carleton moving back over .500 and posting its highest point total since a 59-7 triumph over Augsburg on Oct. 22, 1991.
“I’m really proud of our guys bouncing back and having a quality win today after two really tough opponents,” said Carleton head coach Bob Pagel. “The guys played well from the very beginning and executed at a high level.”
The Knights totaled 296 rushing yards, the most they’ve accumulated since running for 307 during an overtime win at Macalester two years ago. Chris Madden ‘17 was a big part of today’s success in the running game, posting a career-high 124 yards on only 12 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown scamper.
Quarterback Conor Lynch ‘14 was effective on the ground—adding career highs with 98 yards and a pair of touchdown runs—and the air, where he went 10-of-14 for 165 yards, including scoring passes of 35, 25, and 47 yards.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Knights marched 65 yards on 13 plays, 11 of them rushes, with John Baker ‘14 capping the drive with a 2-yard plunge over a pile of players at the goal line.
The Carleton defense forced a three-and-out, and on fourth-and-six from the Scots’ 35-yard line, Lynch found Chase Gottschalk ‘14 on a post pattern for a touchdown.
Carleton’s defense came up with the first of five turnovers on the next Macalester possession as Dan Cook ‘15 intercepted a pass deep in Knights territory.
Early in the second quarter, cornerback Josh Estes ‘14 figured in the first of his three turnovers, recovering a fumble at the Macalester 25-yard line. On the very next play, Lynch hit Matt Mensinger ‘16 on a crossing route, and the tight end out-ran the defense to the corner of the endzone. The extra point put the visitors up, 21-0.
On the following Macalester drive, the Scots had fourth-and-one in Carleton territory but Cook sacked Macalester quarterback Sampson Bialostok to give the Knight offense the ball back. Eight consecutive rushes later, Lynch broke free and dashed 12 yards for his first rushing score of the game, and Carleton would carry the 28-0 advantage into halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, Estes forced another Macalester fumble near midfield, and Mason Schnarr ‘17 jumped on the loose ball. On the next play from scrimmage, Lynch hooked up with Anthony Kemper ‘14 down the far sideline for a 47-yard score.
After Macalester finally got on the scoreboard, Lynch capped another 13-play drive with a 1-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal at the end of the third quarter.
Carleton’s last two touchdown’s also came because of big plays by the defense. Nick Herringer ‘14 forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Carleton 21-yard line. Two plays later, Madden followed a great block by tight end Brian Frett ‘14 and raced 75 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown. It ends up as the second-longest rush from scrimmage in recorded Carleton football history, trailing only a 76-yard dash by Kyle Swartout at Macalester on Sept. 30, 2000.
Early on the next Scots’ possession, Estes factored in his third turnover of the contest. He stepped in front of a pass toward the outside and scooted 39 yards up the far sideline for the Knights’ final score of the game.
“This was definitely our most complete game of the season,” Pagel said. “We did some great things offensively, defensively, and on special teams. We did a good job in all three elements today. The kids worked hard. They earned this, and we’re going to enjoy it.”
Carleton will face its third nationally-ranked opponent in four weeks when the Knights host No. 25 Saint John’s University for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 19. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.