The Knights hoist the Book of Knowledge after rallying for the overtime victory (photo by Lisa Erickson)
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jon Lien (Sr./Lindstrom, Minn./Chisago Lakes) ran for three long touchdowns and a school-record 259 yards—including a game-winning 25-yard rumble in overtime—as the Carleton College football team rallied to defeat Macalester College, 23-17 in overtime. With the victory, the Knights (2-5) retained the Book of Knowledge trophy for the ninth year in a row.
Lien broke a nearly 48-year old program mark with his rushing total, besting the 243 yards accumulated by Jack Bestrom versus Monmouth College on Nov. 9, 1963. Lien is just the sixth Carleton player to surpass 200 rushing yards in a game and the first to do so since R.J. Jackson raced for 228 against Hamline on Nov. 13, 2004. (SEE CHART AT BOTTOM)
On the day Lien had scoring rushes of 46, 58 and 25 yards, making this only the 10th recorded time in Carleton history that a Knight had three of more touchdown runs in the same game, and the first since the 2004 season. He also became only the seventh Knight to surpass 2,000 rushing yards for his career. He entered the day needing just 14 yards to reach that plateau and did so midway through the second quarter on his third carry of the contest. His record-breaking day was just getting started, however, and he would later move past Kurt DeMarais ’84 and into sixth place on the all-time rushing list with 2,245 yards, only 35 behind Skye Flanagan ’98 for fifth. (SEE CHART AT BOTTOM)
"The offensive line really came through today and were the reason for the offense's success,” Lien said. “The fact that I was able to run for all the yards and the three touchdowns was just an effect of the way the offense has practiced all year."
Lien carried the ball 28 times on the day as Carleton amassed 307 yards on the ground, but his amazing day almost didn’t happen. He forgot to pack his cleats for the game.
Fortunately for the Knights, defensive end Keenan Hartert (Jr./Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs) had an extra pair the Carleton fullback could borrow. “I'm typically not very superstitious, but with the way the game turned out, I'm probably going to keep borrowing Keenan's cleats for the rest of the year,” Lien said.
The Knights capitalized on four Macalester turnovers—including a trio of fumbles—to complete their comeback victory. Cornerback Jordan Soteros (So./Scottsdale, Ariz./Pinnacle) intercepted a fourth-quarter pass and later forced a critical fumble deep in Carleton territory in the final moments of regulation.
Macalester (3-4) got on the board early with a 36-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter. The Knights responded with about two minutes remaining before halftime on Lien’s first touchdown of the day, a 46-yard scamper. He burst through the defensive line and simply outran the defense on—what was at the time—Knights’ longest offensive play of the season.
The Scots recaptured the lead with 10 seconds left before intermission on a three-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Clark Bledsoe to Sam Marshall.
The momentum appeared to be swinging in Macalester’s direction in the second half, as the Scots added to their lead with an 11-yard rush by Bledsoe late in the third quarter. However, less than a minute later, the Knights responded when Lien picked up his second score of the day on a 58-yard run.
After the teams exchanged punts, Soteros came up with his third interception in the last two games, returning the ball to the Scots’ 19-yard line. The Knights came up empty on the drive but caught a huge break when they elected to punt two drives later.
Bill Moritz’s (Sr./Hutchinson, Minn./Hutchinson) kick hit a Macalester blocker and was recovered by Andy Zweber (Jr./Elko, Minn./New Prague) at the Scots’ 16-yard line. That gaffe led to Eric Murphy’s (Sr./Stillwater, Okla./Stillwater) game-tying 30-yard field goal three plays later.
Macalester threatened once again as Bledsoe completed a deep pass down the sideline to Marshall. The Scot caught the ball at the 30-yard line, but Soteros ripped the ball out from behind, and safety Mike Elder (Jr./San Antonio, Texas/Central Catholic) recoverd at the 18-yard line. Carleton ran out the clock, sending the game to overtime.
The Knights won the coin toss and elected to play defense first. Carleton held the Scots' offense on its attempt in overtime, forcing kicker Auburn Jimenez to attempt a 34-yard field goal. The kick sailed wide left, and the Knights started their possession only needing three points to secure the victory. But Carleton got more than was necessary on the Knights’ first play of the extra period. Lien’s 25-yard scoring rumble put the finishing touches on the victory.
Defensively, Carleton was led by Soteros, Mark Skoglund (Sr./Murdock, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg), Justin Rotman (Sr./Minnetonka, Minn./Minnetonka), and Hartert. In addition to having a part in a pair of turnovers, Soteros also had six tackles and a pass breakup. Skoglund had 10 tackles on the day and forced one of the fumbles. Rotman had nine tackles and recovered a fumble, and Hartert had two sacks on the day, running his season total to five-and-a-half.
“The defense was able to keep the game close like they've been doing all year. Eventually, the offense started rolling and the rush yards started piling up quickly behind the o-line and great down field blocks by the receivers,” Lien said. “It was really nice that all of team's hard work was able to pay off with a victory.
“It was a great win for the team. We've had some tough losses this season, so this come-from-behind victory was really satisfying. Being able to keep the ‘Book of Knowledge’ means a lot to us, and hopefully we can build on the victory.”
The Knights travel to Collegeville next weekend for a MIAC-showdown with Saint John’s University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. All games this season can be heard on KQCL 95.9 FM in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide via Knights Online.
MOST RUSHING YARDS - GAME
|259||--||Jon Lien||at Macalester||--||10/22/11|
|228||--||R.J. Jackson||at Hamline||--||11/13/04|
|224||--||Adam Henry||St. Olaf||--||10/17/92|
|218||--||Skye Flanagan||St. Olaf||--||10/25/97|
|205||--||Erik Fisher||at Colorado Col.||--||11/15/03|
|192||--||Erik Fisher||at Hamline||--||11/1/03|
MOST RUSHING YARDS - CAREER
MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS - GAME
|5||--||Skye Flanagan||St. Thomas||--||9/28/96|
|--||Greg Fitzharris||at St. Johns’s||--||9/22/90|
|--||Dan Nienhuis||at Northwestern||--||9/6/86|
|--||Erik Fisher||at Colorado Col.||--||11/15/03|
|--||Jon Lien||at Macalester||--||10/22/11|