NORTHFIELD, Minn. – With the alumni out in full force for homecoming weekend, the Carleton College football team put a scare into No. 23 Saint John’s, but in the end, the Johnnies prevailed, 23-13. The Knights (3-3, 1-3 MIAC) took a 13-10 lead early in the second half, but Saint John’s (6-1, 4-1 MIAC) responded with two quick scores and held on for the victory.
Saint John led 10-0 midway through the second quarter and was threatening again when rookie cornerback Dylan Saline (Fy./Anoka, Minn./Champlin Park) picked off a Nick Martin pass in the end zone and raced up the sideline. While the Knights didn’t capitalize on this possession, they responded before the end of the half with a nine-play, 73-yard drive for a score. Chase Gottschalk (Sr./Independence, Minn./Orono) reeled in a 19-yard touchdown strike from Conor Lynch (Sr./Salem, Ore./South Salem) with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
The Knights, playing their third nationally-ranked opponent over the last four weeks, maintained the momentum on their first drive of the second half, marching 78 yards in just over four minutes. This drive was also capped by another Lynch-Gottschalk connection. The 16-yard score gave Carleton its first lead of the contest, 13-10.
This advantage proved to be short-lived, as the Johnnies reached the end zone twice later in the quarter to put themselves ahead for good. SJU quarterback Nick Martin overcame four turnovers—three interceptions and a fumble—with a 37-yard touchdown pass to go along with scoring runs of 12 and 13 yards in the first and third quarters, respectively.
The Carleton defense held its own for much of the day and forced two of the four turnovers in the red zone. Alex Polk (Jr./Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) helped carry the load, notching 11 tackles and picking up his first interception of the season. Jon Rowe (Sr./St. Cloud, Minn./Cathedral) contributed two sacks, one of which included a forced fumble, and Mason Schnarr (Fy./Evansville, Ind./Francis J. Reitz) tallied 15 tackles to increase his team-leading total to 64 on the year.
The contest began as a defensive battle with turnovers thwarting the action early on. The Johnnies broke through late in the first quarter with a 30-yard field goal by Alexi Johnson. Less than three minutes later, they found the end zone for the first time on Martin’s 12-yard scramble.
Lynch finished the day 20-of-41 for 221 yards and the two touchdowns. Gottschalk caught six passes for a game-high 88 yards and both scores, and Anthony Kemper (Sr./Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake) chipped in five catches for 71 yards.
Carleton will travel across the Cannon River next Saturday, Oct. 26, to face St. Olaf College in the battle for the Goat Trophy. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Live audio of the game will be available on Knights Online with Gordy Kosfeld calling the action on KQCL 95.9 FM in the Northfield/Faribault area.