The 2016 Macalester Scots football season kicked off on September 3, and a lot of the players that manned key positions the previous season returned. That included QB Christian Adams, WRs Tre Nowaczynski, Sam Bordo, Garrett Eichhorn, and Jonathan Knee, but one huge difference would be that star running back Zandy Stowell had graduated, leaving a huge void in the offense. That led Offensive Coordinator Marc Davies to turn to an aerial attack in the season, thus bringing in a new age in Macalester College Fighting Scots offensive history.
There was another big change in the Scots offense that was on display. Alec Beatty had been one of the team’s quarterbacks in 2015, taking about 45 percent of the snaps behind center. This season, Beatty was moved to wide receiver and the change proved to be a hugely success move.
On the second possession of the game for the Scots, Adams faded back to pass on third and 9 from his own five-yard line. It looked like he would be sacked, but he was able to get away from the rush and move outside. That gave Beatty enough time to get beyond the defense. Adams threw a perfect strike to the wide out at the 25, and Beatty then ran the length of the field to make it 7-0. The 95-yard touchdown pass would be the longest scoring play of the season for the Scots.
Before the end of the first quarter, kicker Matt Glasenapp hit a 33-yard field goal. Glasenapp normally punted for the Scots during the 2016 season, but with Ben Haltmaier still working himself back from injury, Glasenapp was pressed into emergency duty and he delivered on this day.
The Carleton Knights would respond with 13 straight points to take the lead before half, as the new offense struggled to have the same kind of success they had earlier in the contest. However, the second half would be a breath of fresh air for the team.
It started at the 6:24 mark when Adams threw his second touchdown pass of the game. This time it was a 38-yard strike to Garrett Eichhorn that went for the score and gave the Scots back the lead. The pass was picture perfect from Adams to a streaking Eichhorn, who had gotten a couple of steps on the defensive back down the right side line and gave Macalester a 16-13 lead. ‘
The big play became a huge part of the game, and the first drive of the fourth quarter for Macalester proved this to be true. On second and 10, Adams found Eichhorn again, this time for 51-yards. He would be forced out at the Carlton 24, and three-plays later Beatty would have his second touchdown reception of the game, making it 23-13.
Carleton would cut the lead back to seven, but the onside kick was recovered by the Fighting Scots, giving them the ball at the Knights 45. There was just 1:04 left in the game, and everyone expected the Scots to just run out the clock, but that would not be the case.
Prior to the season, Head Coach Tony Jennison and his staff made it clear that they were not just playing so that they held leads. That when they had the chance, they would go for the throat. This was going to be a season where they clearly won games, and that showed on the first play of the drive.
Adams went back to pass and found Beatty over the middle. A surprised Carleton defense looked totally unprepared for the play, and the former quarterback raced the length of the field for the 45-yard score. It was his third touchdown of the game and he finished with 160-yards receiving.
The Knights would get one more score before the end of the game, but the Macalester College Fighting Scots would prevail 30-23. It gave the Scots the second victory over the Knights in three seasons, and returned the Book of Knowledge back to the St. Paul school.
Adams and Cody Petrich combined to complete 18 of 41-passes for 370 total yards. Adams threw 4-touchdown passes. Eichhorn also had a huge day receiving, making a team high 8-catches for 136-yards and a TD.
While the aerial attack was quite impressive, the ground game was a big factor in the game as well. Jacob Jones was tough to stop on the day, rushing 18 times for 75-yards. It was a single game high for the junior.
While the 30-points was an impressive start to the season, the Fighting Scots would score 30-plus points three other times in the 2016 season.
On defense, Phil Wettersten led the team with 15-tackles and a sack. Freshman Kiante Miles, appearing in the first game of his college career was second with 13-tackles. Nick Egersdorf, returning from an injury that kept him out of action in 2015, returned to have 9-tackles and 2-sacks. The sack total would be the start of a great year for the senior.
By Robert Pannier