Ground Game, Anderson Carry Bethel Royals to Victory, 58-21
The more things change the more they stay the same. At least that is how it looks for the Bethel Royals. The team continues to follow a familiar pattern to victory – solid defense, quality quarterback play, and a bone crushing ground game. That combination gave the Royals a 58-21 win over Carleton College in Arden Hills Saturday afternoon, moving the team to a 3-1 record, while dropping the Knights to 1-3.
Bethel University started freshman Trey Anderson at the quarterback position for the second straight game and, much like his last start, the Royals jumped out to a huge lead before the Knights got a whiff of the end zone. Six first half touchdowns and a field goal staked the Royals to a 45-7 lead at the first intermission and they rolled from there.
The Bethel Royals received the opening kickoff and marched 67-yards in 12-plays before Anderson found Jackson Canfield for the nine-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0. Running back Marshall Klitzke was a key catalyst on the drive, carrying the ball three times for 23-yards, and Anderson completed 3-5 passes for 16-yards, while rushing for 18-yards more. Bridgeport Tusler’s 31-yard carry on second and 17 was the big play of the drive.
Up 7-0 the Royals increased their lead to 14-0 when Anderson found Gunner Bloom for a 71-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The play came after a huge 28-yard gain by Klitzke was negated by an illegal formation penalty on third and 10, and the score really seemed to sink the spirts of the Carleton Knights.
On Bethel’s third possession of the game they would score again just before the first quarter ended. Anderson found Drew Neuville twice on the drive, a 16-yard completion and a 34-yarder that resulted in a touchdown. The freshman signal caller also carried the ball three times on the drive, gaining 19- and 26-yards on the final two carries.
On Carleton’s next possession they were forced to punt. On the punt attempt Dawson Brown pushed through the line and, with a huge burst of speed, blocked the punt and then recovered it before diving into the end zone for the score. That increased the lead to 28-0, and clearly this was not going to be Carleton’s afternoon.
On the Knights next possession the nightmare continued. On the third play of the drive senior defensive back Matt Mehlhorn picked off a Zach Creighton pass and returned it to the Bethel 35-yardline. Two plays later Klitzke burst through the line and raced 61-yards for a touchdown and the rout was on.
Carleton was finally able to keep the Royals offense out of the end zone on their next drive. Bethel had to settle for a field goal, as Andrew O’Reilly hit from 32-yards away to make it 38-0.
The Knights had the ball five times to that point and all they had to show for it was four punts and an interception. Every possession ended after just three offensive plays and Carleton had 23 total yards of offense to that point.
Just before half the Carleton Knights were able to get into the end zone. Creighton had two huge plays on the drive, including a 41-yard pass play to Pete Dehkes and a 20-yard scamper that he scored on to make it 38-7. It was a solid day for the Knights QB, who finished 12-21 for 165 yards and 2 TDs, while gaining 40 yards and a touchdown on 7 carries.
The touchdown gave the Royals the ball with 1:14 left in the half. Bethel showed that when they need to they can score quickly, and they amazingly did it mostly on the ground. Klitzke gained 18 yards on the first play of the drive, and two players later Anderson ran for 10-yards and another first down. Tusler then had a great run for 24-yards down to the Carleton 29-yard line, and with two-seconds left on the clock Anderson found Canfield for the touchdown to make it 45-7.
The Bethel Royals would score on their first two possessions of the second half to extend their lead to 58-7. On their first drive Tusler carried the ball three times, and scored from six-yards out to make it a 45-point lead. A blocked punt gave the Royals their next possession at the Carleton four-yardline, and Klitzke scored from five-yards out to make it a 58-7 game.
The dynamic duo of Klitzke and Tusler had another huge day on the ground for the Bethel Royals. Klitzke rushed for 150 yards and 2 scores on 11 carries, while Tusler had 94-yards and a TD on 11 carries as well.
The Knights were down, but they were certainly not dead by any stretch of the imagination. On the team’s next possession, Creighton led Carleton on an 11-play, 81-yard drive that ended when the Knights QB found Chris Madden for a 29-yard TD.
On their next possession Creighton would again lead another scoring drive. Starting from the Bethel 43-yardline, the Knights moved 43-yards in 10-plays before Creighton found Logan Emholtz for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 58-21. That would be the final score of the game.
It was a most impressive day for the Bethel Royals offense. They gained 384-yards on the ground and 226 through the air. Anderson had another impressive outing, going 11-14 for 220 yards and 4 TDs, while gaining 49 more on 9-carries. Bloom had 4 catches for 121 yards and a score, Neuville had 3 receptions for 57-yards and a TD, and Canfield had 2 touchdown catches and 38-yards receiving.
The defense allowed the Knights 289-yards of total offense, just 124-yards on the ground.
By Robert Pannier