It has been a tough start to the Bethel University Royals football season, as they reached the halfway point 1-4, however, the offense has been a big bright spot for the team early on. That was on display Saturday, as the potent group put up 533-yards, including 241 on the ground. Sophomore Gunnar Bloom led the way, rushing for 111-yards and 4-touchdowns in the 56-8 victory over the Carleton Knights in Northfield on Saturday.
This was a contest that the Royals dominated from the very start. Carleton received the opening kickoff, but were forced to punt after recording just three yards on their first series.
Bethel started their first possession of the game from their own 36 and it was Bloom that really got them moving, rushing on three consecutive plays in the series for 21-yards. On first and 10 from the Carleton 35, freshman Jake Marsh found TE Drew Neuville for at 35-yard touchdown to make it 8-0.
The Knights were forced to punt on their next possession as well, but Dawson Brown made a huge block that was recovered by Michael Frett at the Carleton 22. Six-plays later Bloom scored from 6-yards out to make it 15-0.
On their next possession, Carleton would get on the board. Quarterback Ethan Trujillo led the Knights on an 11-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass to former starting QB Zach Creighton. That made it 15-6.
The Royals responded right away. The offense took over at their own 33 and, on the second play, Marsh found a streaking Bryce Marquardt for the 60-yard touchdown pass to make it 22-6.
On the next possession for Bethel, a fumble found the ball loose in the end zone. Marsh dove on it and was tackled for the safety. That made the score 22-8. That would be the final highlight for the Carleton Knights, as Bethel would score the next 34-points of the game.
The barrage began on the Royals next possession. Marsh led a 14-play drive that went 87-yards before Bloom scored from one-yard out. The Bethel QB completed all five of his passes and ran for 11-yards on 2-carries. The touchdown made it 29-8 which would be the score heading into the half.
The second half would be all Bethel Royals. They would score four touchdowns with the first coming with about five minutes gone in the third quarter. Bloom raced for the 27-yard touchdown following a 21-yard completion from Marsh to Marquardt. That made the score 36-8.
On their next possession, Trey Anderson led the drive and Bethel would score again. Anderson’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Marquardt made it 42-8.
With 1:41 left in the quarter, Bloom would be the key to another touchdown drive. The sophomore ran for 20-yards on a second and 10 play from midfield, and he scored from two-yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter.
On their next possession, Anderson would take over the quarterback duties again as Bethel moved 85-yards in 13-plays for the touchdown. All but three plays in the possession were on the ground, and it was Anderson who capped off the drive with a 30-yard touchdown run. That would make the final score 56-8.
Bloom carried the ball 16 times for 111-yards and 4-touchdowns. Marsh finished 16-23 for 256-yards and 2-TDs. Anderson was 3-4 for 36-yards and a touchdown in his limited time. He also ran four times for 40-yards and a score. Marquardt made 3-receptions for 105-yards and 2-TDs.
Ethan Trujillo completed 29 of 44-passes for Carleton. He had 224-yards passing and a TD.
Next weekend Bethel University welcomes Gustavus Adolphus to Royals Stadium. Kickoff is 1:00 PM.
By Robert Pannier