Roste, Royals Dominate Second Half in 38-20 Victory
The No. 10 ranked Bethel Royals found themselves trailing at the half to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Falcons on Saturday afternoon, but a dominating second half, led by quarterback Jaran Roste, helped Bethel to pull out the 38-20 victory. Roste threw for 299 yards and rushed for another 111 to help the Royals move to 2-0.
This contest was dominated by the defenses early on as the first six possessions of the game all resulted in punts. Bethel University would finally get on the board in the second when Max Janes scored from four yards out to put the Royals on top by seven.
It stayed that way for the next eight minutes before the Falcons would tie the score. That is when Ben Beckman connected with Alex Herink on a 37 yard touchdown strike with a little under five minutes left in the half. A little over three minutes later, Beckman gave his team the lead when he found Brett Wadman for a 30 yard touchdown and UWRF went up by seven.
Just before the half, the Royals pulled to within four when Bjorn Charles connected on a 35 yard field goal. Bethel had done very little in the first half offensively, but that changed in the second half.
The Falcons took the opening kickoff to start the second half and found that the Royals defense was going to give them no room to move the ball. Kyle Peach and Brayden Finbei dropped Sam Altena for an eight yard loss on the first play of the drive and UW-River Falls was forced to punt after three plays.
After a 31 yard punt, Roste would get to work starting from the UWRF 48. A run and two short passes set up a fourth and 1, but Roste bull rushed for a first down to keep the drive alive. After two more rushes from the sophomore quarterback, he went up top to receiver Drew Larsen for a 29 yard touchdown to put Bethel back on top.
UW-River Falls responded right away, going the other direction behind their starting quarterback. The big play of the drive came on third and seven at the Bethel 41, when Beckman completed a 41 yard toss to Alex Traxler to put the Falcons back on top, 20-17.
From there, it would be all Bethel. Roste marched the offense right back down the field, tossing a huge completion to Andrew Cole for 14 yards on third and 14 before connecting with Larsen on a 52 yard bomb for a touchdown. That made it 24-20.
On the Royals next possession, the Bethel QB tossed a 20 yard completion to Sid Boros on third and 2 at the Bethel 47. On the next play, he hit Collin Curtis for a 33 yard touchdown, the third touchdown pass of the game for Roste.
The sophomore was not done, however. With 10:28 left in the contest, Roste kept the ball and found daylight, racing 60 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-20.
While the offense was getting into a groove, the defense was absolutely stifling the Falcons offense. UWRF mounted just one scoring drive in the second half, punted three times, tossed an interception and turned the ball over on downs three times. The Bethel defense gave the Falcons no chance to get back in this game as UWRF faced fourth and nine or longer on each possession where they turned the ball over on downs.
The Royals defense finished with three sacks, led by Max Janes who had two. John Sifire had the other and he was tied with Cale Ferrin for the most tackles, recording six. Ferrin also recorded an interception.
For Jaran Roste, it was an amazing day at the office. The sophomore completed 21 of 33 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. He also gained 111 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Drew Larsen had his second straight 100 yard receiving day, hauling in 164 yards and two scores on eight catches.
The Bethel Royals (2-0) are off next Saturday. They head to St. Peter, MN on Saturday, September 28 to take on the Gustavus Adolphus Gusties. Kickoff is at 1:00.
By Robert Pannier