Pipers Rally in Fourth Quarter to Down Scots, Snap Skid
St. Paul, MN – The losing streak is finally over. After dropping five straight games in 2023 and 13 straight contests in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the Hamline Pipers rallied in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points to defeat Macalester College, 38-27. Quarterback Alejandra Villanueva led the way, throwing for 211 yards and rushing for 75 more, accounting for four touchdowns. Charlie Wilson continues his record-setting season, posting 198 yards receiving and two scores.
The Pipers took the opening kickoff, but were forced to punt. Macalester took the ball at their own 28, and went 72 yards in nine plays before taking an 8-0 lead. Quarterback Michael Nadeau led the way, completing his first six pass attempts, including a 19-yard touchdown to Michael Poker. The Scots were successful on the two-point conversion, giving the team an eight-point advantage.
On the ensuing kickoff, Macalester was able to recover when Alec Ralph was unable to control the ball. Issam Rafidi recovered, giving his team the ball at the Hamline 40. Macalester moved to the Pipers 14-yard line, but Rahim Avery intercepted a Nadeau pass in the end zone to give his offense the ball.
Back the other way Hamline went, going 70 yards in nine plays. The Pipers reached the Scots 10-yard line where they faced fourth and six. The coaching staff opted for the field goal, and Durham Welch hit a 20 yard or to make it 8-3.
The Hamline defense forced a punt on the next possession for Macalester, and the offense took over, taking their first lead of the contest. It looked like the drive would end right away when the Pipers faced fourth and one at midfield. However, a pass interference call gave the team a fresh set of downs and Villanueva made Macalester pay three plays later when he found Wilson for a 33-yard touchdown to make it 10-8.
Macalester responded right away, going 60 yards in seven plays to retake the lead. Nadeau was spectacular on the drive, completing a 36-yard pass completion to Logan Pampel, then finding Poker for 23 more yards down to the Hamline 2-yard line. The Pipers defense looked like they were going to shut Macalester down, forcing a fourth and goal at the two, but Pampel burst up the middle for the score to make it 14-10.
Not to be outdone, the Pipers retook the lead, going 75 yards in seven plays. Villanueva had two big plays on the drive, completing a 20-yard strike to Wilson, then finding a seam for a 22 yard score to make it 17-14.
With 24 seconds left in the half, Macalester was able to tie the score when Shomrik Mondal hit a 20-yard field goal. That sent the teams to the locker room tied at 17.
Coming out of the locker rooms, Macalester took the opening kickoff and retook the lead. The Pipers went 64 yards in eight plays. Pampel recorded his second touchdown run of the day, a 1-yard score that made it 24-17.
Hamline tied the score on the ensuing possession. Nicholas Vasko opened the drive with a 7-yard run. Villanueva then found Wilson for 14 yards and a first down, and Vasko followed with a 22-yard scamper, moving the ball to the Macalester 22. Five plays later, Villanueva burst up the middle for another touchdown to knot the game at 24.
Not to be outdone, the Scots retook the lead on a 13-yard field goal by Mondal. That made it 27-24, which would be the score at the end of the third quarter.
From there, it was all Pipers. Hamline began the fourth quarter with the ball, and needed only four plays to move 53 yards to retake the lead. A 38-yard touchdown pass from Peter Coleman to Wilson finished off the drive, making it 31-27.
Nadeau was intercepted on the next possession for Macalester, and the Pipers put this game away, going 75 yards in 10 plays to extend the lead to 11. Villanueva led the drive, completing two of his three pass attempts, and rushing for 33 yards on three carries, including an 8-yard score.
The Scots moved to the Hamline 14 on the next possession, but turned the ball over on downs. The Pipers then ran out the remaining four minutes of the clock to earn the victory.
The win was the first by the Pipers in the MIAC since defeating St. Scholastica on November 13, 2021, 21-20. Villanueva completed 14 of 21 passes for 211 yards and a score. He also had 11 carries for 75 yards and three touchdowns. Gilbert Guerra had 18 carries for 65 yards and Vasko had 10 carries for 41 yards. Wilson had 198 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions.
The defense had a forced fumble and two interceptions. Croix Zacharias and Dominic Sandoval led the team with seven tackles.
Hamline University (3-5, 1-5) will travel to Duluth to take on St. Scholastica (2-6, 1-5) on Saturday. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
by Robert Pannier