Royals Defense Stifles Pipers in 49-14 Loss
Hamline University took advantage of an early interception, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the contest. However, the Bethel University defense stiffened, holding the Pipers to 276 total yards of offense in a 49-14 loss. Jaran Roste threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Alejandro Villanueva had 238 yards passing and a TD.
Bethel took the opening kickoff, but Roste was intercepted on the second play of the contest as Ryan Kouri made a great read on the ball, picking off the pass and returning it 27 yards down to the Royal 7-yard line. Two plays later, Villanueva found Ryder Hutton for 7 yards and a touchdown to make it 7-0.
Bethel responded right away, going 60 yards in six plays before tying the score at seven. Roste responded after his initial miscue, rushing up the middle for 14 yards to give his team a fresh set of downs, then completing three straight passes, including an 11-yard strike to Ethan Sailer to finish off the drive.
The Pipers looked to do a little responding of their own, moving to the Bethel 23 where they faced a fourth and three. The team had methodically moved down the field, using 10 plays to move 52 yards, eating 4:04 off the clock. On fourth down, Villanueva looked for tight end Charlie Wilson, but his pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to Bethel.
The Royals took the ball and would not be denied, putting together an impressive 13 play, 77-yard drive that took 6:43 off the clock. Roste got the drive going, completing three of his first four pass attempts. Then the Royals went to the ground, rushing six straight times down to the Hamline 18. On second and five, Roste found Joey Kidder for a first down to the two. On the next play, Nic Krueger rushed up the middle for a touchdown to make it 14-7.
The Pipers were forced to punt on their next possession, but a shank went just 10 yards, giving the Royals the ball at the Hamline 34. After Roste found Jackson Kirchoff for 24 yards down to the time, the quarterback carried the ball on the next play for 3 yards. That set up second and goal of the seven where Roste found Kidder once again, making it 21-7.
Hamline was forced to punt on their next possession, but another bad punt went just 7 yards, giving the Royals the ball at the Hamline 40. Six plays later, Krueger carried the ball up the gut once again, scoring his second touchdown of the day from 2 yards out to make it 28-7.
The Royals added one more touchdown just before the end of the half. After forcing Hamline to punt for the third straight time, Bethel moved 53 yards in seven plays to extend the lead to 28. A 24-yard completion from Roste the Kidder on third and 15 was instrumental to keeping the drive alive. Roste would later find Kidder for 14 yards, and connected with Will Eliason for 17 yards and a touchdown. That made it 35-7 heading into the half.
The Royals continued to roll, scoring on their first two possessions of the second half, giving them 49 unanswered points. After the Pipers punted on their first possession following the break, Bethel moved 45 yards in five plays to extend their lead to 35. Roste had two big completions to start the drive, both to Gabe Ante, one for 12 yards and the other for 11. Krueger did the rest, carrying the ball three times for 22 total yards, including scoring from 1 yard out.
The next possession for the Pipers turned out to be a disaster, as the team attempted to punt, but the Hamline punter fumbled, giving Bethel the ball at the Pipers 25. Four plays later, Krueger scored from 5 yards out, his fourth touchdown run of the day.
Two possessions later, Hamline was finally able to get back on the board. After Carson Reinard intercepted a George Bolt pass, returning it to the Hamline 42, Villanueva went to work. The quarterback found Dorriayn Tapplin for 57 yards to the Bethel one. Two plays later, Villanueva kept the ball, moving to his left before finding the end zone to make it 49-14. That would be the final.
The Pipers struggled on the ground, gaining his 38 yards rushing. Kai Wirth led the team with nine carries for 26 yards. Villanueva completed 24 of 44 passes for 238 yards, a TD, and an interception. Tapplin had three catches for 59 yards and Wilson had 11 receptions for 56.
The Hamline defense was led by Reinard, who had seven tackles and interception. Sam Fritz had the only sack of the day and forced a fumble.
The Hamline University Pipers (2-3) looked to even their record next week when they welcome Gustavus Adolphus (3-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00.
by Robert Pannier