In Bethel University’s first inter-division football game of the season, the Royals round off Homecoming Week with a 49-14 victory over the Hamline University Pipers at home.
By Annika Carr
The ball was on Bethel’s 25-yard line and the game clock read first quarter: 15:00 as the Royals began their first offensive drive of the game. Starting quarterback Jaran Roste received the snap, stepped back into the pocket and completed a pass to junior running back Nic Krueger for a Bethel first down.
Roste threw the ball again, the pass intended to be caught by sophomore wide receiver, Aaron Ellingson –a play the team had run in practice many times– but deflected off the hands of Ellingson into the hands of the Piper’s Ryan Kouri who ran it to the 7-yard line before getting chased down by Ellingson. Set up inside the Royal’s 10-yard line, Hamline got on the board in two plays for the early lead.
Ellingson wasn’t the only wide receiver who couldn’t keep hold of the ball. In the second half, fellow sophomore, Will Eliason, attempted to catch second-string quarterback George Bolt’s pass which bounced out of his grip and into the possession of Hamline’s Carson Reinard.
“I should have come down with it,” Eliason said. “Bobbled it, paid the price I guess.”
Bethel’s offense showed no panic evening it up as Ethan Sailer grabbed his first career touchdown from 11 yards out. The Royals put up plus-seven on their next five possessions. Two of which came from Krueger, both from two yards out. BU’s defense came up with its fifth straight stop as Matthew Feldick picked off a deep pass in Royal territory 18 seconds before the half, sending the Royals into the break up 35-7.
The Royals pressed on in the second-half, scoring two more touchdowns before Reinard’s interception, giving Hamline its second and final touchdown.
“We always make adjustments at halftime,” coach Steve Johnson said. “That’s what coaches do.”
Part of those halftime adjustments resulted in Nic Krueger making both of Bethel’s second-half touchdowns before the halfway mark of the third quarter, bringing in four total touchdowns and rushing 62 yards on 15 carries. Krueger, Eliason and Sailor had their first varsity touchdowns and raked in a combined 36 points.
Senior quarterback Roste targeted three different receivers in the endzone finishing with 225 yards on 17-of-23 passing. BU put points on the board all seven times they entered the redzone while outpouring the Pipes 365-267 in total offense.
The Royals will host Concordia to begin the back stretch of the schedule on Saturday. The MIAC Skyline divisional matchup is scheduled for 1 p.m. inside Royal Stadium.