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ISSUE 118 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/24/2004

Football Falters

By Adam Dozeal
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 24, 2004

Plagued by turnovers and inconsistent defensive play, the St. Olaf football team fell to the Bethel Royals 42-6 Saturday in St. Paul.

Bethel took command of the game early, opening the scoring halfway through the first quarter when quarterback A.J. Parnell hit receiver Paul Scrabeck for a three-yard touchdown pass. The Oles trailed 7-0 going into the second quarter, but the game soon got out of hand. In the second quarter, the Royal offense methodically picked apart St. Olafs defense to the tune of 28 points.

Bethels Jon Evens returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown late in the half to make the score 42-6. All told, the Royals scored 35 points in the second quarter, which tied the mark for most points scored in a single quarter by a MIAC team this season.

After St. Olafs miraculous second half victory over Luther in their season opener, some Ole fans held out hope for a similar comeback on Saturday. It was not to be.

The St. Olaf defense did hold Bethel scoreless in the second half, but two second-half turnovers cut short any chance the Oles had to close the gap.

Fortmans second field goal of the day, a 27-yard kick with 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, accounted for the only points of the second half.

St. Olaf did feature a balanced offensive attack overall, running the ball 33 times and going to the air on 30 plays. The Oles managed just 113 yards passing and 136 on the ground for 249 yards of total offense.

Bethel, by comparison, relied heavily on their rushing game. The Royals ran the ball 56 times while throwing only 21 passes. The Oles were simply unable to slow the Bethel rush, as the Royals piled up a MIAC season-high 318 yards on the ground for an impressive average of 5.6 yards per carry. Phil Porta led the way with 243 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

St. Olafs offense, led by quarterback Jason Wilsey 06, tailback Bobby Andrade 07 and receiver Horace Gant 08 showed against Luther that they have the potential to be one of the most potent scoring units in the league.

The Ole defense, featuring all-MIAC linebacker John Davis 06 and defensive back Matt Dean 06, has allowed only three second half points this season.

However, inconsistency has interfered with the teams ability to compete with the best in the conference in recent years.

Despite an apparent surplus of athleticism, the team has yet to play a complete game this year. St. Olafs offense has turned the ball over eight times in two games, and the defense has allowed 73 points, 52 of them coming in the second quarter.

Saturdays game was not a total loss for the Oles, however. Practicing the age-old adage that one may learn best in defeat, the team is focusing on using last weeks contest to prepare for their next game.

Saturdays game at Bethel taught us a lot about ourselves, said quarterback Even Klefsaas 07, who saw playing time against Bethel. We know what did well, and we know where we need to improve. Well practice hard this week and go at Macalester this Saturday.

Klefsaas is not alone in his analysis of the Bethel loss. Ole football players, motivated by their poor showing, are determined to play well on Saturday against the Scots.

In Klefsaas words, We wont let that happen again.

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