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ISSUE 120 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/29/2006

Football romps to 4-0: Oles embarass Augsburg, remain perfect

By Matthew Stortz
Staff Writer

Friday, September 29, 2006

The St. Olaf College football team defeated Augsburg 68-17 last Saturday in MIAC play. With the victory, the Oles improve to 2-0 in MIAC play, and 4-0 overall.

St. Olaf jumped out to an early lead on a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Ben Roff ’08. After a successful two-point conversion attempt, a pair of touchdowns from tailback Evan Endsley ’09 gave the Oles a 22-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Auggies scored twice in the second quarter with a field goal and a touchdown, but St. Olaf countered with three touchdowns through the air.

Quarterback Matt Penz ’08 connected with receivers Preston St. John ’08, Horace Gant ’08 and Endsley for three touchdowns through the air to give the Oles a 43-10 lead at halftime.

Backup quarterback John Haberman ’10 added three rushing touchdowns in the second half, with tailback Corey Nelson ’09 adding a touchdown of his own. St. Olaf did not punt once in the entire game.

Endsley led the Oles in receiving yards with 97 yards on four receptions, while Gant and St. John gained 70 yards each. Haberman and Marc Olson ’07 led the Ole rushing attack, each carrying the ball seven times for 73 and 34 yards respectively. Altogether, twelve Oles rushed 40 times for a total of 230 yards.

Though he only played in the first half, Penz connected with receivers 14 times on 16 attempts for 300 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“Penz is great,” St. John said. “He probably throws the best ball in the MIAC.”

Penz has received significant praise this season, and with good reason. Through four games Penz has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1052 yards and nine touchdowns while throwing only one interception. But he has not done it alone; Penz is protected by one of the best offensive lines in the nation.

Thus far, the line, which returns four of five starters, has allowed only two sacks through four games, a statistic that is especially impressive considering that St. Olaf has attempted 122 passes this season.

“They’re really good,” St. John said. “In the Augsburg game they picked up a blitz we didn’t even have a blocking scheme for.”

On defense, the Oles held Augsburg to just 75 rushing yards, forcing the Auggies to rely upon a lackluster passing attack.

Defensive tackle Nick Tolen ’10 garnered five tackles in the game, including four tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. Defensive back Jeremy Lund ’07 led the Oles in tackles for the third time this year with 5.5.

Undefeated through their first four contests, the Oles will now play the most difficult stretch in their schedule, beginning with next week’s contest at Gustavus. The Oles will then play at home against St. John’s, on the road against Concordia, and on the road against Bethel in consecutive weeks.

Despite their difficult schedule, the Oles are well-positioned for a run at the MIAC title. Perennial contender Bethel is 0-1 in MIAC play after losing to Carleton last Saturday, while Concordia – ranked second in the MIAC in the preseason coaches poll – has lost two MIAC games already.

St. Olaf and rival schools St. Johns and Carleton are currently the only undefeated teams in MIAC play, but that group will lose one member when the Johnnies and Knights play next week.

Though luck is on their side, the Oles are not leaving anything to chance.

“We just need to keep improving and getting better,” said defensive back Rob McDonald ’08.

The Oles play Gustavus in St. Peter this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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