ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jon Lien (Sr./Lindstrom, Minn./Chisago Lakes) ran for three long touchdowns and a school-record 259 yards—including a game-winning 25-yard rumble in overtime—as the Carleton College football team rallied to defeat Macalester College, 23-17 in overtime. With the victory, the Knights retained the Book of Knowledge trophy for the ninth year in a row.
Lien accredits his career-best rushing total to strong play by the Knights' offensive line. "The offensive line really came through today and were the reason for the offense's success. The fact that I was able to run for all the yards and the three touchdowns was just an effect of the way the offense has practiced all year."
Lien's record-breaking day pushed his career-rushing total to over 2,000 yards, making him only the seventh Knight to surpass this milestone. He currently sits in sixth place on the all-time rushing list with 2,245 yards.
The Knights (2-5, 1-4 MIAC) capitalized on four Macalester turnovers to complete their comeback victory. Carleton forced three fumbles, and Jordan Soteros (So./Scottsdale, Ariz./Pinnacle) picked up his third interception in the last two games to stop the Scots in key situations.
Carleton trailed 10-7 at intermission, but the Knights battled throughout the second half and sent the game to overtime with a 30-yard field goal by Eric Murphy (Sr./Stillwater, Okla./Stillwater) with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. Carleton then capitalized in overtime with Lien's third score of the day, earning a hard-fought victory over the Scots.
Macalester (3-4) got on the board early with a 36-yard field goal near the end of the first quarter. The Knights responded with about two minutes remaining before halftime with Lien's first touchdown of the day, a 46-yard scamper. But the Scots recaptured the lead with ten seconds left before intermission on a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Clark Bledsoe to Sam Marshall.
The momentum appeared to be swinging in Macalester's direction in the second half, as the Scots added to their lead with an 11-yard rush by Bledsoe late in the third quarter. However, less than a minute later, the Knights responded when Lien picked up his second score of the day on a 58-yard run. The teams entered the final quarter of play with the Scots ahead by three points.
After Murphy's field goal tied the game with less than three minutes remaining before overtime, the Scots threatened again. Bledsoe completed a deep pass down the sideline to Marshall at the Carleton 18-yard line, but safety Mike Elder (Jr./San Antonio, Texas/Central Catholic) forced and recovered a fumble to stop the drive. Carleton then ran the clock out to send the game to overtime.
The Knights held the Scots' offense on their attempt in overtime, forcing kicker Auburn Jimenez to attempt a 34-yard field goal. The kick sailed wide left, and the Knights started their possession only needing three points to secure the victory. But Carleton got more than was necessary with Lien's touchdown, putting the finishing touches on their victory.
Defensively, Carleton was led by Mark Skoglund (Sr./Murdock, Minn./Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg), Justin Rotman (Sr./Minnetonka, Minn./Minnetonka), and Keenan Hartert (Jr./Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs). Skoglund had ten tackles on the day, one of those being for a loss, and forced one of the three fumbles. Rotman had nine tackles and recovered a fumble, and Hartert had two sacks on the day, running his season total to five-and-a-half.
The Knights travel to Collegeville next weekend for a MIAC-showdown with Saint John's University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. All games this season can be heard on KQCL 95.9 FM in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide via Knights Online.