Orono, Minn. / Orono
The Bethel football team has largely been known for its running attack in recent years, but Saturday the Royals and QB Erik Peterson (Orono, Minn.) took to the air in a big way in their 41-21 win over Gustavus. Peterson set a new Bethel school record by completing 93.1 percent of his passes, and turned in the first 300-yard passing day for Bethel since 2003. For his record-setting day, Peterson was named the MIAC Football Offensive Player-of-the-Week.
Peterson was on-point all day through the air, completing 27-of-29 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns to help the Royals pile up 41 points in the road win against the Gusties. The last time a Bethel QB threw for 300 yards, it was Scott Kirchoff's 380 yards against UW-Eau Claire in 2003. Peterson's first TD pass in the first quarter made it 14-0, and he added two more in the third to push the lead to 41-7. This season, his 68.1 completion percentage is second in the MIAC, just 0.2 behind the leader, with 1,353 passing yards and eight TD passes.
The win helped Bethel move up two spots in the AFCA Top 25 to No. 15, and now the Royals are 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the MIAC in second place in the standings. This week, Peterson will try to keep his hot streak going and Bethel will aim for win No. 7 when Hamline heads to Arden Hills. The MIAC game will kick off Saturday on the Royals' field at 1 p.m.
MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week
Minneapolis, Minn. / N.D. College of Science
Hamline linebacker Patrick Page (Minneapolis, Minn./N.D. College of Science) has had a tremendous season for the Piper defense, and Saturday he was at his best against a tough opponent. The Hamline junior had a career day in a 51-9 loss to No. 3-ranked St. Thomas with 17 total tackles and a seemingly endless stretch of big plays that kept the Pipers within a score of the Tommies until the final minute of the first half. For his performance, Page was named the MIAC Football Defensive Player-of-the-Week.
Page not only led the way with 17 total tackles Saturday - nine solo and eight assists - but he also intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and made three tackles behind the line of scrimmage against the Tommies. His two picks both came in the first half as Hamline stayed step-for-step with the defending MIAC champions until the closing minute of the second quarter. His big day helped him rise on the MIAC leader board to No. 4 in total tackles (73), while ranking second in assist tackles (36), tackles-for-a-loss (7.5) and interceptions (three).
This weekend, Page and his teammates will face another tough task as they travel across the metro to take on another ranked opponent. The Pipers - now 1-6 overall and 0-6 in MIAC play - head to Arden Hills Saturday in search of their first conference win of the season against No. 15-ranked Bethel in a MIAC game. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week
Wainman, St. Olaf
Oviedo, Fla. / Paul J. Hagerty
Field position and special teams are a big deal in a closely-contested rivalry game, so St. Olaf was happy that kicker/punter Lucas Wainman (Oviedo, Fla./Paul J. Hagerty) was at his best on Saturday. The Oles scored a 27-20 road win at cross-town rival Carleton, with the freshman specialist nailing all five of his PAT and field goal attempts, and using his kicking and punting as a weapon to pin the Knights in their own territory time and time again. For his performance, Wainman was named the MIAC Football Special Teams Player-of-the-Week.
Wainman helped St. Olaf on the scoreboard, going 3-for-3 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals to contribute nine big points in the seven-point victory. His two field goals came from 21 and 31 yards out, and the latter made it 27-7 late in the third quarter to give St. Olaf enough breathing room. He punted three times for 115 yards (38.3 average) with two kicks inside the 20, and all of his punts and kickoffs pinned Carleton inside its 32-yard-line to start each possession. Wainman's 48 points lead all MIAC kickers this season, as he's gone 7-for-9 on field goals and 27-for-29 on PATs. He's averaging an even 40.0 yards per punt with a league-leading 13 inside the 20 this season.
The win helped St. Olaf improve to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference, currently in a tie for fourth in the MIAC standings. The Oles will get to enjoy the rivalry win for an extra week, as they head into the bye this Saturday with a week to rest up for a tough final stretch. St. Olaf will host No. 15-ranked Bethel and travel to No. 3-ranked St. Thomas over the season's final two weeks.