No. 8 Royals Open Season with 30-17 Victory over Knights
ARDEN HILLS, Minn.—Bethel University kicked off the 2013 season Saturday afternoon with a 30-17 win over Wartburg College at Royal Stadium. The No. 8-ranked Royals (1-0, 0-0 MIAC) built up a 30-0 lead with 6:20 left to play in the third quarter before allowing the Knights (1-1, 0-0 IIAC) 17 unanswered points.
Bethel's offense was running on all cylinders throughout the game, as the Royals finished the nonconference affair with 430 yards of total offense. Quarterback Erik Peterson finished the day 25-of-36 with 311 yards and zero interceptions. Peterson targeted nine different receivers, including Jared Schultz, who caught four passes for 94 yards, and Mitch Hallstrom, who hauled in eight passes for 64 yards.
In addition to a stellar air attack, BU's ground game rushed for 119 yards on 39 carries and three touchdowns. Brandon Marquardt led all rushers with 109 yards on 14 carries and two scores. The Champlin, Minn., native averaged 7.8 yards per carry and spouted off a 37-yard run in the third quarter that set up a Jesse Phenow touchdown.
The Royals defense showcased its traditional hard-nosed approach throughout the game, as Bethel kept the Knights scoreless until 2:10 left to play in the third quarter. Senior cornerback, Josh Treimer, put on an exceptional performance for the home crowd, intercepting three passes—all in the first half—including one that he returned 27 yards for a touchdown.
2012 All-American and 2013 Preseason All-American Seth Mathis led all Bethel defenders with 13 tackles, including a half-sack for two yards. Meanwhile, Luke Buttenhoff tallied six wrap-ups and a sack for a loss of six yards. Altogether, the Royals managed to get to the quarterback five times and pushed the Knights back 22 yards.
Wartburg linebacker Drew Kooi led all tacklers with 17 total tackles.
Bethel topped the Knights in nearly every stat category Saturday, owning a 22-17 lead in first downs, a 119-116 mark in rushing yards, and a 311-198 advantage in passing yards. In addition, Bethel's punter Phillip Peterson, despite one error late in the game, helped the Royals defense by averaging 40 yards per punt—including two inside the Wartburg 20-yard-line. Nathaniel Van Loon and Andrew O'Reilley also collectively averaged 60.7 yards on kickoffs.
WIth Saturday's victory, the Royals make it three straight wins against Wartburg College and begin the season 1-0 for the sixth consecutive season and for the 18th time in the last 20 years. Bethel will travel to Storm Lake, Iowa, next Saturday to face Buena Vista University in its second and final nonconference game of the season.