Royals Hold on to Defeat Augsburg in Homecoming Game

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One year ago Bethel University's football squad rained on Augsburg College's homecoming parade with a 21-20 victory, but the Royals refused to let the Auggies return the favor Saturday, as BU held on to defeat Augsburg 31-28 during Bethel's homecoming game at Royal Stadium.
The No. 5-ranked Royals (4-0, 2-0 MIAC) held Augsburg quarterback Ayrton Scott to just 276 total yards of offense, which is quite the feat as Scott led the nation with an average of 390.3 yards per game. The Auggies (3-1, 2-1 MIAC) limited Brandon Marquardt, who had been averaging 14.0 points per game, but it was Marshall Klitzke that stepped up Saturday with 109 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving.

Erik Peterson and Reese Walker started the scoring in Saturday's contest, as the two connected for a 23-yard touchdown that capped an 11-play, 82-yard drive in Bethel's opening series. Peterson's pump fake created space between Walker and the closest defender, and the ball was placed perfectly into Walker's hands in the back of the end zone.

The Auggies proved why they were unbeaten coming into Saturday's matchup, as they marched down the field on the ensuing drive in 3:34 and scored a 16-yard touchdown via a Phil Putratz rush. Augsburg, who didn't convert a two-point conversion attempt in 2012 that could've won the Auggies the game against the Royals, went for two on the point after and converted with a fake PAT that found the tight end open in the end zone.
Trailing for the first time this year, Bethel immediately went back to work—scoring a touchdown on the very next series. Marshall Klitzke carried the ball into the end zone—this time from three yards out—completing a 10-play, 68-yard drive that lasted 4:57.

The Royals had the opportunity to create space later in the frame, but an interception at the Augsburg 30-yard-line thrown by Erik Peterson — his first of the year — gave the Auggies the ball. Following a 44-yard return on the interception, Augsburg then went three plays and 21 yards to score the equalizer with 9:43 left in the half. A missed PAT attempt kept the score even at 14-14.

Neither team put up any more points throughout the second quarter, resulting in a tie at the half. However, the third quarter belonged to the Royals. Bethel received the kick to start the half and drove 65 yards on the opening series, which was finished with a seven-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Klitzke.

Peterson wasn't done throwing, as the Orono, Minn., native helped the Royals score seven more on their next possession. Bethel's quarterback finished the possession with a 38-yard heave to senior receiver Jay Hilbrands to put BU ahead 28-14.

Bethel's defense was sensational in the third quarter, holding the Auggies scoreless, which gave the Royals some necessary cushion. BU finished its scoring with what turned out to be the game-winning field goal by Andrew O'Reilly with 13:31 remaining in the game to put Bethel ahead 31-14.

"We're a pretty close-knit group and you feed off each other," Bethel coach Steve Johnson said. "Our offense came out and had a great drive, a pretty long one, then we got them (three-and-out) and went again. You kind of have the game under control."

The Auggies didn't go away quietly, though, scoring 14 unanswered points in the final minutes of the game. Yet, a gutsy pass from Erik Peterson to freshman tight end Drew Neuville on third and eight with under two minutes remaining sealed the victory for the Royals.

Bethel finished the game with 23 first downs and 401 yards of total offense. Erik Peterson finished the day 18-of-26 with 216 yards passing, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Peterson found eight different receivers, including Jay Hilbrands, who caught three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown and Reese Walker, who caught the 23-yard touchdown in the second drive of the game.

Marshall Klitzke led all rushers with 109 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Marquardtcarried the ball 13 times for 67 yards. Augsburg's Ayrton Scott rushed for 90 yards, while throwing for 186 on 19-of-27 passing with two interceptions.

Josh Treimer led the Royals defensively with 10 tackles and one forced fumble, while Kevin Flaherty had nine tackles, including one for loss, and recovered Treimer's forced fumble.Landon Mathis and Ben Wahlquist also had eight tackles each. Will Van Duzer and David Morgan both recorded an interception.

Bethel will face an unbeaten Concordia College next week in Moorhead, Minn. The Cobbers, who will be celebrating homecoming this week, fell victim to Bethel in BU's homecoming game last year, in large part due to a late penalty with just a few ticks remaining on the clock. The Royals scored a touchdown and two-point conversion with no time left to defeat the Cobbs 15-14.

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