NORTHFIELD, Minn. —The Carleton College football team opened the 2015 campaign in style as they racked up 468 yards of total offense in picking up a 27-12 win over Macalester College. The Knights scored on the game's first possession and pulled away in the second half. The victory means Carleton reclaims possession of the "Book of Knowledge" trophy for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons.
The "Book of Knowledge" has been the take-home trophy in the matchup between Macalester and Carleton since 1998 with Carleton going 14-5 in those contests. These two schools first met back in 1898, and the all-time series mark is now 52-10-1 in the Knights' favor.
Carleton totaled 246 yards passing, the most they've accumulated through the air since passing for 309 in the 2013 season finale victory over Augsburg. Quarterback Zach Creighton was 14-of-21 and had a game-sealing touchdown toss. He was also effective on the ground, finishing with a career-high 95 yards rushing on 17 carries.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Knights marched 77 yards on 11 plays, eight of them rushes. Tyler O'Keefe capped the drive with a two-yard plunge over a pile of players at the goal line.
Macalester answered the Knights early in the second quarter with a 12-play, 80-yard drive. Jeramy Stephan scooted around the right side for an eight-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Stephan, but the Scots missed the extra point.
The remainder of the opening half was played to a stalemate as both defenses came up with stops deep in their own territory resulting in a missed field goal for each side. The two teams went into halftime with the Knights holding a 7-6 lead.
The Carleton defense forced a three-and-out for the Scots to start the third quarter, giving the Knights possession in Macalester territory. O'Keefe finished the eight-play drive with his second two-yard touchdown run of the contest.
The Knights' next drive started with a 21-yard pass from Zach Creighton to Matt Mensinger and concluded with a 16-yard touchdown run by Andy Gustafson Running plays accounted for five of the seven plays on the 58-yard drive.
Macalester's other points came early in the fourth quarter when the Scots blocked a punt, and Miles Keys McKay scooped the ball and returned it five yards for a special teams touchdown. The Scots tried for the two-point conversion but were unsuccessful, keeping Carleton in front, 21-12.
The Knights concluded the scoring later in the fourth quarter on a 33-yard pass from Creighton to Gustafson to cap a seven-play, 87-yard drive.
The Carleton defense limited the Scots offense to only six points and 247 yards of total offense. Kwaku Bodom started his collegiate career with a team-high eight tackles. Mitch Heflin had six tackles, and Spencer Francis recorded his first collegiate interception.
With the victory, Carleton improved to 18-3 in non-conference games since 2005.
The Knights will put that mark to the test next Saturday, Sept. 12, with their longest road trip of the season when Carleton visits Galesburg, Ill. to face Midwest Conference member Knox College. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.