These programs met for the first time on the gridiron way back in 1918, and today marked the 99th time overall—and 96th time as a varsity sport—that the Northfield neighbors squared off. It also marked what might possible by the hottest game-time weather conditions in series history. Kickoff was moved up to 11 a.m. due to forecasts of excessive heat and humidity later in the day. The temperature gauge read 85 degrees at kickoff and climbed throughout the contest.
On the game's first possession, Carleton (1-2, 0-1 MIAC) marched 61 yards on seven plays including a leaping four-yard touchdown reception for Fletcher Metz. The Oles (3-0, 1-0 MIAC) answered with a 14-play drive, capped by Ricardo Johnson III's five-yard run. It appeared that the St. Olaf quarterback fumbled the ball well before crossing the goal line—a loose ball that Carleton recovered—but the visitors were awarded the touchdown anyways.
The Knights re-gained the lead early in the second quarter when Christian Zaytoun connected with Metz along the sideline, and the junior receiver broke a tackle and raced 44 yards to the end zone.
Back-to-back touchdown drives helped St. Olaf carry a 19-14 lead into halftime, and the Oles converted Carleton interceptions into two more touchdowns in the third quarter.
The Knights made it a two-possession game again during the fourth quarter when Sean Goodman Jr. hauled in a pass and leapt over a defender into the end zone. The Oles were able to milk the remaining 6:38 off the clock to secure the 33-21 result in the 87th annual battle for the Goat Trophy.
"Proud of how we competed. In the end, we beat ourselves," said Carleton head coach Tom Journell. "It's hard enough beating a bad team, let alone a good one when you make the mistakes we made. We will learn from this loss, and we'll get better. As long as this happens, you can't consider this a failure."
Johnson III shouldered the load for St. Olaf, as he threw for 191 yards and three touchdown tosses to tight end Ben Smithson. Johnson also rushed 24 times for 116 more yards and two additional scores. Zaytoun finished the day with 216 passing yards and three touchdowns, but he was also responsible for four interceptions.
Senior linebacker Kwaku Bodom totaled a career-best 17 tackles, the highest figure by a Knight since Nov. 8, 2014, and added two quartback hurries and a pass breakup. Cornerback Eric McGregor amassed 13 tackles and broke up two passes.
Carleton hits the road for a meeting with No. 9-ranked Saint John's on Saturday, Sept. 22. Live audio will be available via Power 96 (KQCL 95.9 FM) in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide via Knights Online.