Football moves to 5-0 with 41-7 win at Hamline

More news about: St. Olaf

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Junior running back Khayleb Willis ran for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the St. Olaf College football team continued its unbeaten start to the season with a 41-7 victory over Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) opponent Hamline University on Saturday evening at Klas Field.
Willis logged his second-straight 100-yard game for St. Olaf (5-0, 3-0 MIAC), which improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the MIAC for the first time since 2007. The Oles outgained Hamline (0-5, 0-3 MIAC) by a 489-181 margin in the game, including a 264-25 advantage on the ground in the team's third-straight game with at least 200 rushing yards.

St. Olaf's 489 yards of offense were the program's most since racking up 505 yards in a 46-40 overtime loss to Luther on Sept. 10, 2016. The Oles have totaled over 400 yards in four of their five games this season and have at least 372 yards in all five victories.
For the second year in a row, Willis went over 150 yards on the ground against Hamline, following a 157-yard, one-touchdown game last season. The junior's night was highlighted by a 78-yard touchdown burst early in the fourth quarter, the longest run for St. Olaf since J.J. Strnad's 90-yard touchdown run on Nov. 1, 2014, which also came at Hamline.
Defensively, the Oles created three of their five takeaways in the first half on their way to a 27-0 halftime lead and finished with five sacks in the game. Senior linebacker Tommy Fleetham had a pair of interceptions and a sack to lead the defensive effort, while senior linebacker Jacob Ossell contributed a pair of sacks.
Senior quarterback Ricardo Johnson III finished with 280 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, throwing for 225 yards and three scores while rushing for 55 yards and another touchdown. First-year Gabe Alada caught five passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard catch and run in the third quarter for his third two-touchdown game in five collegiate games.
Through five games, Johnson III has had a hand in 21 touchdowns, throwing a MIAC-high 16 and rushing for five more, while averaging 309.8 yards of offense per game. Alada is averaging 23.1 yards per catch and leads the MIAC with seven touchdown catches.
Fleetham halted Hamline's opening drive of the game with an interception, setting up St. Olaf near midfield. The Oles proceeded to go 53 yards in seven plays, capped by a seven-yard scoring run by Johnson III to take a quick 7-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, St. Olaf only needed to cover 45 yards for its second touchdown of the first quarter, as Johnson III found Alada for a 38-yard touchdown with 33 seconds remaining in the quarter to double the Oles' lead.
The score remained 14-0 until the Oles broke the game wide open with two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half. With 4:17 to go in the second quarter, Willis found the end zone from seven yards out to make it 20-0 with his first touchdown of the game. Fleetham's second interception of the half set up the Oles at the Hamline 36-yard line to start the drive.
Inside the final minute of the half, Johnson III connected with Ben Smithson for a six-yard touchdown, the senior tight end's sixth of the season among his nine receptions, junior Shiloh Goodwin intercepted a pass to give the Oles the ball in Hamline territory. Each of the Oles' four scoring drives in the first half were 53 yards or fewer, as St. Olaf outgained Hamline 236-12 in the opening half.
Hamline got its lone score of the game with 8:51 remaining in the third quarter when Justice Spriggs hit Harrison Jones for a six-yard touchdown to cap a drive prolonged by a 25-yard run on a fake punt. Jones had six catches for 83 yards in the game and the score, which was the first given up by the St. Olaf defense in nearly seven quarters spanning 102:49 of game time.
With 2:05 to go in the third, Johnson III hit Alada along the right sideline and the first-year beat his defender infield before outrunning the rest of the Hamline defense for a 75-yard touchdown to stretch the St. Olaf lead to 34-7. The touchdown came on the second play after the Oles stopped the Pipers on a fourth-down attempt at the St. Olaf 20-yard line.
The 75-yard score stood as the Oles' longest touchdown of the season for just over three minutes of game time before Willis burst through the middle for a 78-yard touchdown scamper on the game's final touchdown. Willis' second touchdown of the night occurred two plays after Sam Stuckmayer recovered a fumble on a fourth-and-one with Hamline at the St. Olaf 19-yard line.
After a bye week, the Oles host Bethel University on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. at Klein Field at Manitou.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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