Homecoming heartbreak

Incomplete was the name of the game against Carleton College for the homecoming weekend game.

PJ Stebbings, Sports Reporter

The Hamline Football team took on Carleton College on Sept. 24 at Klas Field for the Piper’s Homecoming match. This is the fourth consecutive year that Hamline
has hosted Carleton during homecoming weekend and lost.
In an interview on Friday, Sept. 23, senior Tightend and captain Eli Danielson said, “Since I’ve been here, we haven’t beat them. But we always go into it thinking that they’re a beatable team, and we always lose. So hopefully this year we take them for what they actually are, and actually compete and not play at
their level.” The game ended with 45 points on the vistors’ side of the scoreboard and 12 for Hamline. (Freddie Buergin Witt)

Hamline Football’s winning streak came to a screeching halt Saturday during Homecoming against the Carleton Knights who routed them 45–12. 

Hamline was dominated on all sides of the football field. Carleton racked up 554 yards of total offense, while Hamline was only able to muster 250 yards of total offense. Carleton’s quarterback, fifth-year senior Jonathan Singleton torched the Piper secondary for 308 yards and 3 TDs, and also broke the all-time career passing TD record for Carleton College.

Hamline had started the season on a high note, beginning 2–0 against non-conference opponents: Crown College and The University of Minnesota-Morris. 

Seniors Sam Fritz and Eli Danielson were very confident heading into the game. When asked what he thought the outcome of the game would be, Fritz guaranteed a win saying, “we WILL win.” 

“I believe we can compete for a shot at the conference title,” Danielson said in agreement.  

Obviously, things did not go the Pipers’ way on Saturday. When it comes to a performance like this there are few positives that can be taken away, but there are some. For starters, special teams played well, not allowing any big returns and forcing a fumble on a punt return that led to the Piper’s first score of the game. 

Caleb Lueders made a big impact positively and negatively on special teams for Hamline, returning six kicks for 174 yards and a long of 46, but also fumbled a crucial punt inside his own 10 yard line at the end of the first half, which allowed the Knights to put some more points on the board going into the half. 

Defensively, Hamline was exposed in the run game as well as the pass game, allowing 230 rushing yards and 324 passing yards. The Pipers lost three key starters in the secondary from 2021, returning only senior Zach Griebel and the inexperience on the back end was on full display. 

One shining light for the defense was junior safety Ryan Kouri who had a tremendous game, forcing a fumble, securing an interception and recording six tackles. Aiden Chang led Carleton on the ground, rushing 13 times for 88 yards and two TDs, while Jonathan Singleton spread the ball around the field through the air, hitting nine different receivers throughout the game. 

Coming into this game quarterback Alejandro Villanueva was one of the most efficient passers in all of D3, ranking #2 in completion percentage out of all D3 quarterbacks in the nation. Unfortunately, the trend did not continue as he threw 20 incompletions, going 13–33 for 196 yards and one TD. 

Hamline’s jazz band played at the football game to provide musical entertainment to the fans at the game. Multiple alumni played with the band on Saturday. (Freddie Buergin Witt)

Tight end Charlie Wilson once again had a big day, leading all Hamline receivers with 110 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. One positive that can be taken out of the offensive performance was, that although inefficient moving the ball, the Pipers were able to take care of the football and committed zero offensive turnovers.

Hamline came into this game on a hot streak and full of confidence and there was a buzz around campus that maybe this is the year the Pipers make a statement and finally turn things around. Coach Chip Taylor is in his seventh season as head coach and has yet to have a winning season. After this loss, his career record at Hamline fell to 15–38 and he has yet to reach a .500 winning percentage since 2016. 

From 2019 to 2021, Hamline won only four games in those three seasons and have beaten only two MIAC opponents in the last five years. The Pipers travel to Duluth next week to take on St. Scholastica, one of the two MIAC opponents they have beaten recently and have a chance to regain some momentum then.