Courtesy: Carroll Sports Information
Five Carroll rusher combined for 205 yards and two touchdowns and Isazah King came up with a fumble recovery on a muffed punt and an interception returned for a touchdown as the Carroll College football team defeated Rocky Mountain 28-14 Saturday at a windswept Nelson Stadium.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Saints started the scoring off with 1:48 left in the second quarter when Dylan Green scored from the 4-yard line.
A RMC penalty of the extra-point attempt gave the Saints a shot at a shorter attempt and Carroll capitalized on it with a quarterback keeper from Tanner Gustavsen to put the Saints up 8-0. The score would hold for the half.
After forcing Rocky to punt on their first possession, the Saints marched down the field on a 7-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 34-yard touchdown pass from Gustavsen to Connor Fohn. The ensuing PAT was true to put Carroll up 15-0.
After trading three-and-outs, the Bears put together an 87-yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by a 45-yard QB scramble by Jacob Bakkan and capped by a QB dive from the 1-yard line for the score.
Neither team could muster much offense early in the fourth quarter but special teams came into play for the Saints. A 52-yard punt by Dylan Torgerson with the wind at his back was muffed by electric Rocky return man Jayc Van Zee. King was there to recover the ball at the Rocky 12-yard line.
A play later, Gustavsen ran off tackle into the corner of the endzone to give Carroll a 22-7 lead with 5:14 to play.
The Bears would answer. Bakken engineered a 7-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 28-yard touchdown run by Taylor Schwartz to cut the Carroll lead to 22-14 with 3:17 to play.
Carroll took 2:41 off the clock in their next possession but punted the ball away with 36 seconds on the clock. The Bears had life but back-to-back pass break ups from Vince DiGiallnardo and Beaugh Meyer set up fourth down.
The fourth-down pass was intercepted across the middle by King at the RMC 30-yard line and was returned for a touchdown to put Carroll up 28-14 with just nine seconds left in the game.
"Isazah did a great job and he read it beautifully," head coach Mike Van Diestsaid. "I think all of his teammates were yelling at him to 'Get down! Get down to the ground!' But he saw the end zone, those purple and white checkerboards, and he wasn't gonna be denied."
A mishandled snap on the PAT attempt was recovered by the Saints but the attempt failed. It would not matter in the final line as the Saints held on for the win to move to 3-4 on the season and in conference play. Rocky moves to 4-3 in Frontier play and 4-4 overall.
The Bears outgained the Saints 317-291 and ran 14 more plays on offense. The Saints forced two interceptions and the muffed punt and held on to the ball, there was only one fumble on the day for Carroll but it was recovered.
Gustavsen was 7-of-14 for 86 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He also ran 11 times for 49 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. This was Gustavsen's first start of the year, he came in late last week in relief of JT Linderafter Linder went down with an injury in the third quarter.
"The thing about Tanner, nothing against JT, but we can run the quarterback counters, we can run the quarterback read scheme with Tanner," Van DIest said. "That's an added dimension. We have problems with quarterbacks that do that to us. When you look at the quarterback down in Eastern Oregon, (Zach) Bartlow, that's what makes him so valuable and so dangerous."
Bakken ended the day 22-of-42 for 174 yards and two interceptions and led the Bears with 99 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
Dylan Green ran for 83 yards on 13 carries but exited the game in the third quarter with an injury.
The Saints are home again next week for military appreciation day against MSU-Northern.