St. John’s (3-1 MIAC, 5-1 overall) at Carleton (1-2 MIAC, 3-2 overall)
Game time: 1 p.m. Saturday, Laird Stadium, Northfield.
Last meeting: St. John’s defeated Carleton 51-14 on Oct. 13, 2012 in Collegeville.
Series: St. John’s leads 30-0.
Radio coverage: SJ: WBHR (660 AM, Central Minnesota); WLOL (1330 AM, Twin Cities); KOWZ (1170 AM, Southern Minnesota); C: KQCL (95.9 FM, Fairbault/Northfield area).
(Check out the full game preview story in Saturday’s online and print editions of the St. Cloud Times. For live game coverage, check out the live coverage link at www.sctimes.com or follow Frank Rajkowski at @rajko1973 on Twitter)
St. John’s at a glance
Starters on offense
WR - Rob Voshell, Jr. (6-1, 190); LT – Alex Jarosz, Jr. (6-4, 295); LG – Rob Sybrant, Sr. (6-3, 280); C -Kevin Battis, Sr. (6-1, 280); RG – Ross Carlson, Jr. (6-3, 300); RT – Jack Hedlund, Sr. (6-3, 280); TE – Colin Moynihan, Sr. (6-0, 200); WR – Josh Bungum, So. (5-9, 170); QB – Connor Bruns, Sr. (6-3, 215) or Nick Martin, So. (6-3, 195); RB – Jakob Certeza, Fr. (6-1, 215); RB – Jake Essler, Sr. (5-9, 175).
Starters on defense
DE – Ryan Michaelis, Jr. (6-2, 210); DT – Paul Plombon, Sr. (6-3, 240); DT – Ben Rossini, Jr. (6-3, 235); DE – Matt Workman, Jr. (6-2, 220); LB – Drake Matuska, So. (6-2, 230); LB – Andrew Rose, Jr. (6-2, 205); OLB – Carter Hanson, Fr. (5-11, 190); CB – Dylan Graves, Sr. (6-2, 200); CB – Trevor Warner, So. (6-0, 180); SS – Darryl Williams, Sr. (6-1, 195); FS – Nolan Lortz, Sr. (5-11, 175)
Kicker – Alexi Johnson, Fr. (5-6, 160); Punter – Griffin Toomey, Fr. (6-0, 190); Long snapper - Lucas Glomb, Fr. (5-10, 170); Holder – Johnny Benson, So. (5-11, 180); Kickoff returns - Jake Essler, Sr. (5-9, 175); Andrew Norri, Jr. (5-9, 180); Punt returns – Jake Essler, Sr. (5-9, 175); Andrew Norri, Jr. (5-9, 180)
Top rushers: Sam Sura 93 carries, 392 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 4 touchdowns; Jakob Certeza 45 carries, 216 yards, 4.8 yards per carry, 1 touchdown.
Top passers: Connor Bruns 97-170-4 interceptions, 1,088 yards, 7 touchdowns; Nick Martin 13-28-1 interceptions, 184 yards, no touchdowns.
Top receivers: Josh Bungum 52 catches, 527 yards, 10.1 yards per catch, 2 touchdowns; Rob Voshell 16 catches, 235 yards, 14.7 yards per catch, 3 touchdowns.
Top tacklers: Andrew Rose 28 solo tackles, 20 assists, 6 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery; Drake Matuska 28 solo tackles, 11 assists, 4 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery; Reid Bjorklund 21 solo tackles, 15 assists, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, .5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries.
What they’re saying about Carleton: “Their quarterback (senior Conor Lynch) runs the ball very well,” St. John’s coach Gary Fasching said.”They run a lot of zone read stuff and he keeps the ball pretty effectively. But I’m also impressed by how he throws it. They do a lot in the short passing game. You wouldn’t say they’re a vertical team. But they run a lot of the short stuff very effectively.”
Carleton at a glance
Starters on offense
QB - Conor Lynch, Sr. (6-3, 208); RB – Chris Madden, Fr. (5-8, 163); WR – Anthony Kemper, Sr. (6-4, 215); WR – Chase Gottschalk, Sr. (6-0, 185); WR – Ted Lozier, Sr. (6-6, 226); TE – Brian Frett, Sr. (6-4, 248); LT – Eric Wittenburg, Jr. (6-5, 265); LG – Ames Bryant, Jr. (5-11, 240); C – Jake Reardon, Sr. (6-2, 250); RG – Cole Rystedt, Sr. (6-2, 285); RT – Henrik Byrlev, So. (6-4, 228)
Starters on defense
DE – Luke Reppe, Jr. (6-4, 215); DT – Andrew Campbell, Sr. (5-11, 260); NG – Adan Nunez, Sr. (5-11, 220); DE – Jonathan Rowe, Sr. (6-2, 220); OLB – Jamie Carter, Fr. (5-11, 185); MLB – Mason Schnarr, Fr. (6-2, 220); OLB – Dan Cook, Jr. (5-10, 186); CB – Pat Dale, Jr. (6-1, 167); CB – Josh Estes, Sr. (5-8, 153); FS – Nick Herringer, Sr. (6-0, 190); SS – Alex Polk, Jr. (6-3, 205)
Kicker – Brandt Davis, Fr. (6-0, 180); Punter – Brandt Davis, Fr. (6-0, 180); Long snapper – Dane Christiansen, Jr. (6-6, 265); Holder – Chase Gottschalk, Sr. (6-0, 185); Kickoff returns – Chris Madden, Fr. (5-8, 163); Chase Gottschalk, Sr. (6-0, 185); Punt returns – Dylan Saline, Fr. (5-11, 175); Chris Madden, Fr. (5-8, 163)
Top rushers: John Baker 67 carries, 267 yards, 4.0 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns; Chris Madden 38 carries, 205 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns.
Top passer: Conor Lynch 63-104-3 interceptions, 762 yards, 7 touchdowns.
Top receivers: Anthony Kemper 26 catches, 400 yards, 15.4 yards per catch, 4 touchdowns; Chris Madden 18 catches, 204 yards, 11.3 yards per catch, 1 touchdown.
Top tacklers: Mason Schnarr 23 solo tackles, 26 assists, 2 tackles-for-loss, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery; Alexander Polk 25 solo tackles, 15 assists; Daniel Cook 22 solo tackles, 16 assists, 4 tackles-for-loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions.
What they’re saying about St. John’s: “When we play teams like Bethel, St. Thomas and St. John’s is now definitely back in that boat, it’s a challenge for us to match up,” Carleton coach Bob Pagel said. “Those teams have a lot more depth than we do and we always have our hands full. This week will be no exception.”
* Senior quarterback Connor Bruns will not play against the Knights. He has not practiced all week due to an injured foot. Head coach Gary Fasching said after practice Friday that Nick Martin — who began the year as the starter before an injury in the opening game — would step back under center.
* The Johnnies lost sophomore outside linebacker Reid Bjorklund for the season after he suffered a torn ACL in a 30-28 win over Augsburg last week. Freshman Carter Hanson – a state all-star pick – replaced him and finished with a game-leading 11 tackles (seven solo) and recovered a fumble. He is again expected to get the start Saturday. Sophomore running back Sam Sura – the team’s leading rusher – will miss the game after spraining his right LCL last week. Senior Jake Essler will start in his place, but freshman Michael Diggins is also expected to see carries. Freshman Jakob Certeza will again be the other starting running back. Senior defensive lineman Nate Blenker is also expected to miss Saturday’s game due to injury. Junior Ryan Michaelis, senior Jay Roane and sophomore Sam Brynestad could all see time at his defensive end spot.
* Carleton has had some injury issues of its own. Junior starting linebacker Zach Heinrich went down with a bruised sternum against St. Thomas and head coach Bob Pagel said he is unlikely to return this season. Pagel also said freshman running back Chris Madden and senior running back John Baker are both banged up. The player that is most healthy Saturday is likely to carry much of the load in the running game.
* The Johnnies lead the overall series between the two teams 30-0 and have scored 31 points or more in each of the last four meetings (including 41 points or more three times in that span). But St. John’s is averaging just 18.3 points per game in its last three trips to Laird Stadium. That includes 14 points in a come-from-behind 14-10 victory in the regular season in 2008. That game decided that season’s MIAC title. The Knights finished 7-3 that year – the best record at the school since 1992 – and head coach Kurt Ramler was named MIAC coach of the year. Ramler, of course, is now the offensive coordinator at St. John’s.
* The Johnnies have had 23 plays of 20 yards or more in their last three games against Carleton inlcuding nine of 35-plus yards.
* St. John’s has now forced 20 turnovers this season, which ranks them fourth nationally in Division III and is just one less than the Johnnies forced in all 10 games a year ago. St. John’s leads Division III with 13 fumble recoveries, including five in the win over Augsburg last week alone.
* St. John’s is outscoring the opposition 61-10 in the second quarter this season. But four of the team’s five wins this year have come by three points or less. The last time the Johnnies won four games by that small a margin was 1989.
* The Johnnies were ranked No. 25 in the most recent D3football.com Division III poll. That makes them the third nationally ranked opponent Carleton has faced in the past four weeks – Bethel and St. Thomas being the other two. The Knights fell 58-14 to the Royals and 65-6 to the Tommies. But they are coming off a 56-17 nonconference win at Macalester last week in which they registered their highest single-game point total since 1991.
* St. John’s sophomore wide receiver Josh Bungum still leads the MIAC in both receptions (52) and receiving yardage (527).
* It’s a matchup of a pair of talented freshman kickers. Carleton’s Brandt Davis is 2-for-2 on field goal attenpts this season. Alexi Johnson of St. John’s is 6-for-6. Johnnies freshman punter Griffin Toomey, meanwhile, ranks second in the MIAC with an average of 39.2 yards per kick and was this week’s conference special teams player of the week.
* Carleton senior wide receiver Chase Gottchalk was a USA Football Network preseason All-American pick.
* Saturday’s game is Homecoming at Carleton.