Bethel quarterback Ben Wetzell ran for three scores and threw for another as the Royals played the spoiler on Homecoming Saturday in St. Peter, beating host Gustavus Adolphus 40-0.
Wetzell finished the game 12-of-17 through the air for 117 yards with a touchdown and added 63 yards on the ground on nine carries, including scoring totes from 3, 7 and 1 yard out, before giving way to backup Dan Einerson in the fourth quarter.
Bethel held Gustavus to just 88 yards of total offense, while racking up 310 themselves, including 191 on the ground. Bethel running back Phil Porta, the league’s leading rusher, gained 82 yards on 28 carries for the Royals on Saturday. Porta also scored twice during the game, catching a 21-yard touchdown pass from Wetzell in the second quarter and adding a 7-yard touchdown run in the early seconds of the fourth quarter. Porta now needs only 210 yards to become pass former St. Thomas running back Jake Barkley as the MIAC’s all-time leading rusher.
The Gusties were plagued by turnovers all day, committing six, leading to 13 Bethel points. Junior Jordan Stolp (Mankato, Minn.) was 4-of-18 for 26 yards and three interceptions in three-plus quarters of play, while Jacob Mehr (Aitkin, Minn.) was 3-of-8 for 25 yards. First-year Jordan Becker (Easton, Minn.)played the final two offensive series for the Gusties.
After a slow start, Gustavus’ Ray Wilson (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) finished the game with 51 rushing yards to lead the Gusties, while sophomore receiver Chad Arlt (St. Michael, Minn.) caught a game-high four balls for 46 yards. Senior Kerry Zajicek (Glencoe, Minn.) was limited to one catch for six yards, but moved past Todd Raarup into fifth place on the career receptions chart with 101.
Defensively, Bethel’s Kirby Carr made a team-high five tackles, including a 2.5 for a loss and an interception. Gustavus’ Kevin Hegland (Sr., St. Michael, Minn.) and Jared Sieling (Jr., Watertown, Minn.) each made a game-high 10 tackles, while defensive end Patrick Riordan (Jr., Virginia, Minn.) added nine.
Bethel improves to 5-1 overall, 3-1 in the MIAC and has next week off before hosting St. Olaf on Oct. 21. The Gusties fall to 2-3 overall, 1-3 in the league and travel to Collegeville to face league-leading Saint John’s next Saturday.