FOOTBALL

Scots get to keep playing, and maybe even into next year for QB Boyer

Barry McNamara
Special to the Review Atlas
In this 2021 photo, Carter Boyer runs against Knox College. Boyer, who came to Monmouth College from Carthage, is considering return for a 2023 season.

MONMOUTH — Monmouth senior quarterback Carter Boyer has a favorite college football memory that will be tough to top, but helping the Fighting Scots stay on track to regain the Midwest Conference championship by defeating Ripon on Nov. 5 might be a close second. 

In that game, Boyer threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing score as the Scots rallied for a 39-31 win against the previously unbeaten Red Hawks. The victory moved Monmouth into a three-way tie for first along with Ripon and Lake Forest. 

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All three teams won last weekend to finish MWC play at 8-1. Boyer threw for 308 yards and three scores and added a rushing TD as Monmouth defeated Knox 56-0. The Scots can officially claim a share of the league title, but not the automatic NCAA playoff berth, which goes to Lake Forest. The Foresters and Scots finished tied in the quarters-led tiebreaker, so Lake Forest earned the bid thanks to their 31-14 victory over Monmouth. 

The Scots will still get to keep playing, though, as they’ve been invited to participate in the inaugural Cousins Subs Lakefront Bowl at 12:05 p.m. Nov. 19 at Raabe Stadium in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Monmouth’s opponent will be 8-2 Concordia University-Wisconsin, runner-up in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. 

“After thorough due diligence with the sponsor and conversations among the presidents, the MWC agreed to partner with the NACC and Cousins Subs,” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt. “The game has obvious benefits for recruitment and retention. Among the most attractive parts of the opportunity is that Cousins Subs reimburses the teams for expenses.” 

Monmouth College quarterback Carter Boyer looks to pass against Ripon Nov. 5. Boyer threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing score.

Boyer’s gridiron highlight 

Boyer’s freshman season was the last time the Scots had a share of the MWC title, winning it outright. Although he didn’t appear on the pre-game script, his heroics in the championship-deciding 10-7 victory over St. Norbert have become part of Fighting Scots lore. 

Carter Boyer

“I didn’t think I’d get to play that much,” said Boyer, who to that point in his college career had completed just five passes. “That season, I only came in in special situations.” 

But Monmouth’s starting quarterback, Walker Dycus, “took a big shot” in the fourth quarter, prompting a visit by offensive coordinator Joe Frietag to his backup signal caller. 

“Coach Freitag came over to me and said, ‘We’re going to see what you can do,” recalled Boyer. 

Freitag might’ve added, “And oh, by the way, all we need you to do is drive us 90 yards with 55 seconds to play.” 

Boyer’s first order of business was to give the Scots some hope, which he did by launching, and completing, a 50-yard pass to Jake Uryasz. 

A few snaps later, Monmouth was on the 3-yard line with time for two plays. The Scots would only need one. 

“I rolled left, and the play was designed to go to Nate Graham, but he was covered,” said Boyer. “Jake Uryasz was just supposed to run a guy off Nate’s route, but I saw him coming back to me.” 

Into a very tight window, Boyer zipped a pass and Uryasz came down with it for the winning TD with just two seconds left on the clock. 

“I remember looking over at Coach Freitag, and he slammed his headset into the ground in excitement,” said Boyer. “I’ll never forget that moment. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.” 

Boyer had gone 5-for-5 on the drive for 76 yards. The Scots were Midwest Conference champions. 

“That was a crazy experience,” he said. “It was the best sporting moment of my life. Just the atmosphere that day. There were so many people there.” 

Topping undefeated Ripon 

The stakes were essentially as high this year against Ripon. In a must-win game, the Scots trailed 23-19 at halftime. That’s when Fighting Scots coach Chad Braun employed a motivational technique that Boyer said the team practiced during the week. 

“Every single day in practice, we took a halftime,” said Boyer, noting that the idea was to come out for the third quarter with the same intensity that is typical for the start of the game. “Coach Braun even got us ready for the second half the same way he does before a game,” getting in front of the squad near the south end zone and whipping the players into a frenzy. 

“That was definitely one of the main keys to our comeback,” said Boyer. “We had a different mindset, a different energy.” 

Boyer was asked if there was a turning point play. Rather than mention his 7-yard TD or his 32-yard touchdown pass to Uryasz four minutes later, he cited a blocked punt by Hunter DeVena, which was recovered by Caleb Endicott. The special teams highlight directly preceded Boyer’s TD carry. 

That put Monmouth ahead 26-23. Ultimately, the game ended with almost exactly the same score as a big Fighting Scots victory over Ripon 50 years ago, when Monmouth posted a come-from-behind 40-30 win en route to a perfect 9-0 season. 

M Club Hall of Famer Dennis Plummer is still in the Scots’ record book for his 297 all-purpose yards that day in 1972, and Boyer is moving up in that book, too. The week before the Ripon game, he threw for 353 yards against Cornell, a mark bested by only four QBs in school history. 

Planning a 2023 return 

Boyer might have more additions to the record books if he takes advantage of the silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic cloud — he’s considering a return to the Scots next fall for a bonus fifth year, as his sophomore season was wiped out. 

“I would really like to come back for the extra year,” said Boyer, who was the starting quarterback for just one season at Illini West High School in his hometown of Carthage. “I’m not ready to give up football yet.” 

If Boyer follows through with that plan, he would complete his business administration degree requirements in December, then work in construction in Carthage for a few months while training with former Scots standout Michael Lafferty. 

With a full season at quarterback — something he’s yet to experience at Monmouth — Boyer could post numbers that move him ahead of the career passing yards of the five Scots quarterbacks immediately above him. Tanner Matlick, who sits at No. 3 on the all-time list with 6,276 yards, could even be in range. The Scots top two passers all-time are Alex Tanney and his NCAA Division III record 14,249 yards and Rob Purlee (8,017).   

“I’d say the chances are pretty high,” Boyer said of a possible 2023 return. 

That means even more great gridiron memories might be in store for Carter Boyer.