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Football - Thu, Oct. 24, 2013

October 24, 2013


THIS WEEK:  Dakota State (S.D.) (2-6 overall record) renews their football long-time rivalry game with South Dakota Mines (4-3) on Saturday afternoon.  The 78th meeting between DSU and SDM is set for 2 p.m. (Central Time)/1 p.m. (Mountain Time) at the O'Harra Stadium in Rapid City, S.D.

THE SERIES:  South Dakota Mines owns a 49-27-1 series record over Dakota State.  Both teams were former members of the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference (SDIC) and Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC).  The series began in 1922 where the Hardrockers won the first seven games in the series before DSU recorded their first win in the series in 1930 (by the score of 12-6).  SDM had won the last five meeting over the Trojans, including the last meeting 42-17 on Oct. 29, 2011 in Rapid City.  The last time Dakota State defeated South Dakota Mines was on Oct. 14, 2006 in Rapid City by the score of 31-7 in a DAC conference game.

ABOUT SOUTH DAKOTA MINES:  South Dakota Mines is a member of NCAA Division II Independent.  Stacy Collins is the head coach for the Hardrockers, which he was a defensive coordinator for SDM in 2002 under former head coach Darren Soucy.  The Hardrockers are 4-3 overall record this season, including victories over former DAC members Black Hills State (S.D.) 43-35 on Sept. 14 and Jamestown (N.D.) 41-22 on Sept. 21.  SDM's remaining schedule includes a pair of road trips to Fort Hays State (Kan.) on Nov. 2 and Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 9.

LICHT TABBED AS NSAA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  The North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) selected Dakota State's Josh Licht as its Defensive Player-of-the-Week, announced on Oct. 21.  He recorded a season-high 3.5 quarterback sacks for loss of 19 yards on Oct. 19 versus Briar Cliff (Iowa).  Licht was just 0.5 quarterback sack short of tying DSU's school re cord for most quarterback sacks in a single game (4 by Paul Naughton versus Huron in 1989).  He also tallied a total of 11 tackles in the game, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss of 22 yards.  He also went 1-for-1 passing as he completed a fake punt play with a 16-yard pass to Zach Ely for a first-down in the second quarter.

TROJANS NEAR TOP OF CONFERENCE:  Dakota State is just a half-game behind the North Star Athletic Association conference's leader Valley City State (N.D.) in the conference standings.  The Trojans defeated Jamestown (N.D.) 31-28 on Oct. 12 to improve their NSAA conference record to 2-1 and a second-place in the standings.  VCSU is 2-0 in the conference.  The Trojans have one remaining conference game on their schedule, a road contest at Mayville State on Nov. 2.

LAST TIME OUT:  Dakota State couldn't overcome Briar Cliff's early fourth-quarter surge after the game was knotted at 24-24 by the end of the fourth quarter on Oct. 19.  The Chargers scored 13 straight points in a span of one minute and 19 seconds in the fourth quarter and held off Trojans' late rally by the score of 37-31.  South Dakota Mines and Tiffin (Ohio) met at the Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Oct. 19.  The Dragons jumped to a 12-0 first quarter lead and never trailed as the Hardrockers lost by the score of 60-21.  Tiffin recorded 33 first-downs in the game, while SDM had 14 first downs.  The Dragons outgained the Hardrockers 634-266 in total offensive yards.

GO LONG:  The Trojans recorded their longest touchdown pass this season on Oct. 19 versus Briar Cliff.  On the very first play of the second quarter, Cole Whisenhunt threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ely on a 3rd-and-3 situation and tied the game at 7-7.  Ely is ranked 15th in the nation in total receiving yards with 605 and 33rd in receiving yards per game (75.6 yards per game).  He is 40th in the nation in total scoring with 42 points (6 touchdowns).  Whisenhunt ranks 42nd in the nation in total passing with 1,042 yards.

STELLAR TROJAN DEFENSE:  According to the NAIA-DakStats statistics website as of Thursday, the Trojans are 18th in the nation in pass defense per game (174.8 yards).  DSU is 29th in the nation in total defense per game (357.1 yards) and 30th in opponents' third-down conversion rate of 35.1 percent.  Dakota State ranks 34th in opponents' fourth-down conversions (42.9 percent).  Josh Licht is 18th in the nation in total tackles-for-loss (11) and 31st in total quarterback sacks (4.0).  Ben Kullos averages 9.4 tackles per game, which is 28th-best in the nation.  Preston Powell is 46th in the nation in total interceptions with 2.

IMPRESSIVE DSU SPECIAL TEAMS:  Perry King is second in the nation in total kick-off return yards of 664 yards, five yards shy of tying DSU's school record for most kick-off return yards (669 by Tard Smith in 1993).  Dakota State ranks 40th in the nation in PAT kicking with 91.3 percentage.  Brendon Waldner averages 6.5 punt returns per attempt, which he ranks 35th in the nation.  He is 41st in the nation in punt returns of 85 yards.

DSU TEAM LEADERS:  Cole Whisenhunt leads the Trojans' offense attack with 320 rushing yards (40.0 yards per game) and averaged 130.3 passing yards.  He records a passing completion rate of 56.6 percent.  Bobby Tisch leads the team with 34 receptions (28th in the nation) and averages 4.3 catches per game.  Ben Kullos accumulates 75 tackles this season and averages 9.4 tackles per game.  Josh Licht leads the team with four quarterback sacks and tied his highest season sacks (4 quarterback sacks in 2012). 

FOOTBALL FORECAST:  As of Thursday from, the weather forecast in Rapid City, S.D. calls for partly cloudy skies.  The forecast temperature is 54 degrees and winds come from the north-northwest of 5-15 miles-per-hour. 

DSU FOOTBALL HISTORY LESSON:  Dakota State is in its 94th year of competition.  The Trojans own an all-time record of 270-461-17.  DSU opened their first year of competition in 1908 with an overall record of 4-1-1.  Dakota State is in their first year membership with the newly-formed NAIA's conference—the North Star Athletic Association conference.

WATCH & LISTEN:  South Dakota Mines will have a live video and audio available for the Dakota State-South Dakota Mines football game on Saturday.  Go to to watch the paid video webcast.  The audio radio link is available on   The links will be available on on the 'Live Games' tab above the upcoming events.

STAY CONNECTED:  Stay connected with Dakota State football and athletics all season long on  The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto  The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on

UP NEXT:  Dakota State continues their road trip on Saturday, Nov. 2.  The Trojans play in their final NSAA conference game at Mayville State (N.D.).  Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. in Mayville, N.D.

Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director

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