August 26, 2016
MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota State (S.D.) traveled to Joe Quintal Field Friday night to visit nationally-ranked archrival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), who is ranked No. 16 in the NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 national poll. The Trojans knocked off the Tigers 34-30, thanks Jacob Giles' 4-yard touchdown pass to Preston Nordling with 2 minutes, 13 seconds to go in the game for DSU's lead and Trojans' defense making a goal-line stop in the final minute to hang on for the victory.
It was the first win since 2004 that Dakota State defeated Dakota Wesleyan, where the last victory came at Joe Quintal Field. In addition, the Trojans snapped their five-game losing skid versus the Tigers when the rivalry was renewed again in 2011. The victory also gave the Trojans their 31st victory over DWU in a long-time rivalry series when they were members of the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference.
Dakota State defeated a nationally-ranked team for the second straight year (defeated No. 24 Dickinson State, N.D. at Trojan Field on Oct. 17, 2015).
The Trojans and Tigers went back-and-forth in the game, featuring nine lead changes and a total of 900 offensive yards combined by both teams.
DSU started the game on their own 33-yard line and marched down the field to score its first touchdown of the game. Facing first-and-20 situation on DSU's 36-yard line, Giles threw a 47-yard pass to Mitchell Galloway to set up a scoring play for the Trojans on DWU's 17-yard line.
Robert Johnson rushed for nine yards, followed by Giles' 5-yard pass to Nording for a first-and-goal situation for Dakota State. Johnson rushed for a 3-yard touchdown run to give Trojans their first lead of the game at 6-0 with 12:05 on the clock. DSU used 7 plays for 67 years in 2:51 in the scoring drive.
The Tigers would cut Trojans' lead to 6-3 after a 24-yard field goal by Chase Murphy with 3:21 left in the first quarter.
DWU took their first lead of the game as they kicked off the second quarter with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Dillon Turner to Dustin Livingston with 14:48 on the clock. Murphy's PAT kick was good to put the Tigers up 10-6.
Dakota State would quickly stormed back on the ensuing possession. Johnson rushed for 12 yards from DSU's 26-yard line to 38-yard line, followed by a 62-yard touchdown pass from Giles to Austin Opdahl. Nic Behrens added a successful PAT kick as the Trojans regained their lead at 13-10 with 14:01 remaining in the first-half.
Hayden Adams caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Turner as DWU retook the lead from the Trojans with less than seven minutes in the second quarter. The Tigers extended their lead to 17-13 after Murphy's PAT extra-point kick.
Dakota State regained their lead on the next possession after using 8 plays for 64 yards in 2:36. Giles threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Opdahl and Behrens added a PAT extra-point kick for DSU's 20-17 lead with 4:18 remaining before intermission.
The Trojans maintained a three-point halftime lead, their third straight meeting that DSU has held a halftime lead over the Tigers.
Dakota Wesleyan came out in the second half and earned a 23-20 lead after John Fabrizius ran for a 5-yard touchdown run with 10:28 on the clock. Murphy's PAT kick was no good.
Dakota State survived a bad punt on the ensuing possession to set up DWU inside the red zone, the Trojans' defense prevented the Tigers to add another score. Murphy's 22-yard field goal was blocked by DSU's Darion Office with 7:22 left in the third quarter.
With 1:20 on the clock in the third quarter with DSU starting their drive on their own 24-yard line, Johnson rushed for 33-yard on the first play of the drive to DWU's 33-yard line. On the next play, Giles connected to Opdahl for their third touchdown of the game – 33-yard touchdown pass as the Trojans take a 26-23 lead with 54 seconds left. Brymn Ractliffe hit a successful PAT kick to increase DSU's lead to 27-23.
DWU came back to regain their lead after using 14 plays for 81 yards in 5:29 in the fourth quarter. Turner threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Payne Ahrens with 5:31 left in the game. Murphy recorded a successful PAT kick as the Tigers lead 30-27.
The Trojans would answer back on the next possession. Facing a third-and-four situation on DSU's 40-yard line, Johnson ran for 26 yards to produce a first down play to DWU's 34-yard line. Giles threw a 14-yard pass to Galloway on the next play for another first down.
With another third-and-4 situation for the Trojans on DWU's 14-yard line, Giles hit Luke Gomez for 9-yard to gain another first down. Giles struck Nordling for a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 left in the game as the DSU rallied back for a 33-30 lead.
Despite an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that forced to move back the extra point attempt (15 yards), Ractliffe converted the PAT extra point kick as Dakota State extended their lead to 34-30.
DWU's Luke Loudenburg returned DSU's kickoff for 59 yards from their own 18-yard line to DSU's 23-yard line. With time running out, Dakota Wesleyan faced a fourth-and-two situation on DSU's 5-yard line, Fabrizius fumbled the ball and was recovered by the Trojans with less than 30 seconds to go.
It was the first time since 2005 when the Trojans win the season opener game on the road (DSU defeated at Waldorf, Iowa 16-2 on Aug. 27, 2005).
DSU's Giles completed 26 passes in 48 attempts for a career-high 361 yards for the Trojans, his second straight meeting with the Tigers where he threw over 300 yards. He also threw four touchdowns.
Opdahl caught a career-high 10 receptions for Dakota State, recording 177 yards (one yard short of tying his career high 178 receiving yards in 2015). He caught three touchdown passes in the game. Nordling added six receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. Galloway had four receptions for 76 yards.
Johnson ran 24 times for 168 yards and a touchdown for DSU.
Turner was 23-of-37 with 277 passing yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers. Livingston had six receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. Adams had eight catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Fabrizius rushed 21 times for 82 yards with a touchdown for DWU.
Adam Bormann tallied 10 tackles for Dakota Wesleyan. Brady Mudder, Matt Jensen and Trey DeCroock each had seven tackles.
Dakota State outgained Dakota Wesleyan 512-414 in total offensive yards.
The Trojans broke a new DSU school record for most first-downs in the game, racking up a total of 34 first-downs (previous old record was 31 first-downs at Valley City State, N.D. on Sept. 17, 2011). The Tigers had 24 first-downs.
Dakota State stays on the road next Saturday (Sept. 3) as they visit another member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, Dordt (Iowa). Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at Open Space Field in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director