October 1, 2016
FOREST CITY, Iowa – Leading 16-13 before entering the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon at Bolstorff Field, the nationally-ranked Dakota State (S.D.) pulled away by outscoring Waldorf (Iowa) 21-0 for a 37-13 North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) conference victory. It was the fourth straight victory for the Trojans, their first time since 1998 that DSU had won four consecutive games.
Dakota State, which jumped four spots to No. 20 in this week's NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 national poll, raised their overall record to 5-1 and 2-0 record in the North Star conference play. It was the first time since 1998 that the Trojans started the season with a 5-1. In addition, it was the first time since 2007 that DSU started the conference play with a 2-0 record (Trojans defeated Valley City State, N.D. and Mayville State, N.D. in the first two conference games in the former Dakota Athletic Conference).
It was the eighth victory in the last ten games for the Trojans, dating from last season when DSU concluded the 2015 season with a 3-1 record. It was also the fifth consecutive NSAA conference victory for Dakota State.
Waldorf lost their fourth straight game and fell to 1-5 overall record and 0-2 NSAA conference record. The Trojans swept the season series with the Warriors, winning 36-14 as a non-conference game at Trojan Field 14 days ago on Sept. 17. DSU holds the all-time series record of 5-1 over WU.
After Waldorf was forced to punt in the first drive of the game, the Trojans began their drive on WU's 40-yard line with 12 minutes, 27 seconds on the clock. DSU used 7 plays for 40 yards in 2:34 as Jacob Giles threw an 11-yard pass to Robert Johnson for the first lead of the game. Nic Behrens added the PAT extra-point kick to give Trojans a 7-0 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Warriors trimmed DSU's lead to 7-6 with 1:02 to go in the first quarter after Isaac Sanchez's 13-yard pass to LaRyan Fletcher (German Ponce's PAT extra-point kick was no good). The Warriors used 6 plays for 48 yards in 3:13 in their scoring drive.
Behrens hit a 32-yard field goal as Dakota State extended their lead to 10-6 with 4:38 remaining in the second quarter, using 13 plays for 57 yards in 4:52.
DSU held on to a 10-6 halftime lead.
The Trojans maintained possession to start the second-half as Preston Madden returned for 19 yards from DSU's 17-yard line to DSU 36-yard line. The Trojans' drive started on WU's 49-yard line after a personal foul face mask committed by the Warriors.
Facing 3rd-and-16 on DSU's 45-yard line in the opening drive of the second half, Giles found Preston Nordling for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 13:48 on the clock in the third quarter as DSU's lead ballooned to 16-6.
Waldorf answered back on the ensuing possession by using 10 plays for 78 yards in 4:50 for a touchdown. The Warriors were able to convert their 4th-and-11 conversion on DSU's 17-yard after a 16-yard pass from Sanchez to Fletcher. Sanchez then threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Cale Crowder on the next play with 8:58 to go in third. Ponce's PAT extra-point kick was good as WU trimmed Dakota State's lead to 16-13.
Dakota State roared on three straight possessions in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. After a 45-yard punt by Crowder from WU's 26-yard line to DSU's 29-yard line, Johnson recorded a pair of rushing plays for a first down to DSU's 39-yard line. Hagan Hines then rushed for 10 yards to earn another first down to DSU's 49-yard line.
After Hines ran for 7 yards to WU's 44-yard line, Johnson added another first down rushing play of 4 yards to WU's 38-yard line. The Warriors committed a personal foul penalty on the next play, moving the ball to WU's 23-yard line for another first down.
Hines rushed for 13 yards to gain a first down for the Trojans to WU's 10-yard line. After Hines ran for six more yards to Warriors 4-yard line, Johnson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown run to extend Trojans' lead with 8:27 remaining in the game. Behrens' PAT extra-point kick was good as DSU widen their lead to 23-13.
Following DSU's touchdown, the Warriors turned the ball on downs on the next possession on WU's 30-yard line with 7:13 to go. The Trojans quickly answer with another score as Hines recorded a 26-yard touchdown run. Behrens hit a successful PAT extra-point kick as DSU's lead grew to 20-13 with 6:09 remaining.
Waldorf turned on downs for the second straight possession after DSU's touchdown, while the Trojans began their next drive on WU's 43-yard line with less than four minutes remaining.
The Trojans used 5 plays for 43 yards in 2:32 as Jared Richardson threw his first collegiate touchdown pass with a 28-yard pass to Trever Listman with 1:26 left in the game. Behrens' PAT extra-point kick was good as DSU maintained control by the score of 37-13.
DSU secured the game as Andrew Hesse intercepted Sanchez' pass on in the DSU's end zone and returned it for 34 yards with 16 seconds left.
Dakota State rushed 17 times for a total of 117 yards in the fourth quarter compared to Waldorf 7 rushes for 17 yards.
The Trojans had scored at least 36 points in all six games this season, racking up a total of 247 points (averaging 41.2 points per game). It was the third straight game that the DSU's defense held its opponents to less than 17 points.
DSU used a pair of 100-plus yards rushers in the game, led by Hines with 14 rushes for 140 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 10.0 yards per rush. Johnson added 24 carries for 129 yards with a touchdown.
Giles finished the game by completing 14 passes in 31 attempts for a total of 165 yards for Dakota State. He threw two touchdown passes in the game, extending the DSU's single-season school record of 24 touchdown passes. Richardson added a completion of 28 yards and a touchdown pass.
Nordling caught eight passes for 109 receiving yards and a touchdown for the Trojans. Johnson added two catches for 12 yards with a touchdown. Listman registered a reception for 28 yards and a touchdown. Alex Babcock had a catch for 26 yards.
Cole Potter led DSU's defense with 10 tackles (9 solo.) and recorded a fumble recovery. Alvin Reels, Jr. added eight tackles. Thomas Romack had seven tackles, two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Darby Neal had 1.5 quarterback sacks. Curt Boeke and Karson Lindblad each registered a forced fumble.
Sanchez went 18-of-34 with 144 passing yards and threw two touchdown passes for the Warriors. Maliek Stephens added 13 rushes for 81 yards. Darryel Bethune rushed 14 times for 60 yards.
Khalil Walker recorded five receptions for 49 yards for WU. LaMont Johnson added five catches for 32 yards. Fletcher had four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Jeffrey Heflin tallied 13 tackles (9 solo), a tackle-for-loss and a sack for Waldorf. Trent Jones added 11 tackles (9 solo). Marcel Linder had a sack. Dubem Awuzie recorded four broken-up passes.
Dakota State recorded 25 first-downs in the game compared to Waldorf 18 first-downs. The Trojans outrushed the Warriors 264-191. DSU recorded 193 passing yards while WU had 144 passing yards.
The Trojans outgained the Warriors 457-335 in total offensive yards.
DSU maintained a time possession of 31 minutes, 33 seconds. WU had a time possession of 28 minutes, 27 seconds.
The Trojans converted 7-of-16 on third-downs and recorded a perfect 3-of-3 on fourth-down conversions. The Warriors were 3-of-15 on third-down conversions and 2-of-5 on fourth-downs.
Dakota State will take a week off before resuming back to action. The Trojans host Valley City State in the North Star Athletic Association conference battle at Trojan Field on Saturday, Oct. 15. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m.
Waldorf remains home as they host No. 15-ranked Dickinson State (N.D.) next Saturday (Oct. 8) with a kick-off starting at 1 p.m.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director