October 22, 2016
MADISON, S.D. – Dakota State (S.D.) held a 6-3 halftime advantage Saturday afternoon at Henry Biesiot Activity Center in the battle of NAIA's Top 25 nationally-ranked teams with Dickinson State (N.D.). The Trojans could not hold on to their lead as the Blue Hawks used a 28-0 third quarter surge to earn a 31-12 North Star Athletic Association conference victory.
Dakota State, ranked No. 23 in the NAIA's Top 25, fell to 5-3 overall record and 2-2 NSAA conference record. It was the first loss this season that the Trojans faced an NAIA's Top 25 team (2-1 record versus NAIA's Top 25 teams this season). Dickinson State, which is in a two-way tie for No. 12 ranking with Eastern Oregon, clinched at least a share of the NSAA conference title. The Blue Hawks won their seventh straight game to raise their overall record to 7-1 and 5-0 record in North Star conference play.
The Blue Hawks took the first lead of the game at 3-0 in the first quarter after Cody Johnson's 42-yard field goal with 6 minutes, 29 seconds on the clock.
Dakota State answered back by tying the game at 3-3 in the early second quarter. The Trojans used 13 plays for 57 yards in 6:07 as Nic Behrens hit a 35-yard field goal with 13:19 to go before halftime.
Behrens added a 33-yard field goal to give Dakota State a 6-3 lead with 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Dickinson State exploded for 28 unanswered points in the third quarter to grab a 31-6 lead.
Robert Johnson recorded a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Trojans cut the Blue Hawks' lead to 31-12.
Johnson led Dakota State with 32 rushes for 142 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 4.6 yards per rush. Jacob Giles completed 20 passes in 32 attempts for 123 yards. He had three interceptions.
Behrens made two field goals in the game for Dakota State. He also had four punts for a total of 135 yards, averaging 33.8 yards per punt.
Thomas Romack led the Trojans with nine tackles and two tackles-for-loss of six yards. Cole Potter added eight solo tackles and a quarterback sack. He had four tackles-for-loss of 34 yards. Curt Boeke and Michael Cleveland each tallied six tackles.
Kaler Ray rushed seven times for 57 yards with two touchdowns and went 3-of-9 for 27 yards for Dickinson State. Hayden Gibson was 14-of-22 for 127 yards. Jed Fike ran 14 times for 51 yards with two rushing touchdowns.
Austin Brown led the Blue Hawks with seven receptions for 70 yards. Seth Ewoniuk added four catches for 42 yards.
Cody Johnson had a field goal and made four PAT extra-point kicks for Dickinson State. He recorded eight punts for 306 total yards (38.3 yards per punt).
Hunter Moore contributed 11 tackles (7 solo) and 4.5 tackles-for-loss of 9.5 yards for the Blue Hawks. Tino Mafi added 10 tackles. Mitch Mehrer, Nick Ortiz and Una Masaiani each had a quarterback sack.
The Trojans committed six turnovers – three interceptions and three fumble lost – compared to the Blue Hawks one turnover (fumble lost).
Dickinson State outgained Dakota State in total offensive yards by just five yards, 291-286. The Trojans recorded 22 first-downs in the game while the Blue Hawks had 16 first-downs.
Dakota State returns home next Saturday (Oct. 29) as they continue their North Star conference play. The Trojans host Mayville State (N.D.) in the final home contest at Trojan Field. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. The Trojan Football team will be honoring their seniors prior to the game. The game will also be part of the 'Domestic Violence Awareness' game.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director