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Trojan Football falls short to No. 21 Valley City State (N.D.) 41-31
September 15, 2012
MADISON, S.D. – In the battle of former Dakota Athletic Conference foes Saturday afternoon at the Trojan Field, Dakota State jumped to a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. Valley City State (N.D.) overtook the lead at halftime from the Trojans. DSU was able to tie the game at 24-24 in the third quarter, but the Vikings scored 17 unanswered points to secure the victory over DSU 41-31.
Dakota State dropped their overall record to 0-4 and 0-1 in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) record. Valley City State, No. 21 in the first regular-season NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 national poll, raised their record to 2-1 and remained undefeated in the A.I.I. with a 2-0 record.
After the Trojans went three-and-out on the first possession of the game, VCSU quickly scored the first points of the game with 11 minutes and nine seconds left. Tommy Zinke threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Derek Elliot. Thomas Cortez added a PAT kick to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
In the late first quarter, DSU's Craig Hertz blocked a punt from VCSU's Zinke on DSU's 45-yardline and recovered on VCSU's 30-yard line. Dakota State tied the game at 7-7 when Brandon Large connected to Stacey Berg for five yards with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter (Nic Behren's PAT kick was good).
The Trojans took the lead at 10-7 in the early second quarter as Behrens' 35-yard field goal was good. DSU used nine plays for 30 yards in 4:09 in the scoring drive.
Dakota State extended their lead to 10 points (17-7) with less than nine minutes before intermission. Large threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Berg. Behrens added a successful PAT kick.
Valley City State trimmed their deficit to 17-14 with 5:01 left in the second quarter. Taylor Cino rushed for 14 yards for a touchdown. Cortez's PAT extra point kick was good. The Vikings used nine plays for 81 yards in 3:55 in the scoring drive.
DSU committed a fumble on their own 36-yardline on the ensuing possession. The Vikings gained their lead at 21-17 when Zinke threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Elliot (Cortez's PAT kick was good) with 2:41 left before halftime.
Cortez hit a 29-yard field goal as the Vikings extended their lead to seven points (24-17) with few seconds remaining before halftime.
The Trojans recorded another blocked punt in the early third quarter. Josh Licht blocked Zinke's punt on VCSU's 43-yard line with 13:09 remaining in the third quarter. DSU started their first drive of the second-half on VCSU's 32-yardline and tied the game at 24-24. Large threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wes Dauz. The PAT kick by Behrens was good.
VCSU used 16 plays for 72 yards in 7:33 in the ensuing possession to break the 24-24 tie. Cortez's 23-yard field goal was good to put Vikings up at 27-24 with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter.
Dakota State was turned on downs in the late third quarter with less than a minute left. The Vikings quickly scored as Zinke threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ken Eliacin with four seconds remaining in third quarter. Cortez added a PAT kick to give VCSU a 34-24 lead.
Zinke threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Eliacin with 11:38 remaining in the game to extend Vikings' lead. Cortez's PAT kick was good to give the Vikings a 41-24 lead.
After Vikings' fumble on their own eight-yard line with less than two minutes left in the game, DSU trimmed their deficit to 41-31. John Niesen rushed for eight yards touchdown with 1:40 left in the game (Behrens' PAT kick was good).
Large was 19-for-32 with 215 yards and threw three touchdowns for the Trojans. Berg had eight receptions for 120 yards and recorded two touchdowns. Bobby Tisch added three catches for 36 yards. Dauz recorded four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. Niesen rushed 24 times for 84 yards with a touchdown.
For Valley City State, Zinke was 16-for-31 with 235 yards, four touchdown passes and recorded an interception. Eliacin caught eight passes for 159 yards and recorded two touchdowns. Cino rushed 18 times for 120 yards and a touchdown.
DSU's defense recorded two blocked punts and forced a fumble for a fumble recovery.
Eric Liles had nine tackles for the Trojans. Preston Powell added eight tackles. Craig Hertz and Licht each recorded a half quarterback sack. Hertz and Dylan VandeGarde each had seven tackles.
Aaron Freije recorded 13 tackles for VCSU. Dwayne Fearon and Fontayne Fuga each had two quarterback sacks.
Valley City State outgained the Trojans 413-281 in offensive yards. The Vikings had 21 first-downs compared to the Trojans' 17 first-downs.
The Vikings had a time possession of 30 minutes and 24 minutes. DSU recorded a ball possession of 29 minutes and 36 seconds.
Dakota State looks for their first win of the season as they head on the road next Saturday (Sept. 22). The Trojans travel to Orange City, Iowa to take on Northwestern (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. on Korver Field at the DeValois Stadium.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director