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Trojans travel to No. 16 Northwestern (Iowa) in football action Saturday
September 19, 2012
THIS WEEK: Dakota State (0-4 overall record) will face their third straight opponent that is ranked in the NAIA Football 'Top 25' national poll on Saturday. The Trojans travel to Orange City, Iowa to take on No. 16 Northwestern (2-1) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Kick-off from the Korver Field at the DeValois Stadium is set for 1 p.m.
THE SERIES: Northwestern currently owns the all-time series record of 21-8. The Red Raiders racked up a total of 637 offensive yards to defeat the Trojans 63-27 at the Trojan Field on Sept. 24, 2011 in both teams' last meeting. NWIA had won the last 10 meetings with DSU. The last time Dakota State defeated the Red Raiders was in 1980 by the score of 40-14. DSU and Northwestern were former South Dakota-Iowa Conference (SDIC) for numerous of years. The series began in 1962 where Dakota State won the first-ever meeting by the score of 19-12.
LAST TIME OUT: On Sept. 15, Dakota State fell short to No. 21 Valley City State (N.D.) 41-31 in battle of former Dakota Athletic Conference (DAC) foes. The Trojans jumped to a 17-7 lead before the Vikings took a 24-17 halftime lead. DSU was able to tie the game at 24-24, but VCSU scored 17 unanswered points to earn a 41-31 victory over the Trojans. Northwestern knocked off Doane (Neb.) 28-14 in the battle of top-20 ranked teams on Sept. 15 in Orange City, Iowa. The Red Raiders rushed their season-high 262 yards in the victory.
FOOTBALL FORECAST: As of Wednesday, the weather forecast for Saturday calls for sunny skies with a high temperature of 66 degrees. The wind will be from the north-northwest at 10-20 miles-per-hour.
GO LONG: In four games this season for Dakota State, Brandon Large had connected to Stacey Berg for the longest yard for at least 37 yards in each game. Large threw the longest pass of the season to Berg for 82 yards in a game at Dakota Wesleyan on Sept. 1, which was counted as a touchdown for the Trojans.
TWO DSU PLAYERS TOPS NATION: Two Dakota State University football players are top in the nation, according to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website. Stacey Berg ranks first in all purpose yards of 677 and total receiving yards of 557. Nic Behrens records a 100 percent accuracy in PAT extra point kick (11-for-11).
TROJANS' PASSING RANKS IN TOP 10: Dakota State ranks second in the nation in passing offense with a total yards of 1114. The Trojans are ninth in the nation in pass offense per game (278.5 yards). Brandon Large ranks fourth in total passing yards (1013). He is 10th in passing yards per game (253.3).
STEP UP DEFENSE: The Trojans' defense ranks 10th in the nation in opponents' fourth-down conversion rate of 22.2 percent. Craig Hertz ranks second in the nation in tackles per game of 12.5 tackles per game. Eric Liles is eighth in fumbles forced per game (0.5) and 10th in tackles per game (11.5).
DSU SPECIAL TEAMS RANKINGS: Dakota State is 22nd in the nation in field goals percentage (75 percent) and 44th in punt returns yards per attempt (7.0). The Trojans are 46th in punt yards per attempt (35.9). Nic Behrens is top in the nation in PAT kicking percentage (100 percent). He is 17th in the nation in total scoring (kicking) of 20 points, 18th in field goals (3) and 21st in field goal percentage (75 percent).
A.I.I. INDEPENDENT LEADERS: Three DSU players lead in three different categories in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) conference. Brandon Large leads independent in the passing category. He averages 253.3 passing yards per game with a 58.0 percent completion rate. Stacey Berg records 25 catches (6.3 receptions per game), which tops in independent conference. Craig Hertz leads the independent in tackles of 50 (12.5 per game).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brandon Large leads the Trojans' offense attack with 1013 passing yards. He is 69-for-119 (58.0 completion rate) with seven touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns this season. Kris Dearie records 126 rushing yards and averages 31.5 rushing yards per game. Stacey Berg had 25 catches for 557 yards. He recorded his longest catch of 82 yards on Sept. 8 at Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.). Craig Hertz leads the team in total tackles with 50 (12.5 tackles per game).
TROJAN ANNUAL HOMECOMING: The annual Trojan homecoming game is set for Saturday, Sept. 29. Dakota State welcomes Concordia (Neb.) at the Trojan Field. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. There will be a tailgate and free concert featuring Kory and the Fireflies at the Trojan Field parking lot at 1 p.m.
DSU FOOTBALL HISTORY LESSON: Dakota State is in its 93rd year of competition. The Trojans own an all-time record of 268-452-17. DSU opened their first year of competition in 1908 with an overall record of 4-1-1. Dakota State is in their second year membership with the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.).
WATCH & LISTEN TO THE GAME: Northwestern will be providing the live video and audio of the DSU-NWIA football game on Saturday afternoon. The link is available on http://www.nwcraiders.com/news.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State football and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook.
UP NEXT: Dakota State returns home next Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) for the annual Trojan Homecoming game. The Trojans entertains Concordia (Neb.) of the GPAC. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. at the Trojan Field.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director