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Dakota State entertains No. 21 Hastings (Neb.) in football action Saturday
October 3, 2012
THIS WEEK: Dakota State (0-6 overall record) will attempt to notch their first win of the season Saturday afternoon as they entertain nationally-ranked Hastings (Neb.) (4-0) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Kick-off is slated for 4 p.m. at the Trojan Field. Saturday's game will mark the fourth time this season that DSU played a nationally-ranked team, and third different opponent that is ranked No. 21 in the NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 national poll.
THE SERIES: Hastings had won both meetings with Dakota State in series history with both meetings held in Hastings, Neb. The series began on Sept. 1, 2007 where the Broncos jumped to a 10-9 halftime lead and defeated the Trojans 13-9. In both teams' last meeting on Oct. 8, 2011, Dakota State had a 6-3 advantage in the late first quarter before Hastings scored 35 straight points (21 in the second quarter) for a 44-14 victory. The Broncos had 490 offensive yards in the last meeting compared to the Trojans' 201 yards.
LAST TIME OUT: In Trojans' annual homecoming game on Sept. 29 versus Concordia (Neb.), Dakota State jumped to a 7-0 halftime lead after maintaining the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the first-half. The Bulldogs scored 14 points each in the third and fourth quarters to defeat DSU 28-7. The Trojans dominated Concordia in total offensive yards. The Trojans recorded 406 offensive yards compared to CUNE 280 yards. Brandon Large was 30-for-53 with 309 passing yards. Bobby Tisch had nine receptions for 120 yards, while Zach Ely added seven catches for 88 yards. Hastings defeated Dakota Wesleyan 40-30 in Hastings, Neb. on Sept. 29. John Dostal, who was recently named to the NAIA Football Offensive Player of the Week last Monday, was 19-for-32 with 314 yards and recorded four touchdowns. He rushed 10 times for 80 yards. Keenen Ballage added 25 rushes for 90 yards. Nick Blunt had four receptions for 108 yards with two touchdowns. The Tigers outgained the Broncos in total offensive yards, 559-523.
FOOTBALL FORECAST: As of Wednesday, the weather forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies with a high temperature of 49 degrees. The wind will be from the north-northwest at 5-10 miles-per-hour.
NIESEN NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR NFF CAMPBELL TROPHY: John Niesen was one of the 147 candidates for the 2012 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete awards, announced on Sept. 27. Selected as the best and brightest from the college gridiron, the 147 nominees also comprise the list of the semifinalists for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy. Niesen was one of the nine NAIA football scholar-athletes for the award. John is the son of Keith and Patty Niesen of Amherst, S.D. He is majoring in Elementary Education and Special Education at Dakota State University.
TROJANS IN THE NATIONAL RANKS: According to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Wednesday, Dakota State ranks sixth in the nation in total passing offense yards (1633) and 10th in pass offense per game (272.2). The Trojans are No. 12 in the nation in opponents' fourth-down conversion (33.3 percent). Two DSU football players are second in the nation—Craig Hertz in tackles per game (12.4) and Stacey Berg in total receiving yards (697). Berg is fourth in all-purpose yards (817). Brandon Large is fourth in the nation in total passing (1524). Eric Liles ranks ninth in the nation in tackles per game (11.3). Nic Behrens ranks 16th in the nation in field goals (5) and 28th in total scoring (kicking) with 27 points.
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brandon Large leads the Trojans' offense attack with an average of 254.0 passing yards per game. He records eight passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns this season. Kris Dearie amasses 193 rushing yards and averages 32.2 rushing yards per game. Stacey Berg records 30 catches for 697 yards (139.4 yards per game). 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 62 (12.4 tackles per game). Eric Liles averages 11.3 tackles per game. Josh Licht records 2.0 quarterback sacks for the Trojans (0.3 sacks per game).
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: All Dakota State home football matches will be webcast live video and audio. There is no charge to the webcast. Fans wanting to follow the action can go to the following link: http://streaming.dsu.edu/Athletics-Live. The link also will be available on www.dsuathletics.com in the 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
LIVE STATS/PLAY-BY-PLAY: Live stats and play-by-play will be available in all Dakota State's home games. The live stats link is available on game day on www.dsuathletics.com under 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
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 heads on the road on Saturday, Oct. 13. The Trojans head to Sioux City, Iowa for a match-up with Briar Cliff of the GPAC. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. at the Memorial Field.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director