Week two of the NSIC football schedule was another good one, with nearly every game going down to the wire, and even the expected blowouts ending up closer than expected.
Here’s the rundown.
Coming off their second-half rally against Augie, MSU-Moorhead looked like a team to watch, especially behind freshman QB Demetrius Carr, but Carr apparently suffered an injury late in that game and is out for the season.
That gave the job back to last year’s starter, Jake Hodge, and the Dragons, despite 130 rushing yards from Brandon Schell, could muster only 20 points against a typically soft Southwest Minnesota State defense in a 27-20 loss to the Mustangs.
Meanwhile, the SMSU offense showed for the second straight week that they’ve replaced their graduated skill players admirably.
Tyler Tonderum rushed for 343 yards, an SMSU school record and the highest rushing total in all of college football this season.
Still, the Mustangs needed a 23-yard TD pass from Charlie Kern to Anthony Dean in the final seconds for the win.
A big win for the Stangs, certainly a bitter pill to swallow for a Dragons team that’s hungry for any victory they can get.
AJ Page and Blake Pennock had 12 tackles each for SMSU, while freshman linebacker Aaron Bohl (son of NDSU coach Craig Bohl) had 15 for MSUM.
Mary's high-powered passing game had a big day at Wayne State, dropping the Wildcats to 0-2 with a 34-27 win. QB Craig Bagnell was 33-for-53 for 303 yards and three TDs, all to Nick Jolliffe, who had eight catches for 92 yards. Elby Pope caught six passes for 82 yards.
Grant Singer had 10 tackles for the Marauders.
Mary had never beaten the Wildcats in five previous meetings.
For Wayne, running back Charlie Davidson had another big day, rushing for 142 yards, while freshman QB Zach Osborn threw for 224 yards. Jeff Van Den Top had nine tackles.
The best thing that can be said about Minnesota Crookston is that they weren’t embarrassed nearly as badly in Mankato as most expected. That’s right, Minnesota State's 68-26 win should be considered a decent showing for the Golden Eagles. This had the potential to be as lopsided as any game you'll see, so for the Eagles to put up 26 points allowed them to leave with some dignity, as they managed almost 300 yards of offense against a dominant defense.
MSU put up 532 yards on 53 plays, and led 51-12 at half.
So, it was still a pretty big blowout.
For the Mavs, this was basically a tuneup for this week’s big showdown at Duluth.
Another game that was closer than expected happened in Fayette, where Upper Iowa, coming off a 47-0 win over Crookston in their opener, earned a further measure of respect in a 37-19 loss to Minnesota Duluth.
The Peacocks outgained Duluth 453-407, but two pick-sixes did them in. Obviously you can’t just dismiss catastrophic turnovers, but it’s apparent UIU was able to compete with the Bulldogs. They’re clearly a legit team, it’ll be interesting to see going forward how many games they can win.
Austin Sikorski led UMD with 86 of his team’s 263 rushing yards, and Kenny Chowa had 13 tackles.
The Peacocks kept putting up big offensive numbers, as Cole Jaeschke threw for 360 yards and 2 TDs, Chris Smith ran for 86 yards, and Keaton Hosch (7 catches, 100 yards) and Lucas Hefty (8 catches, 150 yards, 2 TD) had big days receiving.
Concordia-St. Paul equaled their win total from last year with a bit road win, knocking off Bemidji State 17-14, their first win in Bemidji since 2001.
Tre Spears carried the Bears with 162 rushing yards on 34 carries, making up for a sluggish effort from the pass game against a Bemidji defense that might be the best in the NSIC North.
The Bears did win it with the pass, however, converting on fourth down with 46 seconds left to score the winning touchdown.
Ryan Shields got his first start at QB for BSU, and went 11-for-21 for 75 yards. The Beavers had just 157 yards of offense. Scott Christensen led the defense with 18 tackles.
Winona State equaled their loss total from last season, dropping a 29-26 thriller to St. Cloud State at Husky Stadium. The Warriors entered the year hoping to compete for a playoff berth, now they might already be out.
Senior QB John Teigland did not make the start after leaving the opener with a concussion, but freshman Jack Nelson was impressive in his debut, going 16-for-28 for 228 yards.
Still, it wasn’t enough against the Huskies (2-0), who went ahead in the final minute on a rushing touchdown by QB Phil Klaphake, capping off an 11-play, 75-yard, game-winning drive.
Klaphake went over 10,000 career yards of total offense, throwing for 323 yards and two TDs, while rushing for 40 and the game-winning score.
Interception king Jack Moro got his first of the season to go with a team-high 10 tackles. Linebacker Morgan Weaver had 11 tackles for Winona.
USF impressed me with their 45-37 win over Northern State. Though the Wolves rallied late and put up lots of yards, it was the Cougar defense that kept things under control until the offense could get going.
Matt Young was the USF QB to get the Cougars on the board, directing a scoring drive in his only series after Luke Papilion got off to a slow start. But when Papilion got back in, the offense suddenly took off behind the read option. Papilion ran for 240 yards and five TDs, and while his passing stats (8-for-25 for 94 yards) weren’t good, it was hard not to be impressed. Papilion is fast, mobile and tough to bring down, and he does have an arm. The accuracy just wasn’t there. Assuming that comes along (and he did get better as the game went on), he has a chance to really be special.
It was also good for USF to see running back Nephi Garcia have a big game (159 yards) because he’d yet to prove he was a legit No. 1 running back.
I still think the Cougars need to make more of an effort to get the ball in Carrington Hanna’s hands, but it’s hard to argue with 45 points.
To be honest, I was expecting a little more out of the Wolves, on both sides of the ball. Offensively they got much better as the game went on, but their defense just got run over. They tackled poorly and didn’t have any answer for the option.
With all due respect to Minot State, a program that is well-coached and knows how to win (they were a playoff team in NAIA), Augustana's 23-17 triple overtime loss is an embarrassing one for the Vikings.
After everything that could’ve gone right for them did in the first half of their season opener against Moorhead, Augie limped to the final gun, and apparently it carried over.
The Vikings had just three points with five minutes left in the game, and even with the benefit of three overtime possessions, managed just 249 yards of offense. The Beavers totally stuffed a running game that should be one of the best in the NSIC.
Trey Heid didn’t throw any interceptions and threw for 156 yards, and OJ said he was forced out of the pocket too much. Not a good night for the O-line.
The defense played well, obviously, but OJ admitted it was against an average offensive team.
The worst part for Augie was that they had three chances in OT and still couldn’t get it done. I’m sure most people following the game, like me, figured once Augie got to OT they’d find a way to win. They didn’t. And kicker Lucas Wainman, the apparent savior, missed a 38-yarder that would’ve won it.
OJ will probably take some heat over his decision to go for it on 4th and goal in OT, rather than get the ‘sure’ points, but I liked the call. OJ challenged his players and they failed the challenge. That’s on them, not the coach.
Sets up an interesting game at the K-O against Bemidji State. The Beavers won the last (and first) meeting between the teams at Kirkeby-Over.
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