NSIC Notebook - Live Chat Day

Just five weeks into the season, and every team in the NSIC has a win. Group hug, everybody’s happy.

Seriously, though, after watching USF ho-hum their way to a 52-7 win over Minnesota Crookston last week, I was really having a hard time seeing where the Golden Eagles were going to find a win, and a winless season is something I don’t ever want to see anyone have to go through.
So from that standpoint, it was nice to see UMC score a 16-14 upset over Bemidji State (sorry, Beavers).

(UMC photo)
The Eagles (1-4) were probably helped a lot by the mud at Ed Widseth Field, as they forced five BSU fumbles and limited them to two scores in five trips inside the red zone.
Only 13 passes were attempted in the entire game; UMC was 2-for-9 for 63 yards, BSU was 3-for-4 for 35 yards.
Still, the score was tied at 14 late, and the assumption had to be that the Beavers (2-3) would find a way to escape, especially with Avery Walker having rushed for 265 yards on the day. But Walker was tackled in his own end zone with 1:25 to play, which proved to be the winning score.

MSU-Moorhead was winless entering this week, too, though they had shown themselves much more of a threat to win so far. You had to figure they were going to trip up someone, and Northern State ended up being that team.
The Wolves (1-4) free-fall continued, as a team expected by many to compete for the North title dropped its fourth straight, 47-46.
Big props to Moorhead coach Steve Laqua, whose team scored a touchdown late to pull within one, but instead of going for the extra point to tie, went for two and the win and got it.
The game wasn’t over at that point, NSU still had a full four minutes to answer, but with the Wolves driving, Nick Seedorff intercepted Jared Jacobson to end it.
QB Jake Hodge threw for 292 yards and three TDs while rushing for 101 yards, two TDs and the game-winning two point conversion for the Dragons (1-4). Brandon Schell added 136 yards rushing, Adam Jiskra had 11 catches for 139 yards and Cory Ambrose caught 10 for 114 as the Wolves stunning defensive woes continued.

NSU is now allowing an average of 523 yards per game, including 316 per game on the ground.
The Wolves offense has been pretty solid; Jacobson threw for 161 yards and ran for 117 Saturday, but you’re not going to beat anybody if you give up 300 rushing yards every night out.

St. Cloud State at Minnesota Duluth was supposed to be the game of the day; SCSU entered play ranked 18th in the country, Duluth 11th, but the Bulldogs (4-1) rolled.
They ran for 471 yards, with Austin Sikorski picking up 177 and two scores and Logan Lauters running for 107 and two TDs.
Meanwhile they held Harlon Hill candidate Phillip Klaphake and his band of All-Americans to seven points. Klaphake was just 13-of-29 through the air for the Huskies (4-1).

Concordia dropped their second straight to a heavyweight since their 3-0 start, but were fairly competitive in a road test at Mankato, falling 27-7 to MSU-Mankato.
The second-ranked Mavericks (5-0) ran for 222 yards, with senior QB Jon Wolf leading the way with 107 yards while throwing for 128. Sam Brockshus hit four field goals, and Dennis Carter returned a punt for a TD.
Tre Spears was held to just 42 yards rushing for the Bears (3-2), while Gabe Boyce had 10 catches for 82 yards.

In a battle between the league’s North Dakota squads, Mary picked up an emotional win, routing Minot State 48-10, giving outgoing coach Myron Schulz his 100th career win.
Craig Bagnell threw for 148 yards and three TDs with zero INTs for the Marauders (3-2), while Nick Jolliffe had five catchs for 97 yards and two TDs.
Grant Singer, again, led the Mary defense with two tackles for loss and an INT, one of three times they picked off Minot QB Zac Cunha.
Randel Barber ran for 82 yards for the Beavers (1-4), while Casey Weinmann led the defense with nine tackles and a sack.

Upper Iowa went into Winona State looking for an upset that might not have even been considered that big an upset considering the surging play of the Peacocks, but the Warriors held off UIU 49-32 for their third straight win following an 0-2 start despite getting outgained 607-426.
Freshman QB Jack Nelson threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, helping Winona hold off the passing attack of Cole Jaeschke and company, thanks in large part to a 4-0 turnover margin.
Pat Lazarra had two picks for Winona (3-2), one of which he returned 27 yards for a score.
Jaeschke threw for 428 yards and 2 TDs but was picked off three times. Chris Smith ran for 99 yards for UIU (3-2) and Keaton Hosch had 10 catches for 189 yards and two TDs.

Most of us expected a shootout between USF and Southwest Minnesota State, but what took place was more than that, it turned out to be one of the wildest offensive explosions in recent football history.
Let’s just go straight to the numbers.
Total offense: 828 yards (NSIC record)
Passing Yards: 512
Rushing Yards: 316
First Downs: 33
Total Offensive Snaps: 94
Tyler Tonderum: 32 carries, 271 yards, 2 TD
Charlie Kern: 31-48, 512 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Anthony Dean: 11 catches, 308 yards (NSIC record), 4 TD

Total offense: 618 yards
Passing Yards: 194
Rushing Yards: 424
First Downs: 34
Total Offensive Snaps: 100
Luke Papilion: 27 carries, 204 yards, 3TD; 9-21, 168 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Nephi Garcia: 28 carries, 136 yards, 2 TD
Wes Smith: 4 catches, 111 yards, 2 TD

I watched the game on my laptop, but it’s kind of hard to get a real good feel for the action watching on a 12-inch screen, so it’d be tough to say how much was bad defense and how much was good offense.
The Mustangs offense is obviously very, very good, as Tonderum is a Harlon Hill candidate, I don’t care what their record is (it’s 2-3). He’s over 1,000 yards for the season after just five games, averaging 211 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry.
But I still have to imagine the USF defense is embarrassed to give up numbers like that. You cut 828 in half and it’s still not a good performance defensively.

On the flip side, SMSU’s defense has been a siev for a long time now, and even when USF blew a couple of two-score leads, I never really felt like they were in danger of losing the game. I knew that anytime they absolutely had to score, they would.
Papilion went over 200 rushing yards for the second time (when was the last time any college quarterback at any level did that?), and Garcia went over 100 for the fourth game in a row. USF (3-2) now leads the NSIC with 306 rushing yards per game, and have averaged 380 since getting stuffed by Duluth in their opener.
Papilion’s accuracy still needs work, but he threw for 168 yards and two long TDs, and that’s definitely a positive.

I wrote about it in today’s dead tree edition, but even in a 10-7 loss to Wayne State, it felt like the Augustana offense finally turned a corner in the 4th quarter.
They had 119 yards on their final two drives, and if kicker Lucas Wainman wasn’t hurt, they probably would’ve won the game (ironic that Mike Aldrich came out on the winning end due to kicking problems).

The Viking offense has been slow to come together this season, but the defense has been excellent, so if the offense has finally figured it out, perhaps the Vikings (2-3) will weather the rough upcoming schedule better than we might expect.

Wayne really needed the win, and Aldrich, their defensive coordinator, admitted it was emotional for him personally.
OJ gave him a congratulatory hug after the game, which I thought was very classy, and at least half of the Viking players hugged Aldrich when he went through the line, then jogged over to the Wayne State post game gathering to visit and trade more hugs. It’s obvious a lot of those players still think pretty highly of Mike, who drove to Sioux Falls from Wayne alone so he could ‘listen to two straight hours of Metallica to get myself prepared’.
I can only imagine how badly he wanted the shutout, which he had for the first 56 minutes.
Nick Monzu had 11 tackles for the Wildcats (2-3), while Zach Bieman had nine tackles and a sack.

The Viking defense held Wayne running back Charlie Davidson to 53 yards on 26 carries. Brandon Mohr and Jake Lee continued their excellent seasons; Mohr had 11 tackles and a sack, Lee had six tackles, four for loss, and a sack.
MSU-Mankato is next for the Vikings.

Delving outside of football, as I promised to do at some point, here are the current volleyball standings in the NSIC.

1. Concordia (7-0, 15-1 overall)
2. SMSU (7-0, 12-3)
3. UMD (6-1, 15-1)
4. Augie (5-2, 13-2)
5. Wayne State (4-3, 12-3)
6. NSU (4-3, 11-3)
7. SCSU (4-3, 10-5)
8. MSU-Mk (4-3, 8-6)
9. MSU-Mh (3-4, 10-5)
10. Minot (3-4, 7-9)
11. USF (2-5, 10-6)
12. UMC (2-5, 7-8)
13. UIU (2-5, 6-10)
14. Winona (2-5, 5-10)
15. Bemidji (1-6, 5-10)
16. Mary (0-7, 3-11)

…and soccer.

1. SMSU (7-0, 10-0)
2. MSU-Mk (7-0, 9-1)
3. UIU (6-1, 8-2)
4. UMD (6-1, 7-2)
5. Augie (5-2, 7-3)
6. Winona (5-2, 6-2-2)
7. Bemidji (4-3, 7-3)
8. NSU (3-4, 6-4)
9. SCSU (2-4-1, 5-4-1)
10. Minot (2-4-1, 2-5-2)
11. Mary (2-4-1, 2-7-1)
12. Concordia (2-5, 3-7)
13. Wayne State (1-5-1, 1-8-1)
14. USF (1-5-1, 1-8-1)
15. UMC (0-6-1, 2-7-1)
16. MSU-Mh (0-7, 0-9)

Live chat today at 2 p.m. at argusleader.com/mattchat