Jacks stomp NDSU

Adam Zobel

Adam Zobel

The SDSU football team upended North Dakota State by a score of 25-20 on Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings.

The Jackrabbits dominated all aspects of the game, and were led by an unlikely hero, redshirt freshman Walter Dosh.

Dosh relieved a banged-up backfield with SDSU’s first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

SDSU once again started the game strong as they staked out a 9-0 lead in the first quarter.

NDSU attempted to claw its way back into the game, but SDSU kept the ball moving on offense and made the key plays necessary to secure the victory.

Entering the game with only one carry on the season and with starting tailback Scott Nedved starting, no one saw Dosh’s breakout game coming.

However, Dosh made an immediate impact on the second play of the game when he took the handoff and ran for 38 yards to help set up a 41-yard field goal by Keith Witt.

SDSU then extended its lead in the first quarter on a 45-yard touchdown run by Nedved to cap off a seven play, 81-yard drive. The lead remained 9-0 when Witt missed the extra point.

The defense prevented NDSU from truly getting started in the first half by making the Bison punt three times and forcing two turnovers: a fumble-forced by strong safety Scott Connot and recovered by defensive tackle Blake Seeds, and an interception by redshirt freshman Hank McCall, making the start at cornerback in place of Frank Blalark.

SDSU’s lead was cut to 9-3 right before halftime when Cory Vartanian kicked a 31-yard field goal to end an 11-play, 80-yard drive that featured a 50-yard strike from quarterback Graig Gorder to wideout Marcus Johnson.

NDSU began the second half with a 43-yard drive that culminated in a field goal by Vartanian to trim SDSU’s lead to 9-6.

The Jackrabbits quickly responded with a 70-yard drive and 27-yard scoring strike from Dan Fjeldheim to Solomon Johnson with 6:24 left in the third quarter; however, the lead was only 15-6 when the extra point attempt was blocked.

NDSU once again made a move by driving down the field and scoring on a 21-yard toss from Gorder to tight end Mike Wieser, cutting SDSU’s lead to 15-13.

SDSU then moved in the fourth quarter to extend their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Dosh, the first of his collegiate career, and a 21-yard field goal from Witt to extend the lead to 25-13. Dosh helped set up the field goal with a 48-yard run.

The Bison then quickly moved down the field and scored on a 14 yard pass from Gorder to Johnson to cut SDSU’s lead to 25-20 with 1:40 left in regulation.

NDSU then attempted the onside kick, only to have it recovered by

none other than Dosh. SDSU then ran out the clock to end the game after Fjeldheim was able to hit Ryan Lowry for 38 yards on third down.

Dosh, a Green Bay, Wisconsin native, finished the game with 17 carries for 145 yards, with 107 of those yards coming in the second half. He also had two receptions for ten yards. His effort was even more remarkable given the fact that Dosh had blown out his knee last season and was still working his way back from that serious injury.

“My only objective is to contribute,” Dosh said. “The offensive line was doing the job. Every time there was a hole.

“I hope I have some more opportunities this season.”

SDSU’s coach praised Dosh for his great vision and nice cuts on the field.

Stiegelmeier said, “Walter Dosh made the statement today. I’m so proud of him.”

SDSU finished the game with 216 net yards rushing. IIn addition to Dosh’s effort, Nedved ran for 71 yards on eight carries. Nedved saw limited action due to his injured status and the emergence of Dosh.

“SDSU ran the football on us pretty well. I have to give them credit.” NDSU coach Bob Babich said.

Fjeldheim finished the game 24 of 39 for 252 yards with his passes reaching nine different receivers. He had one touchdown pass and one interception.

His primary target was Johnson, who had six catches for 69 yards. Josh Davis and Jeff Hesse each grabbed four receptions and gained 49 and 36 yards, respectively. The Bison defense was only able to sack Fjeldheim once.

“Dan was pretty sharp today,” Stiegelmeier said.

Gorder led the Bison going 16 for 29 with 217 yards passing. Malone headed the running attack with 15 carries for 74 yards. Johnson was the primary threat through the air with three catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.

“We haven’t been able to break big runs. We like to run the ball,” Babich said.

Jason Langland came up big for the SDSU special teams as he averaged over 50 yards per punt, including a 65-yard punt in the second quarter that pinned the Bison at their own 6-yard line. The special teams also enabled the Jacks to win the battle for field position. However, the placekicking unit struggled with one extra point being blocked and with kicker Keith Witt missing one extra point and a 56-yard field goal attempt during the second quarter.

Stiegelmeier said that Langland had some “unbelievable punts” and that he had placed too much pressure on Witt, saying he had made a bad call in attempting the 56-yarder.

The Jacks also struggled with penalties as they committed 12 penalties for 106 yards; NDSU only had three infractions for 16 yards.

The SDSU defense was led by Jeff Schultz’s nine tackles and Chris Coauette’s eight tackles. Brandon Thiesse had the Jacks’ only sack of Gorder.

The Jacks outgained the Bison in total offense by a margin of 468 to 35.

The time of possession was nearly even with NDSU having a 30:07 to 29:53 advantage; however, SDSU controlled the ball for 10:20 during the fourth quarter.

“We played some good football today,” Stiegelmeier said. “I’m proud of our football team.”

SDSU improved their record to 4-3, with a 2-3 mark in the NCC. NDSU, who are in danger of their first losing season since 1975, saw their record drop to 2-5 overall and to 1-4 in the NCC.

Attendance at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium for the game was 3172.

The Jackrabbits play their home finale of the season when they take on the archrival University of South Dakota Coyote football team this upcoming Saturday.

USD will be coming into the game with an overall mark of 3-5 and a NCC record of 2-3. The Coyotes last week triumphed with a 42-7 win over nonconference opponent St. Joseph’s College (Indiana) at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.

USD currently leads the NCC in pass defense and held St. Joseph’s to only 33 passing yards. The Coyote running attack had only averaged 80 yards rushing per game before exploding for 388 yards on the ground this past Saturday. USD’s passing attack has contributed an average of about 161 yards per game. Defensively, the Coyotes have been giving up an average of about 171 yards on the ground and 146 yards through the air per game.

SDSU defeated USD last year by the score of 21-3. This will be the 104th game in the long rivalry that may be threatened by SDSU’s potential move to Division I-AA. The Coyotes currently lead the series 50-46-7.

Coach Stiegelmeier said, “I know it’ll be a close game; it always is.”

“We don’t let the rivalry get out of hand.”

Fjeldheim said, “USD will be ready to go against us next week.”

Kickoff at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.