Trojans Competitive Early, but Tigers Pull Away in 40-14 Loss

This weekend the Trojan football team traveled to Mitchell, South Dakota to take on the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan University. Last year the Trojans hosted the Tigers for their home opener in Madison and suffered a big loss, so the Trojans were looking to return the favor. Dakota State came out firing on all cylinders in the first half but the offense could not capitalize off the defenses turnovers in the second. The Trojans left Mitchell with a 40-14 loss.

Coach Josh Anderson brought his bag of tricks for the Tigers; on the first play the Trojans scored on a 81 yard sweep pass from Carl Curtis to Zach Ely. But on the next possession, the Trojan defense gave up a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play. The next drive for the Trojans only took 3 plays to score again. Brandon Large threw an 82-yard strike to Stacey Berg to put them back up by one touchdown.

“We noticed on film they liked to roll their coverage and really take away the flat routes, so we put in some plays to take advantage of it,” said senior wide receiver Stacey Berg.

The Tigers answered back with a 13-play six-minute drive to tie the score at 14. On the following drive, the Trojans fumbled the ball and DWU took advantage and scored. Then, right before the half, the Tigers scored again on a 69-yard run to take a two score lead into halftime.

The third quarter went scoreless. The DSU defense caused some key turnovers to set up the offense but they could not punch it in. They really struggled running the ball most of the game which can really hurt an offense. In the fourth quarter the Tigers extended their lead by three scores on a 60-yard pass which seemed to be a miss communication in the secondary by Dakota State. The offense tried to air the ball out to get back into the game and threw a pick six that sealed the win early in the fourth for DWU.

Brandon Large ended the game throwing 12 for 25 with 278 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns. Stacey Berg had another big game for the Trojans; he had five catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. Kris Dearie recorded 13 rushes for 62 yards. Craig Hertz led the team with seven tackles and five assists. Eric Liles recorded four solo tackles with 7 assists. Matt Osbon had a forced fumble and recovery for the Trojans.

Overall, the Trojans just needed to take away the big plays on defense and establish the run on offense. They had some big chances to get back into this game but came up short. If they could put both sides of the ball together in one game and keep having great special teams, they will put some wins on the board.

Next Saturday the Trojans will look to bounce back in the win column and take a five-hour trip to Crete, Nebraska to take on Doane in their home opener. Kickoff is set for 7pm CT.

Featured photo: DSU wide receiver Stacey Berg snags a pass in mid-air. (Photo provided by DSU Athletics)

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