MADISON, S.D. – Dakota State (S.D.) took advantage of Dickinson State's (N.D.) three interceptions, two fumbles and two blocks for a 54-21 upset victory Saturday afternoon at Trojans in the Dacotah Bank/North Star Athletic Association Conference Game-of-the-Week. The Trojans halted the Blue Hawks' five-game winning streak and recorded their first victory over a nationally-ranked team in more than a decade.
Dakota State improved their overall record to 4-4 and 2-2 record in conference play. Dickinson State, ranked No. 24 in the latest NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 national poll, suffered their first conference loss and fell to 6-2 overall record, 4-1 record in conference play. The Blue Hawks still maintain their half-game lead over Mayville State (N.D.), who lost to Jamestown (N.D.) 17-7 Saturday.
The Trojans earned their second victory in the all-time series with the Blue Hawks, gaining their first victory since Sept. 15, 2007. Dickinson State owns the all-time series record of 12-2 where their five-game winning streak in the series meeting came to an end.
The Trojans took advantage with a pair of Blue Hawks' unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the opening drive of the game. Jeremy Christner rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to give Dakota State a 6-0 lead with 12:25 on the clock in the first quarter.
After a 14-yard punt on DiSU's first drive of the game, DaSU stormed for another score after using 9 plays for 54 yards in 3:10. Jacob Gilesconnected to Doug Hale for a 14-yard touchdown pass as the Trojans' lead grew to 12-0 with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
Dickinson State quickly scored after the Trojans committed a fumble on the DaSU's 22-yard line. Tray Boone rushed for a 9-yard touchdown and Joshua Perry-Kruse added a PAT kick to cut Trojans' lead to 12-7 with 1:16 left in the opening quarter.
Dakota State made it 19-7 when Giles threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Tisch with 12:23 left in the second quarter (Nic Behrens' PAT kick was good).
When the Blue Haws was forced to punt on the ensuing possession on their own 32-yard line, DaSU's Cooper Hausmann blocked Seth Moerkerke's punt and was recovered in the end zone by Brock Reinhiller for a touchdown. Behrens added the PAT extra-point kick as the Trojans expanded their lead to 26-7 with 11:08 left before halftime.
Dickinson State committed another turnover with less than six minutes to play in the first half where Boone fumbled the ball on their 1-yard line. Giles ran for a 1-yard touchdown and Behrens hit the PAT kick as the Trojans' lead grew to 33-7 with 5:26 left in the second quarter.
The Blue Hawks were able to end their scoring drought on the next possession as they used 10 plays for 72 yards in 4:02. Boone ran for a 3-yard touchdown and Perry-Kruse's PAT kick was good as the Blue Hawks trimmed their deficit to 33-14 with 1:24 remaining in the second quarter.
Dakota State outscored Dickinson State 21-7 in the second quarter.
The Trojans recorded another blocked punt late in the third quarter and converted their scoring opportunity. Moerkerke's punt was blocked by Hunter Smith and recovered by Cole Potter on DiSU 27-yard line with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Dakota State quickly scored after the blocked punt by using four consecutive rushing plays by Hagan Hines, Johnson and Giles. Giles rushed for a 1-yard touchdown and Behrens' PAT kick was good as DaSU's lead exploded to 40-14 with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter.
Dickinson State responded back with a 65-yard touchdown run by Boone. Perry-Kruse's PAT kick was good as the Trojans' lead was reduced to 40-21.
The Trojans shut down the Blue Hawks 14-0 in the fourth quarter after a pair of touchdowns.
Giles rushed for his third 1-yard touchdown run with 12:05 remaining in the game for Dakota State. Behrens' PAT kick was successful as the Trojans extended their lead to 47-21.
Tyler Poggemeyer intercepted Blue Hawk Seth Morerkerke's pass with 11 minutes to go, setting up the final scoring drive of the game for Dakota State. The Trojans used 13 plays for 52 yards in 5:26 as Johnson ran for a 1-yard touchdown run with 5:35 left. Behrens' PAT kick was good as the Trojans' lead went up to 54-21.
Boone ran 25 times for 157 yards and three touchdowns for Dickinson State.
Robert Sterling was 12-of-19 for 96 passing yards and an interception for the Blue Hawks. He ran 14 times for 44 yards.
Dakota State produced 26 first-downs in the game compared to Dickinson State 15 first-downs.
Dickinson State takes a week off before playing in their final home regular-season game on Oct. 31 versus Mayville State in the Dacotah Bank/NSAA Football conference game.