DSU’s Opdahl Is NSAA’s Offensive Player Of Year

Dakota State junior honored for huge season

Junior Austin Opdahl of Dakota State (S.D.) was chosen to the 2016 Dactoah Bank/North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) Football Offensive Player-of-the-Year, announced by the conference office Friday afternoon.

Opdahl, 6-foot-1 and 185 lbs. wide receiver, had a monstrous season for the Trojans where he had racked up a total of 73 receptions for 1,093 receiving yards in 2016. He was just four yards short of tying the DSU Football school record for single-season receiving yards (1,097 receiving yards by Tommy Hofer in 2005).

He led the North Star conference in receiving yards, receptions per game, and touchdown receptions.

According to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Monday, Opdahl ranks third in the nation in receptions per game (7.3), fifth in total receptions (73), and seventh in both total receiving yards and receiving yards per game (109.3 yards per game). He also ranks 11th in the nation in total scoring with 98 points and 45th in all-purpose yards per game with an average of 110.7 yards.

Opdahl averaged 15.0 yards per reception and recorded the single-season record of 16 touchdown receptions in the Trojan Football record book. He broke the previous old record of 13 touchdown catches set by Mark Maples in 2001.

Opdahl also set a new DSU career record of 28 touchdown catches, breaking the previous old record of 26 touchdown receptions by Zach Ely from 2011-14 and Hofer from 2002-05.

Opdahl registered over 100 receiving yards in a game seven times this season for Dakota State. He holds the DSU school single-game record of 15 catches in Trojans’ victory over St. Ambrose (Iowa) on Sept. 10 (old record was set by Hofer with 14 receptions versus Mary (N.D.) in 2005.

He had a pair of season-high 177-receiving yards against NAIA’s Top 25 ranked teams – at No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) on Aug. 26 and versus No. 24 St. Ambrose (Iowa) on Sept. 10. He caught at least two touchdown receptions in a game five times this season, including a season-high four touchdown receptions versus St. Ambrose.

It was the second straight year that Opdahl was honored on the NSAA Football All-Conference Team, receiving First-Team All-Conference in 2016 and Second-Team All-Conference in 2015.

Austin is the son of Nick Opdahl and Jennifer Krause of Madison, S.D. He is an Accounting major at Dakota State University.