Comets Spoil Dakota State Senior Day

Trojans Drop Third Straight 27-25

No. 25-ranked Dakota State (S.D.) outgained Mayville State (N.D.) 395-372 Saturday afternoon at the Trojan Field, but the Trojans committed three fumbles in the game as the Comets held on to a 27-25 North Star Athletic Association football victory. It was the final home regular-season game at the Trojans field this season.

Dakota State lost their third straight game, falling to 5-4 overall record and 2-3 record in the North Star conference games. Mayville State improved to 4-4 overall record and 2-2 NSAA conference record. The Comets regained the all-time series at 14-13, where the last eight meetings were decided by eight points or less.

The Trojans opened up the game by starting on their own 38-yard line, where Robert Johnson rushed for 17 yards. After another first-down with a 7-yard pass from Jacob Giles to Austin Opdahl, Mitchell Galloway fumbled the ball on MSU’s 22-yard line and was recovered by Comet Eti Falaniko with thirteen minutes, twenty seconds on the clock in the first quarter.

MSU went three-and-out on their first drive of the game. Both teams did not score in the first quarter.

Mayville State took the first lead of the game by using nine plays for 63 yards in four minutes s Dondrei Hubbard ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Eddie Guerrero’s PAT extra-point kick was good as the Comets took a 7-0 lead with 11:52 left in the second quarter.

Dakota State got on board late in the second quarter. The Trojans used 12 plays for 52 yards in 5:14 as Nic Behrens hit a 28-yard field goal to trim MSU’s lead to 7-3 with 3:17 remaining before halftime. A 25-yard pass from Giles to Opdahl highlighted the first scoring drive for DSU.

The Trojans were unable to add another score before intermission as they recorded 8 plays for 49 yards in 1:17. Mayville State recovered the fumble from Giles on MSU’s 33-yard line with 31 seconds remaining.

The Comets maintained a 7-3 halftime advantage.

MSU was forced to punt on the first drive of the second-half, but recovered Nick Martensen’s fumble during the punt return. Blaine Miller recovered the fumble as the Comets began their drive on DSU’s 14-yard line with 10:25 to go in the third quarter.

Mayville State capitalized DSU’s turnover as Andrew Blake threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Khari Kimbrough with less than ten minutes on the clock in the third. Guerrero’s PAT extra-point kick was successful as MSU’s lead grew to 14-3.

Dakota State answered back on the ensuing possession with a touchdown, using 11 plays for 52 yards in 3:09. Giles connected to Opdahl for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 6:44 on the clock in the third quarter. Behrens’ PAT extra-point kick was good as the Trojans trimmed Comets’ lead to 14-10.

MSU made it 21-10 on the following drive as Blake hit Kimbrough for a 5-yard touchdown pass (Guerrero’s PAT extra-point kick was good). Blake recorded a pair of 20-yard passes in the scoring drive, including the first play of the drive to Jacob Lawrence and Chris Mayes six plays later (9 plays for 72 yards in 3:25 for MSU’s scoring drive).

Mayville State outscored Dakota State 14-7 in the third quarter.

The Trojans prevented the Comets to score in the early fourth quarter as Thomas Romack intercepted Blake’s pass in the DSU’s end zone with 14:05 remaining.

After struggling to score in fourth quarter, Dakota State broke their scoring drought with a touchdown. The Trojans began their drive on their own 3-yard line and recorded 15 plays for 97 yards in 3:08 as Giles threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Opdahl on a third-and-six situation.

DSU converted a 2-point opportunity as Johnson’s rush was successful, cutting MSU’s lead to 21-18 with 4:27 remaining.

As the Comets faced 3rd-and-13 situation on DSU’s 48-yard line, Blake threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Julian Delgado as the Comets build up a 27-18 lead with 2:51 left. The PAT kick by Guerrero was no good.

The Trojans quickly went on to score on the next possession after MSU’s touchdown. Giles recorded a 5-yard touchdown pass to Galloway with 1:40 remaining. Behrens added a PAT extra-point kick as the Trojans trailed 27-25. DSU used 6 plays for 56 yards in 1:11 in the scoring drive.

Dakota State attempted to do the on-side kick, but was recovered by MSU’s Ryan Henderson on MSU’s 46-yard line. The Comets were forced to punt and recorded a touchback, giving the Trojans their last opportunity to make a comeback with 35 seconds remaining.

The Trojans were one yard short for a first-down as the Comets regained their possession and secured the victory with 13 seconds remaining.

DSU outscored MSU 15-6 in the final quarter.

Giles tied the Trojan Football school record for most completions in a single game for the second time this season, completing 32 passes (last time versus Saint Ambrose, Iowa on Sept. 10). He also broke the new DSU single-game school record for most attempts with 59 (previous school record was set by Dylan Jones with 56 pass attempts versus South Dakota Mines on Sept. 25, 2010).

Giles finished with 292 passing yards and three touchdown for Dakota State. Opdahl had 11 catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Babcock added a career-high nine catches for 57 yards. Galloway had five receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson rushed 25 times for 87 yards for DSU.

Behrens recorded a field goal and a pair of PAT extra-point kicks for Dakota State. He recorded six punts for a total of 242 yards, averaging 40.3 yards per punt including a long punt of 51 yards.

Curt Boeke led the Trojans’ defense with 13 tackles. Romack and Cole Potter each added 11 tackles. Boeke and Potter each registered 2.0 tackles-for-loss of 5.3 yards. Romack had an interception and returned it for six yards. Boeke, Potter and Clifton Marshall each recorded a half-quarterback sack of one yard.

Alvin Reels, Jr., Tyrell Smith and Darion Office each registered nine tackles for DSU.

Blake was 14-of-25 for 196 passing yards with three touchdowns and interception for the Comets. Kimbrough had five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence had three catches for 42 yards. Delgado had 2 receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Superior Reed ran 19 times for 79 yards for MSU. Hubbard had 20 rushes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Marion Bennett had a game-high 14 tackles for Mayville State. Damion Sanders and Will Ervin each had seven tackles. Douglas Koepplin, Preston Hamlette and Tanner Bickford each had a tackle-for-loss. Xalis, Falaniko and Miller each had a fumble recovery.

The Trojans posted 24 first-downs in the game compared to the Comets’ 21 first-downs. The Comets outrushed the Trojans 176-103. DSU had 292 passing yards compared to MSU 196 passing yards.

Mayville State had the ball possession for 32 minutes and 54 seconds. DSU had a time possession of 27 minutes, 6 seconds.

The Trojans were 5-of-19 on third-down situations while the Comets were 3-of-15 third-downs.

It was the final home career collegiate game at Trojan Field for 10 DSU seniors – Andrew Adlersberg, Behrens, Johnson, Terell Johnson, Office, Potter, Reels, Jr., Romack, Smith and Eric Wahl.

Dakota State looks to halt their losing skid as the play their final regular-season game on the road next Saturday (Nov. 5). The Trojans visit Presentation (S.D.) in the North Star Athletic Association conference game. Kick-off is set for 5 p.m. at Swisher Field in Aberdeen, S.D.

Mayville State returns home as they play another NAIA’s Top 25 nationally-ranked team, No. 12 Dickinson State (N.D.). The game is set for 1 p.m. at Jerome Berg Field in Mayville, N.D.  

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