AUBURN, Neb. – Peru State (Neb.) gained 310 rushing yards Saturday evening and took advantage of Dakota State's eight turnovers in the game to earn a 56-21 victory at the Bulldog Stadium. It was the season home opener for both football teams.
Peru State, a member of Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC), scored the game's first points of the game in the first quarter. After the Bobcats intercepted a pass from DSU's Cole Whisenhunt in PSC's zone, Tyler Audsley scored a touchdown on a 70-yard run to give PSC a 6-0 lead with six minutes and 29 second left in the first quarter. Levi Cockle's PAT kick was good to extend Bobcats 7-0 lead.
PSC scored another touchdown after the Trojans committed a turnover (punt return fumble on DSU's 10-yard line) in the early second quarter. Nate Tromblee rushed for a five-yard touchdown to give Bobcats a 13-0 lead. Cockle made it 14-0 PSC after a successful PAT kick.
Audsley connected to Lance Steffen for a four-yard touchdown pass with less than five minutes remaining as PSC extended their lead to 20-0. Cockle made the PAT kick to expand Bobcats' lead to 21-0.
Peru State quickly scored again with less than three minutes before intermission. After DSU fumbled on the 2-yard line, Audsley ran for a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 27-0 in favor of Peru State. Cockle recorded a successful PAT kick to extend Peru State's lead to 28-0.
The Bobcats gained a 28-0 halftime lead, all points scored from DSU's turnovers.
Peru State kicked off the second-half with three plays for 65 yards in 1:35 for another score. Audsley ran for 61 yards on the first play of the second half and rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. Cockle's PAT kick was good as PSC's lead grew to 35-0.
The Bobcats added 21 points off turnovers later in the third quarter as they extended to the largest lead of the game at 56-0 with 34 seconds left.
The Trojans scored their first points of the game in the early fourth quarter as Tyler Poggemeyer recovered a fumble on PSC's 15-yardline and returned for a touchdown. Tanner Hubbard's PAT kick was good as Dakota State cut Peru State's lead to 56-7.
DSU added another score midway in the fourth quarter. Nick Rock threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ely to trim PSC's lead to 56-13. Hubbard added a PAT kick to reduce their deficit to 56-14.
Ben Kullos recovered a fumble from Peru State at PSC's 31-yardline and returned for a touchdown with 4:11 remaining in the game. Hubbard made a PAT kick to cut PSC's lead to 56-21.
The Trojans outscored PSC 21-0 in the fourth quarter.
DSU's Whisenhunt rushed 13 times for 29 yards. He was 8-for-16 with 42 passing yards and recorded five interceptions. Rock added five rushes for 24 yards. Justin Summers completed four passes in six attempts for 42 yards. He rushed five times for 21 yards.
Bobby Tisch recorded six receptions for 56 yards for the Trojans. Ely added three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.
Audsley gained 148 rushing yards in 14 attempts for Peru State. He was 6-for-9 with 60 passing yards and a touchdown. Steffen had four catches for 44 yards with a touchdown.
Chad John and Kullos each had nine tackles for Dakota State. Perry King and Josh Licht each added six tackles. Kullos and Poggemeyer each had a fumble recovery and returned for a touchdown. Trevor Kenobbie had a fumble recovery.
Cody Piotrowski recorded 10 tackles for the Bobcats. Zach Lempka added eight tackles and recorded an interception. Jon Draeger had a quarterback sack.
Trevor Cassels had six punts for 235 yards (39.2 yards per punt) for DSU. PSC's Greg Conry recorded three punts for 106 yards (35.3 yards per punt).
Peru State outgained the Trojans 370-199 in total offense. The Bobcats had 310 rushing yards compared to DSU 92 rushing yards. Dakota State had 107 passing yards, while Peru State had 60 passing yards.
PSC had 15 first-downs compared to the Trojans' 14 first-downs.
Peru State outscored the Trojans 42-14 in points off turnovers.
Dakota State looks to bounce back in the winning column next Saturday (Sept. 7). The Trojans play their home opener versus Dordt (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Kick-off from the Trojan Field is set for 6 p.m. in Madison, S.D.