MADISON, S.D. – Trailing 14-13 with two seconds left in the game Saturday evening at Trojan Field, Dakota State's 39-yard field goal was blocked Dordt (Iowa) held on to a 14-13 victory. It was the home opener for the Trojans.
Dakota State dropped their overall record to 0-2. Dordt, a member of Great Plains Athletic Conference, won their season opener on the road.
The Defenders started the game by using ten straight running plays. On the DSU's 25-yard line, Bryce Rusler connected Darryl Van Grouw for a 25-yard touchdown pass to give Defenders a 6-0 lead with 9:01 remaining in the first quarter. Barry Dykstra added a PAT kick to make it 7-0 in favor of the Defenders. DC used 11 plays for 81 yards in nearly six minutes for the scoring drive.
The Trojans could not score their first points of the game in the early second quarter after missing a 29-yard field goal by Tanner Hubbard. DSU recorded nine plays for 30 yards with 3:50 in the drive.
After DC's three-and-out drive, Dakota State quickly answered back to tie the game. Justin Summers threw a 25-yard pass to Zach Ely to the Dordt's 5-yard line to set-up a scoring opportunity for the Trojans. Cole Whisenhunt rushed for a five-yard run touchdown as DSU earned the first points of the game. Hubbard added a successful PAT kick to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:02 remaining before halftime. The Trojans used six plays for 46 yards in 2:46 in the scoring drive.
The Trojans committed a turnover on downs on the 50-yardline with 51 seconds left in the first-half, Rusler threw a 36-yard pass to Sam Verhulst to set up a scoring drive. On a third-and-nine situation on the DSU's 13-yard line, Rusler connected to Verhulst for a 13-yard touchdown pass as the Defenders regained their lead at 13-7. Dykstra added a PAT kick to extend their lead to 14-7 with 15 seconds left before halftime. The Defenders used four plays for 50 yards in 36 seconds for the score.
DC earned a 14-7 halftime advantage.
Both teams were unable to score in the third quarter. DSU could not convert their two scoring opportunities to start the second half. The Trojans committed a turnover on Dordt's 31-yard line as Carmen Pitre intercepted Whisenhunt's pass with 13:24 remaining in the third quarter.
Dordt committed a turnover on downs on DSU's 37-yardline with 9:39 left in the third. The Trojans went to use six plays for 55 yards in 2:51, but committed a fumble on Dordt's 8-yard line with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
As Dakota State was forced to punt in the fourth quarter with nine minutes left, the Trojans recovered a fumble from Trai Pickney on the DC's 8-yard line with 8:16 left on the clock. DSU quickly scored as Summers threw a 8-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Tisch to reduce their deficit to 14-13. The PAT kick by Hubbard was no good as the Trojans could not tie the game with 8:11 remaining.
DC went on to use eight plays for 50 yards on the ensuing drive. Dykstra attempted a 31-yard field goal was no good with 4:43 left in the game.
Dakota State marched down on the field in the final 4:43 of the game. The Trojans converted four first-downs in the final drive of the game. With two seconds left in the game, a 39-yard field goal by Hubbard was blocked by Dordt as the Defenders held on to a one-point victory.
Summers completed four passes in five attempts for 44 yards and a touchdown for DSU. He added 10 rushes for 22 yards. Whisenhunt was 5-for-10 for 33 yards and an interception. He rushed 16 times for 64 yards with a touchdown. Dylan VandeGarde recorded 12 rushes for 72 yards. Kris Dearie ran five times for 27 yards.
Tisch had three receptions for 24 yards and a touchdown for the Trojans. Ely added two catches for 36 yards.
Ben Kullos led the Trojans' defense with 10 tackles. Perry King added nine tackles. Preston Powell had an interception and recorded eight tackles. Josh Licht and Tyler Poggemeyer each had eight tackles.
Dordt's Rusler was 8-for-12 for 12 for 122 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and recorded an interception. Courtney Samuel rushed 12 times for 60 yards. Lenard Manuel added nine rushes for 43 yards.
Verhulst caught three passes for 58 yards with a touchdown for the Defenders. Van Grouw added a reception for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Cole McClain and Seth Vande Voort each had 13 tackles for DC. McClain had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Micah Applegate added 11 tackles. Sean Quinlan recorded 10 tackles and a quarterback sack. Camren Pitre had an interception.
Dordt recorded 310 yards of total offense compared to the Trojans' 276 yards. Dakota State outgained the Defenders 199-188 in rushing yards. DC had 122 passing yards, while DSU had 77 passing yards.
DC had the ball for 31 minutes and 30 seconds in the game. The Trojans had the ball possession for 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
DSU was 7-for-15 on third-down conversions. Do
rdt was 5-for-14 on third-downs.
Dakota State looks to get back on the winning column next Saturday. The Trojans kick off the North Star Athletic Association conference play as they travel to Valley City, N.D. DSU takes on NSAA preseason favorite Valley City State (N.D.), receiving votes in the NAIA Football Preseason Coaches' Top 25 national poll. Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at the Lokken Field.