In what ended up tying the record for most points scored ever in a Gypsy Days game, the Northern State football team lost a wild shootout to MSU Moorhead Saturday at Swisher Field, 47-46. The two teams combined for 1,001 yards and 13 touchdowns in the contest.
The Northern State (1-4) special teams was huge for the Wolves Saturday as NSU blocked two Dragon PATs, including returning one for two points. Scored a touchdown on a fake punt and a fake field goal, as well as forcing an MSU fumble on a punt return that would set up another score for Northern.
Northern started off the game on fire as the Wolves went 71 yards in just three plays, capped off by a 22-yard touchdown run from John Hughes. After Northern got it back and moved all the way to the Moorhead 12 yard line, quarterback Jared Jacobson would fumble the ball to keep the score at 7-0 after Jake Hodge scored back-to-back touchdown runs for the Dragons, the Wolves found themselves in a 13-7 hole. However, that's when the special teams magic began for Northern has Channing Barber raced through the Dragon defense on his way to a 60-yard fake punt return for a touchdown.
After another MSUM score, Blaine Schmidt returned a blocked PAT back for two points to make the score 19-16 Moorhead with 7:30 left to go in the first half. The Wolves again scored their big play ability as this time, Terrelle Walker broke loose for a 54-yard touchdown run to put the Wolves back in the lead as we went to the break at 23-19.
Moorhead continued to fight back as Hodge through two consecutive touchdowns to give the Dragons the lead back at 32-23 with seven minutes to play in the third. More trickery followed, this time as Jacobson hit Connor Doherty for a 25-yard TD pass on a fake field goal.
After the Wolves forced a turnover on downs, Jacobson hit Tanner White in the corner of the end zone from six yards out for the score. NSU would at a two-point conversion and retake the lead at 38-32. The two teams were forced to punt on their next possessions. However the Wolves recovered a Dragon fumble off of a punt at the MSUM 15 with just under 14 minutes to play. Northern would score on its very next play as Jacobson threw his third touchdown of the day, this one to Taylor Houchin from 15 yards out. Another two-point conversion and the Wolves had a 46-32 lead with 11:02 remaining.
Moorhead wasted little time however getting back on the board as the Dragons scored just four plays later on a 64-yard touchdown run. Then, after forcing an NSU three-and-out, the Dragons went on an 11-play, 66-yard drive to score and then took the lead on a two-point conversion with 3:54 remaining.
Northern took over and marched the ball into Moorhead territory to the twenty-two yard line, including converting twice on fourth down, however on first and 10, Jacobson was picked off for the second time on the day.
Moorhead would run out the clock from there and seal the victory.
Jacobson went 11-for-27 with 161 yards through the air for Northern, he also led the team with 117 yards rushing on 17 carries. Hughes added 91 yards and a score of his own while Walker had 51 yards on the ground.
Doherty had a big day receiving for the Wolves as he recorded his first career 100-yard game. Doherty finished with 108 yards receiving on just four catches. Houchin added three grabs for 32 yards on the day.
Defensively, the Wolves were led by Mike Alberts and Blaine Schmidt who each had eight tackles on the day. Tanner Lopez chipped in with seven stops, including one for a loss and a tipped pass. Mike Tuch and Ikee Sirleaf each recorded a sack in the loss for Northern. Jalon Bibbs recorded the two blocked PATs in the contest.
The 93 points combined ties a Gypsy Days record set in 2001. On that date, coincidentally, the Wolves lost to Bemidji, 47-46.
Northern hits the road next weekend as it travels to face Minot State in a 2:30 p.m. kick. The Beavers are also 1-4 this year and lost 45-10 to U-Mary Saturday.