MADISON, S.D. – Briar Cliff (Iowa) raced to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter Thursday evening in the third annual Ag Bowl game at Trojan Field, earning a 49-20 non-conference victory over Dakota State (S.D.). It was the first defeat in the annual Ag Bowl game for the Trojans (2-1 record all-time).
DSU, who is ranked No. 25 in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 national poll, fell to 1-2 overall record. Briar Cliff, a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference who opened up their season on Aug. 25 with a 40-13 victory over North Star’s fellow, lifted their record to 2-0.
BCU snapped DSU’s two-game winning streak, but the Trojans hold the all-time series record of 4-2.
The Chargers scored 21 points in the last 4:28 of the first quarter. Each team produced just one first down on their first possessions of the game.
BCU started their second possession later in the first quarter, starting on their own 37-yard line with 8 minutes and 27 seconds on the clock. Briar Cliff used 9 plays for 63 yards in nearly four minutes as Kwame Johnson rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. Steven Delia followed up with the PAT extra-point kick to put BCU up 7-0 with 4:28 on the clock.
After a 46-yard pass from Jared Richardson to Mason Leighton to BCU’s 27-yard line on the ensuing possession, Markel Roby intercepted Richardson’s pass and returned it for a 75-yard touchdown with 3:03 left in the first quarter. Delia’s PAT extra point kick was good to extend Briar Cliff’s lead to 14-0.
DSU was forced to punt on the next possession. Briar Cliff would answer with another quick score. The Chargers recorded 5 plays for 64 yards in 2:03 as Johnson rushed for a 4-yard touchdown with no time left in the first quarter. Delia’s PAT kick was successful as BCU’s lead grew to 21-0. Brad Cagle’s 44-yard pass to Khamren Davenport highlighted in BCU’s scoring drive.
Briar Cliff outgained Dakota State 139-63 in total offensive yards in the first 15 minutes of the game.
The Chargers extended their lead to 28-0 in the early second quarter after using 9 plays for 65 yards in 4:33. Cagle rushed for a 17-yard touchdown followed by the PAT extra point kick by Delia with 9:08 to go in the second quarter.
DSU was forced to punt on the next possession where Caleb Nielsen recorded a 60-yard punt from DSU’s 32-yard line to BCU’s 8-yard line with less than eight minutes to go before intermission.
Briar Cliff opened up with an 87-yard pass from Cagle to Khamren Davenport to DSU’s 5-yard line. Cagle followed up with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Brown to make it 34-0 in favor of the Chargers. Delia added the PAT extra-point kick to make it 35-0 BCU with 7:06 on the clock.
Dakota State registered 12 plays for 61 yards in 4:41 and produced four first-downs on the following possession. Their drive was halted on BCU’s 10-yard line as they turned the ball on downs with 2:25 to go in the second quarter.
The Chargers followed up with 11 plays for 85 yards in the last 2:25 of the first-half. Delia’s 22-yard field goal was missed right, holding on to a 35-0 lead over the Trojans by halftime.
BCU racked up 385 offensive yards (41 plays) compared to DSU 142 offensive yards (34 plays) in the first thirty minutes.
Briar Cliff kicked off the third quarter using 11 plays for 80 yards in 5:18 for another touchdown. Noah Ylagan rushed for a four-yard touchdown followed by Delia to expand BCU’s lead to 42-0 with 9:42 on the clock.
Brodie Frederiksen kicked off DSU’s drive with a 50-yard rush from DSU’s 25-yard line to BCU’s 25-yard line on their first possession of the second-half. Richardson threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Leighton with 8:36 left in the third quarter. Casey Bourque’s PAT extra-point was no good.
LaDarrien Bowman recorded a 78-yard kick-off return to start BCU’s drive on DSU’s 20-yard line. The Chargers would answer with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Cagle to Tyler French with 6:25 on the clock. Delia’s PAT extra-point kick was good as BCU’s grew to 49-6.
After Qi’Sean Rust intercepted Cole Hanafan’s pass on BCU’s 41-yard line, the Trojans answered with a scoring drive. DSU trimmed the Chargers’ lead to 49-14 with less than six minutes to go in the game. DSU registered six plays for 41 yards in 2:15 as Richardson connected to Leighton for the second time, this time a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Dakota State converted a successful 2-point PAT attempt as Richardson connected to David Bond.
DSU added another score with no time in the game. The Trojans used 8 plays for 70 yards in 4:04 as Frederiksen rushed for a 1-yard touchdown run to round up the final score at 49-20 in favor of BCU.
Dakota State outscored Briar Cliff 14-0 in the final fifteen minutes of the game.
Frederiksen rushed 26 times for a game-high 191 yards for the Trojans. He had a touchdown.
Richardson finished the game by going 13-of-34 for 144 yards in the air with two touchdowns and an interceptions for DSU. Leighton caught five passes for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Bond added three receptions for 40 yards. Trever Listman had two catches for 15 yards. Mitchell Galloway recorded a 46-yard reception.
John Trout and Ryan Dozier each led Dakota State’s defense with 10 tackles. Marcus Vanden Bosch and Curt Boeke each added five tackles. Trout and Michael Cleveland each registered a tackle-for-loss. Josiah Kelley and Qi’Sean Rust each recorded an interception.
Cagle completed 14 passes in 24 attempts for 284 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Chargers. He also had five rushes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Brown had five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Davenport recorded three receptions for 154 yards. French collected two catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson rushed 20 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns for BCU. Ylagan had 16 rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Peyton Bailey and Caleb Wilson each led Briar Cliff’s defense with eight tackles. Michael Williams II added seven tackles and a quarterback sack. Logan Knudson had two sacks. Roby had an interception return of 75 yards.
Both teams recorded 19 first-downs and 71 plays in the game, but Briar Cliff outgained Dakota State 508-350 in total offensive yards. The Chargers averaged 7.2 yards per play while the Trojans averaged 4.9 yards per play.
The Chargers rushed for 223 yards compared to the Trojans’ 206 rushing yards. BCU threw 285 yards in the air, while DSU recorded 144 passing yards.
Briar Cliff was whistled for 12 penalties in the game for 207 yards. Dakota State committed three penalties for 30 yards.
The Chargers maintained the ball for 31 minutes, 4 seconds. The Trojans had a time possession of 28 minutes, 56 seconds.
BCU was 4-of-12 on third-down situations compared to DSU 3-of-14 third-downs. The Chargers converted 6-of-7 red zones opportunities. DSU was 2-of-3 on red-zone scoring chances.
Dakota State kicks off their two-game road trip next Saturday (Sept. 15). The Trojan visit NCAA Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at Community Stadium at Goerke Park in Stevens Point, Wis.