MARSHALL, Minn. – MSU Moorhead jumped built a 20-0 first half lead and then made a big defensive stand in the fourth quarter to earn a 23-14 victory over Southwest Minnesota State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football on Saturday at the Schwan Regional Event Center.
MSUM (4-4 NSIC) snapped a three-game losing streak and earned its first victory in Marshall since Oct. 19, 1996, a breaking an eight-game losing skids.
SMSU drops to 3-5 in the NSIC and is now winless in four tries at home this season.
MSUM finished the game with 385 yards of offense with 214 on the ground. Ty Jochim paced the Dragons with a game-high 98 yards on 19 carries, while freshman back-up quarterback Max Carter added 55 yards and one touchdown on 10 attempts.
MSUM used a pair of quarterback in the game with starter Matthew Plasterer completing 16 of 24 pass attempts for 171 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for one touchdown.
SMSU closed the game with 404 yards of total offense and 28 first downs, but were limited to just 62 yards rushing which included suffering seven sacks for minus-49 yards.
SMSU finished the game running 91 plays to MSUM’s 64 and limited the Dragons to 4 of 14 on third-down conversion attempts.
Boyer Bouman completed 28 of 51 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for a team-high 34 net yards on 15 attempts.
Daniel Davis had another big game receiving for the Mustangs with 11 receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown. Luke Narveson caught four passes for 44 yards while teammate Albert Lemon added three receptions for 69 yards.
MSUM opened the game’s scoring on its first drive of the game as Plasterer scored on a 1-yard run with 10:29 remaining to cap a nine-play, 43-yard drive. The PAT was missed to keep the score at 6-0.
Following SMSU’s third possession that ended on downs at the MSUM 35-yard line, the Dragons quickly added to the lead as Plasterer found a wide-open Zach Sweep for a 65-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 13-0 late in the first quarter.
SMSU wasn’t able to take advantage of the wind to its back in the second quarter turning the ball over on downs and then punting on its second drive of the quarter. Disaster struck for the Mustangs on its third drive of the quarter facing fourth-and-10 from their own 38-yard line. On the punt attempt, the snap sailed over punter Aiden Belt and the Dragons’ Brock Harris recovered the loose ball at the SMSU 6-yard line.
MSUM extended the lead to 20-0 one play later as Max Carter broke free for a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:59 remaining in the half.
SMSU had one last chance to score before the half and made some huge plays to score its first touchdown of the game. Bouman completed three passes down to the MSUM 32-yard line with 46 seconds remaining, but a pair of sacks moved the ball back to the MSUM 47-yard line with 11 seconds on the clock. Facing third-and-25, Bouman connected on a 31-yard completion to Albert Lemon with three seconds left. Two plays later, Bouman fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Davis as time expired to cut the deficit to 20-7 following Skyler Crew’s PAT.
MSUM opened the second half with a punt on its first drive and SMSU took advantage with excellent field position at its own 42-yard line and the wind at their back. Following an 11-yard run by Max Simmons and another first down run by Duce Reynolds two plays later, Bouman found Lemon open for a 19-yard reception to the MSUM 18-yard line. Two plays later, Trey Sachs broke free for a 10-yard touchdown run to make the score 20-14 with 10:41 left in the third.
Neither team would score for the remainder of the quarter, but SMSU put together an impressive drive to open the fourth quarter to threaten to take the lead. Starting from its own 7-yard line, SMSU converted a pair of big third-down play and took advantage of two MSUM penalties to move the ball inside the MSUM 10-yard line. Early in the drive and facing third and four from the 13-yard line, Bouman connected with a 21-yard pass to Davis for a first down. Four plays later on third and 16, Bouman scrambled for an 18-yard run to the MSUM 32-yard line. SMSU picked up two more first downs on pass interference and holding penalties on the Dragons, giving SMSU first and goal from the 8-yard line. The Mustangs were called for a holding on first down moving the ball back to the 18-yard line. Following an incomplete pass, a sack and another incomplete pass, SMSU faced fourth and goal from the 27-yard line and the drive came up empty as Bouman was stopped on an 11-yard run to end the scoring threat.
MSUM then mounted its most impressive drive of the game to seal the victory, moving from its own 16-yard line down to the SMSU 5-yard line. The 12-play, 79-yard drive, which did not feature a pass, was capped off by a 23-yard field goal from Hobert Diax with 1:53 left in the game.
The SMSU defense was paced by Garret Chapman’s team-high 14 tackles with eight solo stops. Cory Hollowell had six tackles and two pass break-ups, while Adihia Bell had five solo stops, including three for loss.
Southwest Minnesota State will conclude its home season next Saturday, Nov. 2, facing Winona State in the fifth annual “Battle for the Sledge” trophy game with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.