ABERDEEN, S.D. – With a stifling defense and a balanced offense, the University of Sioux Falls Football Team won its fourth straight game with a 35-13 NSIC win over Northern State on Saturday at Swisher Field. With the win, USF clinched a 26th straight winning season, which ranks as the fourth best streak across all divisions of collegiate football.
USF Head Coach Jon Anderson, who won this 22nd game at USF and has a long history with the program, understands the significance of that accomplishment. But he also knows to celebrate each victory because of the work that each win requires.
"Celebrate this win as you rightly should. But guys know that you carried on a tradition of success met by 25 previous teams. And, that is noteworthy," said Anderson in the post-game gathering with his team. "I am proud of your work and focus this week and for the past month," added Anderson, whose team will travel to Upper Iowa for a noon game on Saturday, Nov. 2.
With a school-record and career-best 98-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Thuro Reisdorfer, the Cougars opened up a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes to play in the first quarter and built the margin to 21-3 before cruising to a 35-13 win on the road.
With the victory, the Cougars defeated its fourth straight North Division opponent this year and moved to 28-4 all-time.
One of the ingredients of success for USF was a defense that locked down NSU, which finished with just 229 total yards. Of that total, USF limited NSU to 31 rushing yards on 29 carries for a paltry 1.06 yards per carry. NSU gained 182 yards through the air on 39 passes and 22 completions but USF forced four turnovers included three interceptions. Junior linebacker Harvey (Michael) Enalls picked off his first career pass while Gio Purpurra had an interception and Tucker Stout not only had his third career interception but with a 25-yard TD return in the second quarter, finished with his first pick six.
The USF defense, coordinated by Nick Benedetto, continued to limit opponents to meager totals on offense. Through eight games, USF is ranked second nationally beginning play today and with the totals from the win are allowing 208.5 yards per game and just 61.2 rushing yards. In the past four games, USF has allowed just two offensive touchdowns including one by rushing. In the past six games, teams are averaging only 187.5 yards in total offense with 47.5 rushing yards (285 total rush yards). The defense was led by junior safety Nate Durfee and senior linebacker Brody Grantham with seven tackles while Stout and Ryan Nieman had six stops.
Against NSU, the Cougars offense, coordinated by Jim Chapin, had 444 yards in total offense on 64 plays for 6.9 yards per play. Of that total, USF had 262 rushing yards on 37 carries for 7.1 per tote. And, USF had 182 yards passing as quarterback Caden Walters completed 12-of-27 passes with two TDs but no interceptions. He averaged 15.2 yards per completion.
Walters, who leads the NSIC in total offense, matched his season average with 254 yards as he also collected eight carries for 72 yards including a 20-yard run. But Reisdorfer was the key component on the ground as he surpassed 100 yards for a second straight week and the third time this season. He had 11 carries for 133 yards and two TDs as he pushed his season total to 704 yards on 103 carries for 6.9 yards per carry. He now has 10 rushing TDs and a league leading 13 total TDs. Winston Maxwell added 28 yards on six carries.
The receiving corps had balance but was led by junior wide receiver Jermaine Broadnax, who had a career-high with 79 yards on two receptions. Both of his catches – 28 and 51 yards – produced TDs, which were the first two of his career. Karnell Collier added five catches for 53 yards and five other players (Ben Sokup, Nate Johnson, Ja'Tai Jenkins, Darrion Conrad and Tanner Beaton) all had a reception.
Scoring Breakdown –
After the Cougars stopped NSU at the doorstep of the goal line, Reisdorfer found an opening in the middle of the line and raced 98 yards for his career-long TD run and also the longest run in school history at the 9:38 mark of the first quarter. Reisdorfer scored his 10th TD of the season on the run and now has 13 overall TDs, which leads the NSIC.
NSU cut the deficit to 7-3 on a 21-yard field goal by Payton Eue at the 4:59 mark of the first quarter to cap a nine-play 63-yard drive. But once again, USF's defense rose up when NSU moved inside the 20-yard line and limited the Wolves to three points.
After a short punt by NSU's Eue set up USF at the 40-yard line. The Cougars built a 14-3 lead as Broadnax hauled in a 28-yard TD pass on just the third place of the drive at the 13:24 mark of the second quarter.
At that point, the defense stepped up as Stout had his third career interception which he turned into a 25-yard interception return for a TD and a 21-3 lead with seven minutes until halftime.
Later in the quarter, NSU had their only drive of the game which resulted in a TD. Quarterback Hunter Trautman, who completed 18-of-31 passes for 176 yards with three interceptions, had a five-yard TD run with 2:25 left in the quarter as the Wolves drew within 21-10 which was the score at halftime.
USF controlled play in the second half on both sides of the ball. The Cougars pushed the lead to 28-13 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter when Broadnax caught a career-long 51-yard TD pass from Walters on the first play after a failed onside kick attempt gave USF the ball near midfield.
Reisdorfer closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter with a six-yard TD run, which again was a one-play drive set up by USF's defense as junior defensive line Joey Wehrkamp recovered a fumble and ran it to the six-yard line before being tripped.