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Ryan Deal / Aberdeen American News, Published October 05 2013

Late TD, 2-point conversion vault Dragons to first football win

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Minnesota State Moorhead played homecoming spoilers this week.

Northern State lost its annual Gypsy Day game 47-46 against Minnesota State Moorhead on Saturday at Swisher Field in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference North Division college football game. The Wolves are now 63-28-3 all-time in Gypsy Day games.

The Dragons suffered a heartbreaking 36-34 loss against Concordia-St. Paul during their homecoming game last week.

“We got our homecoming crashed last weekend, and we just kind of wanted to do the same thing to somebody else,” Moorhead quarterback Jake Hodge said.

It was MSUM’s first win this season and it snapped an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season. The Dragons’ last win was Oct. 13, 2012, vs. Minnesota-Crookston.

“It is a really big win that could catapult us forward within our program,” Moorhead coach Steve Laqua said. “We played a program that we respect. We have seen how they’ve built it. We’ve modeled some of the things that we’ve done off of what they’ve done. So for us to have a day like today is a little bit extra special.”

There were seven lead changes and 1,101 total yards between the two teams.

“It was crazy,” said Hodge, who had 393 total yards and five total TDs. “It was fun. It went back and forth the entire game. Northern had some big plays. We had some big plays. It was fun.”

Northern State went ahead 46-32 early in the fourth quarter, after a Taylor Houchin 15-yd TD pass from Jared Jacobson. 14 points was the largest lead in the game by either team.

“When you get up by two scores in the fourth quarter, you have to find a way to close it out,” Northern State coach Tom Dosch said. “A lot of it right now is the killer instinct and not having the killer instinct.”

The Dragons cut the deficit to 46-39 after a Brandon Schell 64-yard TD run with nine minutes and 40 seconds left. The NSU offense, which had its best day statistically of the season, failed to pick up a first down on the ensuing possession. The Dragons took over at their own 34-yard line with 7:35 remaining. Hodge orchestrated an 11-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with a Zayne Medhaug 10-yard TD run with 4:01 left.

“We had quite a bit of time to go and our running game was working good and we just tried working the clock down,” Hodge said about the last drive.

The Dragons, who were 3-for-6 in point-after-touchdowns on Saturday, elected to go for the two-point conversion after Medhaug’s TD. The play was a pass play, but Hodge’s favorite target Adam Jiskra was covered. Hodge then ran in the go-ahead two-point conversion.

“Credit Jake, he made a great play,” Laqua said. “There wasn’t anything there. He just made something happen. I felt like where we were with our extra points, where we were in our program, we needed to try to make a statement to move us forward and so we did what we did.”

MSUM 0 19 13 15–47

NSU 7 16 15 8–46

NSU–Hughes 22 run (Shaw kick)

MSUM–Hodge 12 run (kick blocked)

MSUM–Hodge 71 run (Kramer kick)

NSU–Barber 60 run (Shaw kick)

MSUM–Jiskra 11 pass from Hodge (kick blocked)

NSU–Schmidt 98 yard blocked extra point return

NSU–Walker 54 run (Shaw kick)

MSUM–Jiskra 32 pass from Hodge (kick failed)

MSUM–Ambrose 17 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

NSU–Doherty 25 pass from Jacobson (Shaw kick)

NSU–White 6 pass from Jacobson (Houchin pass from Jacobson)

NSU–Houchin 15 pass from Jacobson (White pass from Jacobson)

MSUM–Schell 64 run (Kramer kick)

MSUM–Medhaug 10 run (Hodge run)

TEAM STATISTICS MSUM NSU

First downs 27 20

Rushes-yards 39-294 46-354

Passing 292 161

Comp-Att-Int 30-47-0 11-27-2

Punts-Avg. 6-35.2 6-35.3

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 4-89 3-34

Time of possession 29:21 30:39

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MSUM, Hodge 12-101, Medhaug 11-74, Schell 13-136, Schwichtenberg 1-(minus-4). NSU, Hughes 15-91, Jacobson 17-117, Erlandson 9-32, Barber 1-60, Walker 3-51, Pudwill 1-3.

PASSING: MSUM, Hodge 30-47-0 292 yards. NSU, Jacobson 11-27-2 161.

RECEIVING: MSUM, Jiskra 11-139, Ambrose 10-114, Medhaug 4-18, Grande 2-1, Hollenkamp 2-17, Romines 1-3. NSU, Doherty 4-108, Houchin 3-32, White 2-10, Freeman 1-8, Carlson 1-3.