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Hayden Goethe, Published October 26 2013

MSUM takes down Mary for NSIC football win

MOORHEAD – The Minnesota State Moorhead football team watched a 27-point lead dwindle away, as the University of Mary rallied to tie the game after the Dragons lost their starting quarterback to an injury.

But in the end, the Dragons players emerged with the Paddle Trophy for the first time.

MSUM backup quarterback Ryan Toelle hit Adam Jiskra on a screen pass that went 39 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 6 minutes, 50 seconds left. That play stood as the winning touchdown, as the Dragons defeated the Marauders 48-41 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game in front of 702 fans at Alex Nemzek Stadium.

It was MSUM’s first victory over Mary in eight matchups all-time.

“I think the reason the people in the program are here is to do things that have never been done before,” MSUM head coach Steve Laqua said.

Dragons starting quarterback Jake Hodge returned to the field after missing last week’s game against Minnesota-Crookston with concussion symptoms.

Hodge, who led the NSIC in total offense per game prior to last week's injury, picked up where he left off. He threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the first half and also ran for two touchdowns, helping MSUM build a 34-14 halftime lead.

But on the second play from scrimmage of the third quarter, Hodge injured his right knee after being sacked. Toelle took over at quarterback, as Hodge spent the remainder of the game either on the trainer’s table or on crutches.

After the injury to Hodge, MSUM (2-6, 2-6 NSIC) watched its 20-point lead disappear.

The Marauders (4-4, 4-4) trimmed their deficit to 41-34 in the final seconds of the third quarter, then tied the game 41-41 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Craig Bagnell to Nick Jolliffe with 9:29 left.

On the ensuing drive, the Dragons chewed up 79 yards on eight plays.

It was capped by Jiskra’s 39-yard touchdown catch and run on a tunnel screen on third-and-9. A couple of blockers downfield helped spring Jiskra, as he took off toward the right sideline on his way into the end zone for a 48-41 lead.

“I looked one way, and it wasn’t there,” Toelle said. “Looked (Jiskra’s) way, and he caught it. The line helped him a lot. The offensive line helped me so much today. It was unbelievable.”

The Marauders had a couple of possessions to tie the game. But on the third play of their final drive from the MSUM 32-yard line, Bagnell was intercepted by MSUM defensive back Jesse Beilke after he overthrew Jolliffe.

And once the final second ticked off the clock, Dragons players were able to celebrate their first win in the “Battle for the Paddle” series, which started in 2006 when the teams met for the first time.

“You give Moorhead a ton of credit,” Jolliffe said. “They fought their hearts out.”

M 0 14 20 7–41

MSUM 14 20 7 7–48

MSUM–Ambrose 60 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

MSUM–Hodge 6 run (Kramer kick)

MSUM–Montplaisir 20 pass from Hodge (kick failed)

MSUM–Medhaug 44 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

M–Saint-Gelais 11 pass from Bagnell (Ryan kick)

MSUM–Hodge 3 run (Kramer kick)

M–Jolliffe 7 pass from Bagnell (Ryan kick)

M–Ferrante 24 pass from Bagnell (kick blocked)

MSUM–Jiskra 13 pass from Toelle (Kramer kick)

M–Mayfield 19 pass from Bagnell (Ryan kick)

M–Gravely 2 run (Ryan kick)

M–Jolliffe 16 pass from Bagnell (Ryan kick)

MSUM–Jiskra 39 pass from Toelle (Kramer kick)


First downs 31 29

Rushes-yards 30-123 59-166

Passing 399 416

Comp-Att-Int 34-57-1 26-40-0

Punts-Avg. 7-40.7 7-35.9

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 8-80 4-44

Time of possession 25:27 34:33


RUSHING: M, Ferrante 8-71, Bagnell 13-27, Gravely 6-14, Woroniecki 3-11. MSUM, Schell 18-78, Medhaug 22-60, Hodge 9-30, Toelle 7-10, Montplaisir 1-(minus-2).

PASSING: M, Bagnell 34-57-1 399 yarrds. MSUM, Hodge 15-25-0 301, Toelle 11-15-0 115.

RECEIVING: M, Jolliffe 12-148, Pope 4-89, Young 6-63, Mayfield 5-41, Ferrante 4-39, Saint-Gelais 1-11, Gravely 1-6, Woroniecki 1-2. MSUM, Ambrose 7-136, Jiskra 8-131, Medhaug 5-70, Hollenkamp 3-48, Montplaisir 1-20, Schell 2-11.

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Assistant Sports Editor

Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558