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Daniel Allar / Minot Daily News, Published November 02 2013

Blocked extra point secures victory for MSUM football team

MINOT, N.D. – “Not good enough.”

That was a popular phrase in the postgame news conference for coach Paul Rudolph, whose Minot State football team suffered its second consecutive one-point home defeat on Saturday.

Minnesota State Moorhead sophomore Steve Schutz blocked an extra point with 2 minutes, 39 seconds remaining to preserve a lead, and the Dragons ran out the clock in a 31-30 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory at Herb Parker Stadium.

“He’s kind of a locker-room leader. He’s an inspiration for our guys,” MSUM coach Steve Laqua said of Schutz. “He did time in the military and came back to play college football. He’s battled, and every play is important to him. A seemingly insignificant extra-point block is huge, so just a credit to him for having the tenacity to stay after it.”

The loss continued a hard-luck season for the Beavers (2-7, 1-4 NSIC North), who gave up a last-minute 2-point conversion to Northern State in a 22-21 defeat in their previous home game.

“I don’t think there’s any nice way to lose,” Minot junior wide receiver Leon LaDeaux said.

The victory is the third of the season for the Dragons (3-6, 3-2). It marks the first time since 2007 that MSUM has won more than two games in a season.

Schutz’s decisive block may not have been possible had the Beavers converted on two fourth downs in the second half. Minot sophomore cornerback Zac Cunha misfired on a corner route on fourth-and-1 from the MSUM 2-yard line in the third quarter. On a fourth-and-2 from the Dragons’ 5 with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth, Cunha kept the ball on an option but was stopped just inches from a first down.

“‘Bend but don’t break’ was our defensive philosophy and our kids executed the game plan,” Laqua said. “It makes you a little nervous when it gets down so close, but credit us for making some plays. We made them when we needed to make them.”

LaDeaux said those failed conversions are on the players’ shoulders.

“When a coach lets you go for it on fourth down, you take that as he respects the offense and he believes in you guys,” he said. “We have to take that as players and make those plays so that belief continues.”

Following MSUM’s second fourth-down stop, the Beavers forced a three-and-out to give their offense another chance.

LaDeaux and senior wideout Wayne Peters made receptions to set up freshman Jarvis Mustipher’s 7-yard touchdown run, which set the stage for Schutz’s block.

Minot held the high-powered MSUM offense in check for most of the game, but Laqua said his offense grew stronger as the game progressed. The Dragons ran 88 offensive plays compared to 72 for the Beavers.

“There were a couple of adjustments we made with some open routes,” Laqua said. “We ran a bunch of plays in the first half and we felt like if we could get ’em to a fourth quarter in a close game, we could crack ’em and wear ’em down with as many plays as we played.”

MSUM 7 7 0 17–31

Minot 7 10 7 6–30

MSUM–Grande 6 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

Minot-Peters 44 pass from Cunha (Gutierrez kick)

MSUM-Ambrose 92 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

Minot-LaDeaux 98 kickoff return (Gutierrez kick)

Minot-Gutierrez 36 field goal

Minot-Sturm 14 pass from Cunha (Gutierrez kick)

MSUM-Kramer 20 field goal

MSUM-Jiskra 10 pass from Hodge (Kramer kick)

MSUM-Grande 30 pass from Hodge (Kramer kicks)

Minot-Mustipher 7 run (kick blocked)

TEAM STATISTICS MSUM Minot

First downs 26 20

Rushes-yards 39-122 26-62

Passing 356 355

Comp-Att-Int 25-49-2 28-44-1

Punts-Avg. 8-35 6-41.7

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 3-26 10-90

Time of possession 26:09 33:51

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MSUM, Hodge 5-5, Stone 3-23, Medhaug 17-61, Schell 12-29, Ambrose 2-1. Minot, Cunha 8-(-27), Mustipher 18-90, Molyneaux 2-(-1).

PASSING: MSUM, Hodge 25-19-2 92 yards. Minot, Cunha 28-44-1 355.

RECEIVING: MSUM, Jiskra 5-68, Grande 5-82, Medhaug 6-53, Hollenkamp 1-2, Ambrose 8-151. Minot, LaDeaux 9-75, Christianson 3-34, Peters 8-169, Mustipher 1-(-5), Sturm 6-74, Bonsu 1-8.