Defenses Leading the Way: Game Preview – Dakota State vs Dickinson State

Dakota State Trojan football (0-5 overall, 0-3 NSAA) is on the road again for the second week in a row to face the No. 22 ranked Dickinson State Bluehawks (4-1 overall, 3-0 NSAA).

The Bluehawks have commanded the all-time series with a 23-2 advantage. They’re currently on a 10 game win streak against DSU. The Trojans last win was back on Oct. 17, 2015 in dominating fashion, 54-21. Dickinson State comes in as a very confident team and rightfully so. They’ve owned the North Star Athletic Association and haven’t lost to an NSAA opponent since Oct. 26, 2019.

Dickinson State

Dickinson State brings an all-around arsenal. The has a nice rushing attack and senior Braden Zuroff is the bell cow. Averages 110 yards rushing with seven touchdowns on the year. He’s agile and explosive through the gaps. Zuroff is mixed in the pass attack as well, sitting at third in receptions for the Bluehawks.

Starting quarterback Will Madler is the other major factor in this offense. Accounting for 10 total touchdowns so far this season. He’s not afraid to run the ball, but it is not his strong suit. Averaging only 2.9 yards per carry as the second leading rusher. Once Madler and this coaching staff notice a mismatch, they will exploit it immediately when the opportunity presents itself.

Its defense has the most depth and is what leads them. Defensive coordinator Jason Thier can be expected to call up the blitz at any given time. They enjoy making QBs uncomfortable. They return the NSAA Defensive MVP from 2022 in senior Krew Mathern. The leader of the defense and the biggest problem on that side of the ball for the Trojans to worry about. Similar to Dakota State, they are a very solid run defense as a whole. Allowing opponents just 58.3 yards on the ground and less than 300 in total offense.

Dakota State

For the Trojans, they’re on the verge of breaking through for a win. Led by their defense who is slowly but surely becoming less of just a dominant run defense and more of an all-around unit. Allowing less than 250 yards through the air and just a shade over 100 yards (2nd in NSAA) on the ground. The Trojan defense has seven sacks on the year, all coming in conference play.

JJ Beck leads the Trojans defense with 39 tackles on the year. He leads the Trojans with 4.5 tackles-for-loss and ranks fourth in the NSAA with 7.8 tackles per game. Devonte Murphy the only other player with 30 or more tackles, sitting right at 30.

Offensively the Trojans will see what freshman QB Tray Hettick can do at the helm for the length of a game. Hettick looks to be just the second Trojan QB to throw a passing touchdown this season. While also trying to be the first to capture a win as the starter. They’ll need quite a bit of those touchdowns against this stout defense.

One thing the Trojans will have to do, without a doubt, is avoid continuing to cause penalties. They’ve racked up the infractions in conference play with 20 penalties for 158 yards in three games. They rank 19th in the NAIA with 26 total penalties on the season.

Kickoff for the game will be at 2pm with pregame beginning at 1:30pm on Jammin Country 103.

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