The Dakota State Trojans battled til the very end, but came up short on the road against Valley City State, losing 21-14.
It was a close outing throughout at Shelly Ellig Field, but the Trojans couldn’t complete the comeback effort. The Trojans fall to 0-8 overall and 0-6 in North Star Athletic Association play.
Valley City State scored on their first two drives with ease and led by a pair of touchdowns. After a scoreless first half for the Trojans and down 14 points, DSU put together a touchdown drive to get things going. They got on the board and made it 14-7 to open the second half. The Vikings got themselves back in the endzone eight minutes later to answer the Trojans score.
The Trojans had opportunities at shots in the end zone going into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t capitalize on all of them. They did score again with an eight yard rush from Preston Iverson to get his third TD in the last two games. After which, they didn’t get the ball back to attempt another drive. Turnovers did in the Trojans once again in a winnable game.
The Viking offense was led again by Justice Bice who had 22 carries for 132 yards with a TD. He also led in receiving with four receptions and 43 yards. Bice was getting mostly what he wanted and it marks the second straight game Bice has had 130+ rush yards for the Vikings. Quarterback Noah Chambers went 14-for-24 passing for 142 yards.
Defensively, the Vikings had Hettick running around at times as Riley Gerhardt remained an issue to deal with. He led the Vikings in tackles with 12, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and got 1.5 sacks, becoming the all-time sack leader with 35.5 at VCSU.
Tray Hettick had a season-high 252 yards passing on 18-for-37 completions with one TD and one interception. Nearly half of those yards went to Michael Hybertson who had yet another 100-yard receiving game with 103 yards, four receptions and a TD. Roger Moore tied Hybertson with four receptions, but reeled them in for 48 yards. Hettick was able to manage the offense, but dealt with a lot of pressures from VCSU. Iverson led the run game for the Trojans with 12 carries for 58 yards and a TD.
DSU’s defense had trouble with the run again this week. Giving up 130+ to a single opposing runner in back-to-back games. The Trojans haven’t been able to limit both the run and the pass enough in the same game for a total defensive effort. The one time it has, back against Mayville State on Sept. 30, the offense failed to score at all. Its offense doesn’t score enough points to disguise any mistakes the defense may make, no matter how big or small.
After the initial two drives, the Trojan defense made adjustments – credit to defensive coordinator Anvil Sinsabaugh. Allowing just one score over the last three quarters. Brandon Dannenbring led with 10 tackles for the Trojans, followed by Collin Brueggeman with nine tackles, one tackle-for-loss and one sack. Gabe Chambliss also added a sack for DSU.
The Trojans will get a chance to work out the kinks as they go into their final bye week. They’ll remain at home for their final two contests in November, beginning with Mayville State on Nov. 4 and finally Nov. 11 against Dickinson State.