The University of Sioux Falls used a dominating running game that accumulated 467 yards on the ground en route to 680 yards of offense as they defeated the University of Minnesota Crookston 52-7 at Bob Young Field in Sioux Falls, S.D. The meeting was the first-ever between the two NSIC opponents as Sioux Falls joined the NSIC in 2012 after moving over from the NAIA. The Golden Eagles forced four turnovers but were unable to capitalize on them as they remain winless on the season as they fall to 0-4. Sioux Falls improves to 2-2.
"We got off again to a slow start in the first quarter with penalties, missed assignments and things," UMC head coach Mike Fritze said. "The ball kept rolling. We buckled down and had a better second half. Brody Davidson is playing really well. That's probably about it for who played well."
The Cougar running attack was led by running back Nephi Garcia who had 18 carries for 167 yards and a touchdown. Dual-threat quarterback Luke Papilion had 13 rushes for 77 yards for two touchdowns while Joseph Hlushak added 77 yards on six carries with a touchdown.
In the passing game, Sioux Falls was led by Papilion, who went 12-of-23 for 155 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Carrington Hanna led all receivers with seven catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars did struggle to hold on to the ball as they had two fumbles and two interceptions.
UMC had just 211 yards overall offensively with 93 yards passing and 118 yards rushing. Senior running back Keith McBride (Lodi, Wis.) led the way with 15 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown. Talo Pascal (So., RB, Arlington, Texas.) added 31 yards on 15 carries while Tommy Smith (So., RB, Naranja, Fla.) added 20 yards on five carries.
Golden Eagle freshman quarterback Kyle Larson (Clayton, Wis.) was 11-of-25 for 87 yards on the game. His top target was Justin Tago Su’e (Fr., WR, Ewa Beach, Hawai’i), who hauled in five catches for 26 yards.
UMC punter Tyler Hansen (Jr., Morris, Minn.) did have a strong game with 10 punts for an average of 41.4 yards with a long of 73 and three punts inside the 20.
On defense, the Golden Eagles were led by Tevin Kellum (Sr., DB, Detroit, Mich.) who had 15 tackles, including 12 solo tackles which ranks second all-time among all UMC players in a single game. Kellum added an interception as did Joshua Perea (Sr., DB, Pico Rivera, Calif.).
The game started out very promising for the Golden Eagles as they would get three offensive drives to start the game due to special teams errors for the Cougars. UMC was unable to unable to put any points on the board, however.
The Cougars would then take the ball 80 yards culminating in a five-yard rushing touchdown for Papilion to go ahead 7-0.
Page 2 of 2 - USF would add to their advantage as Hlushak rushed for a 54-yard touchdown to push the lead out to 14-0 for the Cougars.
After UMC was again unable to move the football, the Cougars would capitalize as Papilion rushed for a one yard touchdown, his second of the game. USF would have the 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Sioux Falls would add to their lead early in the second quarter as back-up quarterback Matt Young rushed for a five yard touchdown after a 66-yard drive for the Cougars.
After another defensive stop, the Cougars would score on a 31-yard strike from Papilion to Hanna to push out the USF lead to 35-0.
Sioux Falls would finally be stopped late in the second quarter as Perea intercepted Papilion but the Golden Eagles were again unable to take advantage of the turnover. The Cougars would go into the break with a 35-0 advantage.
Sioux Falls would come out of the gate and drive the ball down the field but Papilion threw his second interception, this time to Kellum as the Golden Eagles stopped the Cougar offense.
But the UMC offense couldn’t take advantage as Hansen was again forced to punt. Sioux Falls would take the ball down the field again but would be stopped on downs this time at the UMC 17 giving the ball back to the Golden Eagles but after a 22-yard pass from Larson to Cheatham to open the drive, UMC was stopped and forced to punt.
USF would be stopped again as neither team would get on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Sioux Falls would open up the fourth quarter with a 19-yard rushing touchdown by Garcia to make it 42-0 Sioux Falls.
The Golden Eagles would find their way onto the scoreboard as McBride ignited for a big run of 50 yards to cut the lead to Sioux Falls 42, UMC 7.
The Cougars would add a 25-yard field goal from Hatfield on the next drive to extend their lead to 45-7 and would put an exclamation mark on the game with a Brady Rose one-yard touchdown to put them up 52-7 and give them the win.
The Golden Eagles will return home next weekend to host Bemidji State University at 1 p.m. for homecoming at Ed Widseth Field.
"We are taking it on a step-by-step process," said coach Fritze. "We will look at it and be building it up with Bemidji for homecoming. We are already working (Sunday morning) for next week.
"If we can just get through that first quarter and be sound on everything we do," coach Fritze continued. "We need to focus on fundamentals and the things that will get us in the right spot."