Adam Connette tied the UMC touchdown reception record in his final game of his Golden Eagle career.
Adam Connette tied the Golden Eagles touchdown reception record in the season finale, but the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles could not overcome a first half deficit and lost 62-20.
Northern State claimed the lead on the opening drive after a pass interference call on third down kept the drive alive. Later on a third down, the Wolves found the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Following a Golden Eagles punt, Northern State marched down the field again for their second score of the day.
UMC attempted to cut the deficit in half and drove deep into the Wolves’ territory. An interception in the end zone thrown by Jeremy Neuman ended the Golden Eagles’ threat with 5:46 remaining in the first quarter.
Neuman completed 14 of 30 for 165 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“We had some turnovers early on,” Head Coach Mark Dufner said. “That’s something we’ve worked on and we want to try and limit those. We want to try and win the turnover margin and we fell short today.”
Each team forced a punt after the turnover and UMC once again found themselves in Northern State’s end. The drive was halted once again by an interception ran all the way to the Golden Eagles’ 18-yard-line. The Wolves scored shortly after to increase their lead to 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Golden Eagles were unable to move the ball consistently and Northern State scored touchdowns on three straight drives and converted a field goal as time expired in the first half for a 45-0 lead at the halfway point.
We put ourselves in a pretty big hole in the first half,” Dufner said. “We were able to basically win that second half, but we just can’t put ourselves in that big of a hole in the first half.”
The Wolves opened the second half with another field goal to make the score 48-0.
UMC got on the board on the ensuing drive. Neuman thew an arc to Rod Stewart who ran in for the 30 yard touchdown pass. A failed two point attempt kept the score at 48-6.
The Wolves responded immediately with a touchdown run and a 55-6 lead. Northern State put up 363 rushing yards on the day.
The Golden Eagles reached deep in their playbook for their second touchdown. Neuman threw a backwards pass to Tommy Singer who threw a 62 yard bomb to Lincoln Tappe.
“It was basically a little gadget play,” Dufner said. “We got the halfback pass play to Tommy and he had a nice pass and hit Lincoln in stride. Tommy has been the backup quarterback for us so it was nice to send him off with that play.”
On the two point conversion attempt, Northern State forced a turnover and began to lateral the ball in hopes of returning the attempt for two points. Three laterals and 44 yards later, the ball landed on the ground and was picked up by Tappe at the Golden Eagles’ 33-yard-line and Tappe ran the ball in to convert the two points and make the score 55-14.
The Wolves responded again with a touchdown by Nicholas Trauen for his fifth touchdown in the game. The Wolves led 62-14 with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
Each team’s defense stepped up following five straight scoring drives and forced four straight punts.
The Golden Eagles drove the ball into the red zone and threw a pass to Connette inside the five, but Connette lost the ball trying to stretch for the goal line and Northern State recovered.
UMC got the ball back after a punt and set Connette up with a chance for redemption. Neuman threw a 30 yard touchdown to Connette with 4:05 remaining in the game to give Connette his record-tying score originally set by Carl Aho. Connette climbed the fence to meet his brothers to celebrate the milestone.
“That one stands out to me, the one to Adam [Connette],” Dufner said. “It was a good play call and executed it well and Adam had the fortitude to get in the end zone.”
The Golden Eagles ended their season with an 0-11 mark and look to build for next season after the loss of eight seniors.
“We got to get better in the offseason,” Dufner said. “We got to get guys in the weight room and get better at all positions. We’re going to develop our guys and then we have to recruit and bring in some competition.”