Minnesota Crookston enters the last game of the season with a 1-9 (1-5 NSIC North) mark.
ABERDEEN, S.D. – The University of Minnesota Crookston football team had one of their best defensive performances of the season but they ultimately came up empty on the scoreboard as they fell 27-0 to Northern State University. The Golden Eagles limited the Wolves to just 346 yards of offense on the day, their second lowest total given up on the 2018 season. However, Minnesota Crookston could muster just 147 yards of offense in Saturday’s tilt.
Minnesota Crookston enters the last game of the season with a 1-9 (1-5 NSIC North) mark. Northern State moved to 4-6 (3-3 NSIC North) with Saturday’s win.
The Golden Eagles were ignited by the performance of Will Cole (Sr., DB, Compton, Calif.), who had one of his best games of his career with 12 tackles, two interceptions, and a tackle for loss. In addition, Cole had one reception for 11 yards on a fake punt. Cole is the first Golden Eagle with two interceptions since Jake Newman (Sr., K, White Bear Lake, Minn.), had two interceptions Nov. 7, 2015 against Minot State University. That is before Newman made the transition to safety to kicker due to injury.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles finished with 185 yards through the air, but they loss 38 yards in the run game. Jalin Scott (Jr., QB, Houston, Texas) was 14-of-41 for 174 yards with an interception. Rod Stewart (Sr., WR, Fort Worth, Texas) was his top target with four catches for 75 yards. Jacob Zwieg (R-Fr., WR, New Brighton, Minn.) added three grabs for 37 yards. Stewart has 1,793 career receiving yards, surpassing Golden Eagle great Carl Aho. In addition, his four grabs ties him with Aho for third all-time in receptions. He needs 14 catches next Saturday to surpass Mark Olsonawski for second all-time in career receptions.
In addition to Cole defensively, Austin Steele (R-Fr., LB, La Crosse, Wis.) finished with 10 tackles, one tackle for loss, and a sack. Joe Warner (Jr., DL, St. Louis Park, Minn.) added six tackles with two tackles for loss. Ali Alkhatib (R-Sr., LB, Rosemount, Minn.) added three tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Alkhatib is 37 tackles behind Cecil Brown, Jr. in second place all-time. He needs five tackles for loss to set the school record and surpass Jim Mages.
Northern State had 346 yards of offense with 172 through the air and 174 on the ground. The Wolves looked to Hunter Trautman through the air, as he was 12-of-21 for 172 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His top target was Zech Culbreath with five catches for 40 yards, while Dakota Larson had three grabs for 41 yards. Gerald Maxwell led the rushing attack with 13 carries for 80 yards, while Larson had six touches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
The Wolves were led defensively by Chuck Chandler with six tackles. Brayden McNeary had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Noah MacPherson notched five tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a sack.
Jalin Scott, 14-of-41, 174 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rod Stewart, 4 catches, 75 yards
Jacob Zwieg, 3 catches, 38 yards
Will Cole, 12 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 1 reception, 11 yards
Austin Steele, 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack
Joe Warner, 6 tackles, 2 TFL
Hunter Trautman, 12-of-21, 172 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Gerald Maxwell, 13 carries, 80 yards
Dakota Larson, 6 carries, 67 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions, 41 yards
Zech Culbreath, 5 receptions, 40 yards
Chuck Chandler, 6 tackles
Brayden McNeary, 6 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 Sack
Noah MacPherson, 5 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 sack
T.J. Roberts, 1 INT
Northern State started the scoring with 8:49 left in the first quarter after T.J. Roberts picked off Jalin Scott’s pass. The Wolves went in to score five plays later as Trautman found Spencer Johnson for the seven-yard touchdown strike to move the lead to 7-0.
The Wolves added to their advantage later in the quarter when Larson ran in from 15 yards out to push the score to 14-0.
Minnesota Crookston sustained an 11-play drive the next time out, aided by a pair of pass interference penalties. However, Jared McLemore (Fr., K, Lucas, Texas) would have a 48-yard attempt blocked by Landon Hoellein as the score remained at 14-0.
Northern State moved the ball down to the Minnesota Crookston six in the second quarter ignited by a Zech Culbreath 18-yard punt return to the Minnesota Crookston 20. However, the defense made a stand led by a Steele sack as they pushed the Wolves back to the 17. Jacob Wiedrich would hit a 33-yard field goal as Northern State did not come up empty as they extended the lead to 17-0.
The Wolves again moved it deep into Golden Eagle territory led by a 39-yard completion from Trautman to Colton Drageset down to the Minnesota Crookston five. However, Trautman threw three incompletions as the Golden Eagles forced another Wiedrich field goal, this time from 22 yards out.
Minnesota Crookston looked to respond led by a 42-yard kickoff return by 2017 Don Hansen All-America Honorable Mention return specialist Stewart, who set the Golden Eagles up at the Golden Eagle 43-yard line.
The Golden Eagles got the ball down to the Northern State 31. However, they pushed Minnesota Crookston back nine yards and forced the punt.
Northern State went into the locker room with the 20-0 advantage.
The Golden Eagles started the second half on a great note as Stephen Day (R-Sr., K/P, Eveleth, Minn.) executed the fake punt by finding Cole for 11 yards and a first down. Minnesota Crookston would find their way down to the Northern State 31, but they again came up empty on the drive.
However, the defense kept the Golden Eagles kept Minnesota Crookston in the game as they held Northern State scoreless in the third quarter.
The Wolves would have a chance at points early in the fourth frame as they drove the ball down to the Minnesota Crookston 18. However, the defense held again as Skyler Quinn (R-So., DL, Evansville, Minn.) blocked Wiedrich’s 35-yard attempt to keep the score at 20-0.
The Golden Eagles moved the ball down to the Northern State 36 on the ensuing drive propelled by a 45-yard completion from Scott to Stewart. However, a failed fourth down attempt would fall incomplete as the score remained at 20-0.
The Golden Eagles looked to respond as Cole came up with a crucial interception for the Minnesota Crookston defense.
Minnesota Crookston moved the ball to their own 39 as Scott found Zwieg for 22 yards out. However, they would be pushed back and forced to punt.
Northern State sealed the game with one final score as Trautman connected with Boston Bauer on a 34-yard touchdown strike to extend the lead to 27-0.
Cole had his second interception late in the game, but it would come too late as the Wolves would hang on for the 27-0 win in Aberdeen, S.D.
Minnesota Crookston will wrap up the 2018 slate as they take on University of Mary on Senior Day Sat., Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. at Ed Widseth Field.