DSU’s solid defense meets Mines’ explosive offenseIt’s a tale of two completely different football teams.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
It’s a tale of two completely different football teams.
Dickinson State has made its hay defensively this season. South Dakota Mines has put up points, as DSU coach Hank Biesiot says, in bunches.
So, which side of the ball will win out when the teams meet this afternoon at the Badlands Activities Center?
That, Biesiot said, is a tricky question.
“We’re playing well on defense, but it’s particularly worrisome because we don’t score in bunches or hurries and it’s something they do,” Biesiot said. “It’s a team you don’t want to get down to right away. You want to make them earn their scores.”
Mines is averaging a Dakota Athletic Conference-best 33.6 points per game.
DSU is giving up a conference-best 14.6 points per game, a number that drops to 4.75 points if only DAC teams are included.
“This will be a big challenge for the offense because they are such a good defensive team right now,” Mines coach Dan Kratzer said.
The 24th-ranked Blue Hawks allowed 66 combined points in their first two games this season — nonconference losses to Rocky Mountain College and NCAA Division III No. 2-ranked Wisconsin-Whitewater — but have allowed just 19 against DAC opponents.
Black Hills State entered last Saturday’s game against the Blue Hawks averaging 39 points a game against conference opponents. DSU made a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to beat BHSU 13-9 on its home turf.
The Blue Hawks have consistently shut down opponents in fourth-down situations and lead the DAC in sacks.
The Hardrockers’ offense, which averages 366 yards per game, is helmed by sophomore quarterback Nick Russell and sophomore tailback Jamie Dale, who leads the DAC with 108 yards rushing per game.
“They’ve got some firepower,” Biesiot said. “The Dale kid is maybe as explosive of a running back as there is in the league.”
The Hardrockers are coming off back-to-back losses after winning their first three games of the year. They lost a tough one to Minot State, 31-21, last Saturday in a game that was tied 21-21 at halftime.
Biesiot knows that if the Blue Hawks want to beat the Hardrockers today, his team must get rolling offensively quicker and control the ball even better than they typically do.
“We’re not a big-play team,” Biesiot said. “We’ve got look at holding onto the ball, taking care of the ball and trying to maintain the field position. That’s a difficult thing against the type of team we’re playing.”
Barth having another strong season for Hardrockers
The transition from high school quarterback to college fullback has come easier than Tyler Barth believed it would. That’s because Barth is doing more than just plowing the road for his tailback.
“I’ve pretty much just found a good fit here,” said Barth, a Hardrockers redshirt sophomore and a 2007 Dickinson Trinity High School graduate.
“I’m definitely not your typical fullback. I do line up and lead block, but coach has a pretty good game plan to use my abilities on the field.”
The starting quarterback on Trinity’s 2006 team that lost to Watford City in the Class AA state championship game, Barth is now one of his quarterback’s most trusted receivers.
He is fourth in the DAC in receptions with 30 (six per game) and has 234 yards receiving and a touchdown this season. Mines junior receiver Tony Ostheimer leads the conference with 36 receptions for 452 yards.
Kratzer said Barth’s play has been vital to Mines’ offensive improvement.
“He plays a big role in our passing game,” said Kratzer, who added Barth also lines up as a slotback or receiver in the team’s offensive sets.
DSU plans to start a different combination of players at offensive line again today. The team hasn’t had the same starting five on the line in two games this season. Yet, the group still leads the DAC in sacks allowed with just five on the season. … Mines is second in the DAC in rushing defense, allowing just 95 yards per game. … Hardrockers kicker Andy Smith is 17 of 17 on extra-point attempts, 7 of 9 on field-goal attempts and leads the conference in scoring with 38 points. … Instead of staying in Dickinson on Friday night, the Hardrockers spent the night in Medora.