Ivey, Anderson are receivers to watch
Opposing defenses have learned they have to keep at least one eye on Chase Andersen.
In the last two games, the Dickinson State junior wide receiver recorded 149 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. He has appeared in all four games this season, the same amount he played throughout the entire 2016 campaign, and has already accrued more receiving yards and touchdowns than he did last season.
Andersen's hard work earned him a starting spot, and the Casper, Wyo., native isn't stopping his forward progression any time soon.
"(I'm) really working hard at the little things that Coach (Nick) Walker has been talking about," Andersen said. "Blocking is one thing I'm still trying to do my best at. That's really what I've been focusing on the most and then just being fast and adding reps."
When Andersen arrived at Dickinson State, head coach Pete Stanton threw him right into the game rather than having him redshirt a year like a majority of freshmen. At 6 feet tall, he was still one of the taller wide receivers on the squad, but as many freshmen athletes do, he lacked strength and self-assurance.
"Now I think he's got that confidence," Stanton said. "He's very fast and very athletic and now it's sort of all come together for him this year. He's not only getting a good feel for the game and what we're doing, but he has that ability to go by people. The big thing is he's catching the ball with guys on him and in traffic and that's been big for us this year."
That skill was exhibited Saturday in the Blue Hawk's 40-17 win over Presentation College (S.D.). Just four minutes past halftime, Andersen caught a 20-yard pass from quarterback Hayden Gibson while under pressure in the end zone, extending their lead to 30-10.
Next to Andersen, is Randy Ivey.
The 5-foot-11 transfer from Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif., has a reception in every matchup this year and had his best showing against the Saints with four receptions for 41 yards. The junior now has 119 receiving yards on the season, good for the fourth-most among Blue Hawk receivers.
"We knew he was a good player and has a lot of talent," Stanton said. "He's a good blocker. He holds for us on some of the kickoff things. He's just a strong guy. He's deceptively fast. He does a really good job of baiting the defensive back on his back."
While Andersen was familiar with how Dickinson State went about its passing game, Ivey had to learn quickly.
"It's kind of the same concepts and routes," Ivey said of the transition. "It's just getting the timing back with the quarterback."
Ivey and Gibson have gotten acquainted since Ivey joined the team before camp, and their communication and chemistry has improved.
"It's gotten better," Ivey said. "We talk more after every drive. Me and Chase tell him what we're seeing, what he sees, and go from there getting adjustments."
Stanton said the receivers were able to perform so well against Presentation because the rest of the offense did its job.
"I think it was balance," Stanton said. "We were able to run the ball better. Because we ran the ball better it opened up some things for us on the passing game and those guys took advantage of it."