After defeating Dakota State University in week five, undefeated Dickinson State will begin its descent into the closing weeks of the regular season with a road game against Mayville State. Despite earning a 51-26 victory over the Comets in week two, things can play out much differently the second time, as shown in week five.
The Blue Hawks (5-0) will put their undefeated record on the line against the Comets’ (0-3), who are still trying to earn its first win of the season. Despite postponing weeks three and four due to COVID-19 precautions, Mayville State recently returned to the field in its 55-21 loss to Waldorf, but looks to redeem itself against the mighty Blue Hawks.
“You can’t go the same (gameplan) against the same team three or four weeks later and think everything is going to be the same on both sides of the ball,” Blue Hawks’ head coach Pete Stanton said. “We have to give them looks on both sides of the ball and particularly do what we do and establish the line of scrimmage and be balanced while keeping them off balance.”
In their previous meeting, Mayville State kept the game close throughout, reaching the red zone five times and scoring on four. At halftime, the Blue Hawks held a 23-19 lead.
Mayville State went into the fourth quarter trailing 37-26 before Dickinson State to hit the end zone two more times. The game ended with Dickinson State earning a 51-26 victory. Despite the seemingly overwhelming win total, the Blue Hawks may have their hands full against a team driven to get a win on its homecoming weekend.
“We have to do a better job all the way around and give them different looks this game and get off the field on defense,” Stanton said.
For the Blue Hawks’ defense, the group is coming into the game with much-needed confidence after its stellar performance against Dakota State but will need to continue its surge against quarterback Comets’ senior quarterback Creighton Pfau and his core of strong receivers.
Currently, Pfau leads the NSAA in total offense with 863 total passing yards and seven touchdown passes. The quarterback is also one of the best scramblers in the conference with 64 total rushing yards and has personally found the end zone four times this season.
Against the Blue Hawks, Pfau went 23-47 passing for a total of 257-yards and recorded two touchdown passes. The quarterback ran the ball eight times for 58-yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.
The defense will also be looking to stop the Comets’ receivers, primarily first-years Elijah Roundtree and Maalik Flowers. Flowers caught seven receptions against the Blue Hawks for 76 yards, Roundtree caught three for 26 yards and recorded a touchdown. Dickinson State will also be looking to stop junior Jaquante Pitts who caught six balls against the Blue Hawks for 76 yards and had one touchdown.
“We definitely have to try to limit them, we know that they’re fast and they’re athletic, it’s the best receiving group that we’ll see and try to limit them and the amount of rips that they can get,” Stanton said. “I know they are going to get some yards but we got to tackle better.”
Offensively, the Blue Hawks had a strong game against the Comets in their first meeting. Quarterback Drew Boedecker will lead the team offensively, ending the first game with 243 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Boedecker also scrambled seven times for 63 yards. Senior receivers Jarrett Lee and Tyger Frye, the leading receivers in the NSAA, both had six receptions against Mayville State. Lee ended with 154-yards and two touchdowns, Frye with 74 yards and a touchdown.
As for the running game, Stanton hopes for more productivity from sophomore Riley Linder, currently the second-best runner in the NSAA, and senior Derek Tabor. Despite having a slower game against the Trojans a week prior in which the two combined for 75 yards on 25 attempts, the duo combined for 137 total rushing yards against the Comets in week two and both found the end zone once.
Stanton believes the run game will be the key to a Blue Hawks victory in week six.
“We have to be able to run the football better than we did the last game and if we run the ball better than we did the last game I think our RPO and getting the ball to the receivers is going to be better too as well.,” he said. “We got to be better this week than we were last week and that’s going to be key.”
Round two of Blue Hawks vs. Comets is set to take place on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 1 p.m. MST.