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Blue Hawks stop Vikings

Dickinson State chipped away for nearly a half before it finally got Valley City State to come tumbling down Saturday afternoon at the Badlands Activities Center.

Jerel Hafner
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State sophomore outside linebacker Jerel Hafner, right, attempts to bat down a pass by Valley City State junior quarterback Trent Kosel during Saturday's Dakota Athletic Conference football game at the Badlands Activities Center. DSU's defense allowed just 205 yards in the 28-3 victory.

Dickinson State chipped away for nearly a half before it finally got Valley City State to come tumbling down Saturday afternoon at the Badlands Activities Center.

The Blue Hawk defense never wavered and the offense did much of its damage on big plays.

DSU allowed VCSU 201 total yards and junior quarterback Cody Holland threw two touchdown passes and ran for another late in the fourth quarter to seal the Blue Hawks' 27-3 Dakota Athletic Conference victory over the Vikings.

"Everybody just showed up to play and had a great day," DSU junior defensive lineman Jamie Walker said.

DSU had 295 total yards of offense, with about 60 percent of that coming on four big plays.

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While the Blue Hawks were able to sustain some drives in the second half, it took them nearly the entire first half -- and the possibility of heading into halftime scoreless -- for their offense to catch up to the defense in terms of production.

The offensive wheels began to turn for DSU only after VCSU capped a 16-play, 68-yard drive -- its best series of the game -- with Marineo Toslluku's 26-yard field goal with 2:47 left in the second quarter.

Blaine Berg gave DSU the lead after he made a spectacular one-handed grab over the middle -- the senior receiver tipped the ball back to himself -- and then shook off a VCSU defender before sprinting to the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown reception with 1:27 left in the second quarter, giving DSU a 7-3 halftime advantage.

"A one-handed catch, that just happens," Berg said. "The wind took the ball at the end of the play. It's just the desperation really. There's no skill about it. It's all desperation there."

Holland said the touchdown did wonders for DSU's offense, which had totaled just 47 yards prior to the touchdown.

"We got a good tempo, good momentum and kept things rolling from there," Holland said.

On DSU's second series of the third quarter, Holland hit Berg and junior tight end Derek Pauley on back-to-back downfield passes -- Berg's was a 15-yarder down the VCSU sideline while Pauley's was a 30-yarder over the middle -- before Holland hit Pauley for a 7-yard touchdown pass in the far corner of the end zone with 4:27 left in the third quarter.

Senior running back James Macey was the next to come up with a big play.

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On DSU's first possession of the fourth quarter, Macey found room down the left side and the turned up field for a 40-yard run to the VCSU 6-yard line. After failing to punch it in the end zone three times, Macey got the call on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line and bulled his way in to make it 21-3.

Macey had 81 yards rushing on 19 carries.

"They answered the bell in the second half and we didn't offensively," VCSU coach Dennis McCulloch said.

Holland and DSU's defense added some exclamation points late in the fourth quarter.

Sacks by Walker and Bodie Tobin, along with a big pass breakup on fourth-and-27 with 6:12 remaining, set up Holland's 54-yard game-sealing touchdown scamper.

Three plays after his defense forced the turnover on downs, Holland escaped pressure on a scramble and raced untouched for the game's final touchdown.

"Right there I was just trying to get the first down, keep the clock rolling and keep the ball moving," said Holland, who went 6 of 14 for 120 yards passing and carried the ball five times for 61 yards.

The win was the second in a row for DSU (2-2 overall, 2-2 DAC) and kept VCSU winless on the season at 0-4 overall and 0-2 in the DAC.

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"We stepped it up. Had to have that," DSU coach Hank Biesiot said.

VCSU quarterback Trent Kosel threw for just 94 yards and completed 17 of 29 passes.

Limiting the Vikings through the air was a big statement for the Blue Hawks, who had been giving up an average of 310 passing yards a game.

"We probably got to more balls in the air today than we have all year total," Biesiot said. "We were after a lot of them. It was great to see. I thought we had excellent coverage and a lot of times, that comes with pressure too."

DSU senior linebacker Mike Keyser sat out the third quarter with an ankle injury and still led the team with seven tackles. Walker had two sacks and six total tackles. The Blue Hawks sacked Kosel five times.

Walker said once DSU's offense was able to sustain some drives and avoid three-and-out possessions, things became easier for the defense.

"It was big, the offense showing up today," Walker said. "Man, they really got their wheels moving and they're pretty hard to stop once they get going. That made a big difference on D. It keeps legs fresh."

While its offense found rhythm, DSU suffered another blow to its offensive line early in the first quarter when junior left tackle Aaron Cook left the game a knee injury.

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While the extent of Cook's injury was unknown following the game, Cook said trainers had told him that he sustained severe ligament damage in his right knee.

"It doesn't sound good," Biesiot said. "That's costly because he's one of our most experienced. He and (senior) Jordan O'Donnell are our only guys with real experience on the line and not only that, he's been playing well."

VCSU 0 3 0 0 -- 3

DSU 0 7 7 14 -- 28

First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

VCSU-Marineo Toslluku 26 FG, 2:47.

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DSU-Blaine Berg 56 pass from Cody Holland (Cole Zamira kick), 1:27.

Third quarter

DSU-Derek Pauley 7 pass from Holland (Zamira kick), 4:27.

Fourth quarter

DSU-Macey 1 run (Zamira kick), 9:46.

DSU-Holland 54 run (kick failed), 4:29.

TEAM STATISTICS VCSU DSU

First downs 14 10

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Rushes-yards 40-107 40-165

Passing yards 84 120

Total yards 207 285

Comp.-Att.-Int. 17-29-0 6-14-0

Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 6-30 4-50

Punts-Avg. 9-34.2 9-49

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: VCSU, A.J. Pfeifer 14-34, Jordan Backstrom 8-25, Michael McAtee 3-19, Derek Elliott 3-18, Trent Kosel 10-11, J.D. McDougall 1-0. DSU, Macey 19-81, Zach Hepperle 11-26, Cody Holland 5-61, Jeremy Herr 3(-1), Rashad Williams 1-(-2).

PASSING: VCSU, Kosel 17-29-0 94. DSU, Holland 6-14-0 120.

RECEIVING: VCSU, Pfeifer 8-31, Elliott 3-9, Matt Crane 2-32, LeTheo Proctor 2-26, Backstrom 2-(-4). DSU, Berg 2-69, Paul 2-39, Clint Grosz 1-11, Tanner Leak 1-1.

Derek Pauley
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State junior tight end Derek Pauley holds onto a 30-yard pass from quarterback Cody Holland during Saturday's game against Valley City State.

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