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Eight straight: DSU clinches NSAA championship with room to spare

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Dickinson State are NSAA champions for their eighth consecutive season.
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press
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MAYVILLE, N.D. — Dickinson State University remained untouchable in the North Star Athletic Association Conference, remaining undefeated over the previous 26 conference games — stretching back to their 2020-21 campaign. With one more game to play in the regular season, they have already been named champions.

The Blue Hawks (5-0, 7-2) picked up the crown in Mayville, defeating the Comets ( 0-5, 3-7) by a whopping 58-7 margin.

Things would go from bad to worse for Mayville State University, who struggled to move the ball against Dickinson’s strong defensive crew, who had five sacks and an interception. DSU started with 37 points in the first half and kept on the gas in the second, scoring in each quarter with an impressive 492 offensive yards.

After a quick Mayville three-and-out, the Blue Hawks would score on the first play of their first drive, with running back Braden Zuroff bringing in the touchdown from center field.

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DSU's defensive line. Krew Mathern (94), JaQuawhann Booth (99) and Matt Anderson (75).
Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press

Senior defensive lineman, Krew Mathern, collected two sacks in the Comet’s first two drives, both on third down situations — forcing punts. A bad snap on the second punt resulted in a safety for Dickinson State to take a 9-0 lead.

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DSU’s offense would give the Comets' excellent field position after a pass play resulted in a fumble. Mayville took advantage on a second down, with a 20-yard passing touchdown.

After Dickinson State's offense rectified the turnover with a 22-yard pass from Aaron White to Kaden Kuntz , they would continue to find success in the air.

They scored two touchdown passes in the first five minutes of the second quarter; first from Bridger Grovom to Conor McCarvel for three yards, then White to Isaiah Kludt from 55 yards out.

In the game, White went 13-16 for 180 yards. Grovom was 3-for-4 with 27 yards.

The last touchdown in the first half came from freshman Darion Brown rushing for 51 yards on the second play of the drive.

Receiving halftime kickoff, DSU’s Zuroff would carry the ball five times on a nine-play scoring drive, before carrying it into the endzone from the three yard line.

Dickinson native Mathern made another clutch defensive play, picking an interception that immediately resulted with a one-play scoring drive with a 10 yard rush by Brown. Brown had 10 carries for 92 yards.

In the fourth quarter, the Blue Hawks went to the bench with Carson Hunter getting his chance under center. Hunter went 1-3 in the air and 5-34 on the ground. Sophomore Braedy Santens cemented the victory with a six-yard touchdown run on Dickinson State's final drive of the game.

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Now the Blue Hawks will be flying high into their final game of the season against Presentation College (2-3, 3-7), winning their spot in the NAIA National Championship — which slated to begin round one on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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