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Dickinson State welcomes Mayville State to BAC for second matchup this season

It's the first time this season DSU will face an opponent they have seen earlier in the year.

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(Race Archibald / The Dickinson Press)

Fresh off a big win over Valley City State last week on the road, the Blue Hawks return home this Saturday for a matchup against Mayville State, who they faced earlier this season.

GAME INFO

Saturday, Oct. 30 - Mayville State Comets (1-5, 1-8) @ Dickinson State Blue Hawks (5-0, 5-2), Henry Biesiot Activities Center, Dickinson, ND, 1:00 p.m. MST.

LAST TIME OUT

DSU faced their toughest test of the season and passed with flying colors. They were held to their lowest point total of the season, but held the Vikings to single digits in the 14-7 win. The offense was stale in the first half, with quarterback Drew Boedecker throwing three interceptions.

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Neither side could generate much on offense, but VCSU were able to score right before halftime from a five-yard run by running back Justice Bice to give the Vikings a 7-0 lead.

Despite the offense faltering early, the Blue Hawks’ defense kept the game close, led by defensive lineman Krew Mathern, who registered 13 tackles with four tackles for a loss and two sacks. His performance not only earned him player of the week honors in the conference, but in the NAIA.

DSU scored towards the end of the third quarter from a four-yard run by running back Riley Linder, his sixth touchdown of the year.

Later in the fourth quarter, Boedecker led the offense to the goal line and scored himself on a one-yard QB sneak to give the Blue Hawks a 14-7 lead.

Wide receiver Kaden Kuntz finished with just two catches, but they combined for 92 yards, with both catches coming on the scoring drives. His 43-yard gain on the first scoring drive was aided by a free play as the defense jumped offsides and allowed Boedecker to take a shot deep. On the other scoring drive, his catch went for 49 yards and helped the Blue Hawks cross midfield.

VCSU would have one more good chance to tie the game, driving inside the red zone with under five minutes to play, but the defense held strong and stopped the Vikings on fourth down.

On their final drive of the game, the Blue Hawks didn’t allow a single yard and forced VCSU’s offense off the field in four plays as they walked away with the victory.

The win propelled DSU to a 5-0 record in conference play and extended their winning streak in the conference to 16, dating back to 2019. It also got the Blue Hawks back into the NAIA Top 25 for the first time since the preseason poll. They sit at No. 24.

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VCSU came into the game ranked 23 and fell out of the rankings.

THIS WEEKS OPPONENT

It will be the second time the Blue Hawks will see the Comets, having defeated them 51-13 back on Sept. 18, which was their first win of the season. Now DSU will invite Mayville State to Dickinson as the Blue Hawks continue their surge in conference play.

The last matchup went south quickly for Mayville State, falling behind 37-6 at halftime. Their lone score came from their main big play threat, freshman wide receiver Javeion Davison, on a 54-yard touchdown.

Since their last meeting, the Comets have gone 1-4, all conference games, with a win over Presentation College.

Davison has continued to be a threat all season long, posting 804 yards and eight touchdowns at 23 yards per reception, second-best in the NAIA. He averages 23 yards per reception.

Their other freshman wide receiver, Maalik Flowers, has been impressive as well, totalling 538 yards on 39 catches and six touchdowns.

The offense still relies on the pass more than the run, usually because they find themselves trailing in most games. Freshman quarterback Tim Salmon has been reliable all season with 1,902 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

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Their run game has been almost non-existent, with their leading rusher, freshman running back Mason Ollman, accumulating just 216 yards. They average 80 yards on the ground per game.

But despite their shortcomings, the Comets have shown they can compete, as proven by their game against Waldorf, who sit at 4-1 in conference play, on Oct. 9. It was a narrow 52-51 loss as Mayville State desperately tried to cause the upset.

After scoring a touchdown with 12 seconds left, instead of tying the game with an extra point, they decided to go for two to take a 53-52 lead. But the attempt fell short and they walked away empty-handed. Nonetheless, their aggressive and nothing-to-lose mindset will have them thinking upset again on Saturday.

Where they struggle on defense is in the run prevention unit, allowing 220 yards per game. DSU ran for 248 yards, a season-high, in their last meeting. Sophomore running back Braden Zuroff led the way with 126 yards on 13 carries.

SERIES HISTORY

The Comets haven’t beaten DSU since 2011. The win on Sept. 18 made it 12 wins in a row for the Blue Hawks in the series to improve their record to 15-1. They’ve scored at least 40 points in 11 of the last 12 meetings.

FROM DSU HEAD COACH PETE STANTON

On slowing down Mayville State's WRs - “They have two of the best receivers in the conference...the biggest thing you have to do is try to get after them up front and not give them as long of a throw to those guys. They’re as good as they come."

On the challenges of facing an opponent twice - “It’s always hard. We tell our guys the last game is what it was. You can’t look back...it’s going to be different this time. You have to go into that mindset that you can never look back at a score whether you won or lost, you just have to look ahead.”

On the potential last home game of the season - “We definitely want to finish up the year great at home. Have a good game for our 14 seniors...guys that have won conference championships every year they have been here.”

KEYS TO THE GAME

Stopping (or at least slowing down) Davison - The Blue Hawks saw how dangerous Davison can be in their first matchup, when he reeled in a 54-yard touchdown. But outside of that, he had only two other catches for seven yards. It won’t be easy, but slowing him down could severely impact the Comets’ offense, one that relies heavily on the passing game.

Play to strengths - There’s no shame in having a down offensive performance against VCSU last week, especially given how tough their defense is and considering they won the game. But this week’s matchup presents an opportunity for the Blue Hawks to do what they do best, jump out to an early lead led by the passing game. Boedecker had 286 yards passing and four touchdowns in the last meeting, something he'll look to replicate this Saturday.

Home finale - Barring a home playoff game, this will be the final contest at the Henry Biesiot Activities Center this season. DSU has lost just two home games in the last five seasons, which includes a game earlier this year to Montana-Western. The Blue Hawks will want to end their home schedule with a bang and give the DSU faithful one last show before the season draws to a close.

Related Topics: FOOTBALLNSAA
Race Archibald is a former sports reporter with The Dickinson Press.
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