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Herr chairing DSU's run committee

Jeremy Herr always wanted to be a team leader on the field. Finally, during his senior season, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back from Wishek got that opportunity -- and he has ran with it. "It's been my goal throughout my entire career, to be ...

Dickinson State senior running back Jeremy Herr
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State senior running back Jeremy Herr, left, avoids Jamestown College defenders during last Saturday's game at the Badlands Activities Center. Herr has stepped up as the leader of DSU's committee-style run game.

Jeremy Herr always wanted to be a team leader on the field.

Finally, during his senior season, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound running back from Wishek got that opportunity -- and he has ran with it.

"It's been my goal throughout my entire career, to be a main starter," Herr said.

Herr won the Dickinson State football team's starting tailback spot in fall practices while sharing ball-carrying duties with three underclassmen. It didn't take the veteran long to become the chairman of the team's rushing committee either.

Herr showed he was worthy of the starting nod when he rushed for 78 yards and caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cody Holland that gave the Blue Hawks the lead for good in their season-opening victory over Rocky Mountain College.

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He earned player of the game honors that night.

"It's nice to see a senior do that," DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said.

In four games so far this season, Herr has been the first tailback on the field for the 10th-ranked Blue Hawks. He leads the team with 265 yards rushing on 69 carries, but hasn't scored a touchdown despite catching a pair of TD passes.

Sophomore Rashad Williams and freshman Brennan Haughian -- who has all three of DSU's rushing touchdowns -- see the next most playing time but don't have half as many carries or yards as Herr, who said he is using his final season to not only perform big on the field but also to show the underclassmen how DSU's system operates.

"You want to kind of be a leader out there and show them little tricks of the game that will help them out, that will give them a slight advantage, so they can keep holding the tradition over the years," Herr said.

Biesiot said if he needs somebody to be an example of what to do on the field, he turns to Herr.

"Everybody on the team has confidence that he's going to go to the right spot and that he's going to give it his best effort, and that's worth a lot," Biesiot said. "It sounds simple, but that's worth a lot to his teammates and coaches."

That performance has come with years of study.

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After a strong sophomore season in which he rushed for 282 yards and a touchdown on 71 carries, Herr barely got a sniff as a junior behind James Macey and Zach Hepperle. He had just nine carries for 11 yards last season.

It lends to the profile that Herr is building as a classic underdog.

He's short, scrappy and fights for every yard -- all while taking a beating from opposing defenses.

So far this season he has endured turf toe on his right foot and a sprained left ankle, which have caused him to miss countless practices the past three weeks. His first full practice this week was on Thursday.

"They're basically the ones (injuries) where it seems like you're running just fine once and a while and it'll give you a little kick and it'll hurt for a couple plays, then it will go away and all of a sudden, it'll aggravate it again," Herr said.

Those pains won't stop him from playing at Valley City State today, however. It'll be the closest game to his hometown the Blue Hawks will play this season and it presents another opportunity for Herr to show he has made the successful leap to college at a position where many small-town players tend to flame out.

Herr said he's not about to do that at this point in his career though.

"I feel like I've been physically strong enough to be able to hold the position," Herr said. "I think, mentally, I'm strong enough to handle the position."

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Biesiot doesn't view VCSU as a 'trap game'

Today is Valley City State's homecoming.

Today will be the first game DSU has played on the road and on a natural grass surface this season.

The team leaves the friendly confines of the Badlands Activities Center, where the 10th-ranked Blue Hawks have compiled a 4-0 record this season, for the first time this season and plays in its first regular-season road game since beating Dakota State in Madison, S.D., last year on Oct. 24.

"Sometimes you go on the road for the first time, even though you've got some seniors you wonder," Biesiot said. "Sometimes it's like the first game of the year again."

Valley City State, despite being a lackluster offensive team, is no slouch. And Biesiot knows how tough the Vikings can been when their at Lokken Field.

The Vikings opened the season with a 44-0 win at home against Trinity Bible College. Two weeks later, they fell to No. 23-ranked South Dakota Mines, 24-21.

However, bookending the Mines game is a 42-0 loss at Concordia College and a 34-3 loss at Minot State.

Biesiot said he just hopes the Blue Hawks, the overwhelming favorite, can avoid a letdown today.

"I don't think it's a trap game," Biesiot said. "It's a game that's interesting."

Defense continues to do it for the Blue Hawks

It has been four games and DSU's defense is doing a good job of living up to its preseason billing as the backbone of the team.

Biesiot said the Blue Hawks' back-to-back goal line stands to hold off Jamestown College in last Saturday's 26-16 win was proof that the team's defense is standing tall this season.

"It doesn't make any difference if you're at midfield or our 2-yard-line, they're going to play with the same charge," Biesiot said.

The Blue Hawks are averaging a DAC-best 17 points allowed per game and are giving up 305 yards a game, which ranks second in the conference.

Today, they face a Valley City State team that ranks in the bottom half of the DAC in most offensive categories.

Last week, the Blue Hawks held Jamestown's juggernaut passing offense, which ranked third in the NAIA coming into the game, to a season-low 246 yards between two quarterbacks -- and most of those yards came on an 87-yard touchdown pass and two hurry-up drives that DSU shut down deep inside the red zone.

Biesiot isn't about to pat this defense on the pack, however.

"I think we can play better," Biesiot said. "There's no doubt I think we can play better."

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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