Under construction

There is still work to do at the Badlands Activities Center. The same can be said for the new stadium's primary occupants. For the second straight Saturday, the Dickinson State football team let its opponent dominate a game through the air while ...

James Macey
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State senior running back James Macey, middle, is gang tackled by Wisconsin-Whitewater's Jeremy Deibert, bottom right, Zach Christopherson, far left, and Lane Olson during Saturday afternoon's home opener at the Badlands Activities Center. The Blue Hawks had just 109 total yards and gave up 509 yards in the 38-3 loss.

There is still work to do at the Badlands Activities Center. The same can be said for the new stadium's primary occupants.

For the second straight Saturday, the Dickinson State football team let its opponent dominate a game through the air while it failed to move the ball offensively.

Wisconsin-Whitewater, the No. 2-ranked team in NCAA Division III, helped the Blue Hawks christen the new artificial turf of Fisher Field at the BAC with an overwhelming offensive effort led by senior quarterback Jeff Donovan.

After DSU held Whitewater scoreless in the first quarter and the Warhawks learned their opponent had the defensive tools to slow down its normally potent rushing attack, they turned to Donovan, who let 'er rip and threw for 349 yards -- 217 of which came in the first half -- and two touchdowns to guide Whitewater to a 38-3 victory in its season opener.

"It's a long trip," Donovan said. "You have to shake a little bit of the rust off."


DSU's offense didn't do its defense any favors either.

Whitewater outgained DSU by 400 yards, 509 to 109, and the Blue Hawks had just eight first downs -- three of which came on Whitewater penalties -- and failed to do anything through the air, going just 6 of 19 for 35 yards with three quarterbacks.

DSU has now started the past four seasons with at least two consecutive losses.

"We're not sustaining," DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said. "We're not making any mini-drives and we're not making any big plays on offense and we're giving up big plays on defense. That's a bad formula right now."

After a scoreless first quarter, Donovan hooked up with a wide-open Jordan Wells for a 26-yard touchdown on a post route that capped a seven-play, 79-yard drive that took just 2 minutes, 15 seconds and gave Whitewater a 10-0 advantage.

"That's the way Jeff's got to play for us," Whitewater coach Lance Leipold said. "... He's got a good grasp, as you see. He played like a senior and he did some good things that we had to do to open it up for that balance."

DSU had one of its best drives of the day on the ensuing series, getting to the Whitewater 47-yard line -- the only time it crossed the 50-yard line in the first half -- before punting.

The Warhawks wasted no time getting another touchdown on the scoreboard before halftime. Donovan found Cory Robinson for a 62-yard stretch pass down the middle and two plays later, Levell Coopage dove in from 1-yard out to help give Whitewater a 17-0 halftime lead.


"We were feeling pretty confident going into the second half," DSU junior nose guard Jamie Walker said. "We're still confident. I wouldn't be scared to go out and play them next week. We've just got to take away from the big plays and get squared around."

DSU, the 15th-ranked team in the NAIA, kept Whitewater from scoring in the third quarter, but had just one first down of its own and never crossed the 50 on three quick series.

Two plays into the fourth quarter, Donovan found receiver Aaron Rusch wide open in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass. It was the last time in the game the duo hooked up. But Rusch had already done his damage. The 5-foot-10 junior caught eight passes for 123 yards.

The Warhawks added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter and kept the ball mostly on the ground after Rusch put them ahead 24-0.

Jake Taylor had a 1-yard TD run a 10-play, 53-yard drive that could have been over in one play had receiver Terrence Fitch not dropped a 53-yard pass from Donovan in the end zone.

On Whitewater's next series, backup quarterback Matt Blanchard guided his team 43 yards and scored on a seven-yard bootleg to make it 38-0.

DSU avoided its first shutout since 1989 when an offensive unit -- comprised of a mix of first- and second-stringers and playing against Whitewater's backups -- marched 60 yards, assisted by two Whitewater penalties totaling 20 yards, to set up a 28-yard field goal for kicker Cole Zamira with 27 seconds remaining.

It was only the second time in the game that DSU made it into Whitewater territory.


The rushing game was a small bright spot for the Blue Hawks, even though no back had many yards. James Macey had a team-high 45 yards on 12 carries and DSU gained 74 yards on 35 carries.

The Blue Hawks have a bye this week and open the Dakota Athletic Conference season at Jamestown College on Sept. 19.

Biesiot said he saw improvement in his team overall.

"We did some things better and maybe didn't do some as well," he said. "We did show improvements in some areas. That isn't real obvious."

But, the coach added that the Blue Hawks have a lot to work to do before its next game.

"We've got to go back to the (drawing) board, that's for sure," Biesiot said.

UWW 0 17 0 21 -- 38

DSU 0 0 0 3 -- 3


UWW-Jeff Schebler 23 FG

UWW-Jordan Wells 26 pass from Jeff Donovan (Schebler kick)

UWW-Levell Coopage 1 run (Schebler kick)

UWW-Aaron Rusch 26 pass from Donovan (Schebler kick)

UWW-Jake Taylor 1 run (Schebler kick)

UWW-Matt Blanchard 7 run (Schebler kick)

DSU-Cole Zamira 28 FG



First downs 26 8

Rushes-yards 37-151 33-74

Passing yards 358 35

Comp.-Att.-Int. 24-33-0 6-19-1

Total yards 509 109

Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0

Penalties-yards 2-15 13-130

Punts-Avg. 10-43 5-41



RUSHING: UWW, Antwan Anderson 16-80, Matt Blanchard 5-33, Levell Coppage 7-19, LaVell Hewlett 3-13, C.J. Miller 2-11, Jake Taylor 1-1, Jake Kuster 1-0, Jeff Donovan 2-(-6). DSU, James Macey 12-45, Rashad Williams 6-25, Zach Hepperle 6-22, Reed Lambert 2-5, Tyler Grosz 1-3, Dave Velasquez 1-0, Michael Cooper 1-(-10), Cody Holland 3-(16).

PASSING: UWW, Donovan 23-32-0 349, Blanchard 1-1-0 9. DSU, Holland 5-15-1 32, Cooper 0-1-0 0, Velasquez 1-3-0 3.

RECEIVING: UWW, Aaron Rusch 8-123, Cory Robinson 2-66, Adam Brandes 5-61, Jordan Wells 3-57, John Novak 2-15, Jake Taylor 1-10, Jason Ford 1-9, Max Wasikowski 1-9, David Leaf 1-8. DSU, Blaine Berg 2-22, Zach Hepperle 2-10, Tanner Leak 1-3, Clint Grosz 1-0.

What To Read Next
Get Local