The number 17 ranked University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs football team came into Husky Stadium Saturday afternoon to take on the St. Cloud State Huskies.
The Bulldogs, winners of nine straight games, were looking to improve their 9-1 overall record, and 6-0 NSIC North record. The Huskies, with an overall record of 5-5, and an NSIC North record of 4-2, were looking to end the season with an overall record above .500.
The Bulldogs had high stakes, as they were looking at a possible playoff berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs with a win.
It was the underdog Huskies who got on the board first, as quarterback Nate Meyer found receiver John Pass who got behind the defense for a 72 yard touchdown reception, his fifth of the year to give the Huskies an early 7-0 lead.
Meyer threw for 175 yards in the game with two touchdowns and an interception and Pass had two catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Later in the first quarter Meyer threw his second touchdown pass of the day to tight end Anthony Carver for 10 yards to put the Huskies up 14-0. The touchdown was Carver’s third of the year.
Scott Underwood, St. Cloud State Head Football Coach knew that the game was far from over at that point.
“They’re averaging 48 points a game so you knew they were going to volley back,” said Underwood.
The rally started in the second quarter, and it was special teams making a big play for the Bulldogs, as they blocked a punt to take over on the Huskies’ 22-yard line. The Bulldogs would then capitalize on having good field position, as they got on the scoreboard with a 9-yard rushing touchdown from running back Darren Walker to cut the Huskies’ lead in half 14-7.
Walker rushed for 56 yards on the day on 20 carries and had one touchdown.
There was no let down for the Huskies, as Nick Greenlund returned the ensuing kickoff 86 yards to put the Huskies up 21-7.
The Bulldogs showed why they are ranked 17 in the nation, as they would answer back as quarterback Drew Bauer rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to pull the Bulldogs within a touchdown at 21-14.
The Huskies scored again before the half, as running back Jaden Huff rushed for a 12-yard touchdown to extend the Huskies’ lead to 27-14 after the extra point was blocked.
Huff rushed for 107 yards on the day on 15 carries and had two touchdowns.
UMD was looking to score before the half, but SCSU linebacker Jack Horter intercepted Bauer’s pass at the SCSU 4 yard line to keep the score 27-14 heading into halftime.
UMD opened up the second half scoring, as Bauer threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver Beau Bofferding to pull the Bulldogs within a touchdown at 27-21.
The Huskies then got their turn with the first drive of the second half, but Huff fumbled the ball giving it to the Bulldogs on the Huskies’ 30-yard line. The fumble proved costly for the Huskies as Bulldogs’ Bauer rushed for a 7-yard touchdown, his second rushing touchdown of the day. The extra point was missed to knot the game at 27 a piece.
UMD opened up the scoring in the decisive 4th quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run from guard Nolan Folkert. The extra point was good to give UMD their first lead of the day at 34-27.
The Huskies would then answer back as Huff rushed for his second touchdown of the day with a 65-yard run. The extra point was made for the Huskies tying the game at 34.
This was the end of the scoring for the Huskies, as the Bulldogs would then pile it on scoring 14 unanswered points to extend their lead to 48-34.
“They executed and made some big plays … there were some things that went in their direction,” said Underwood.
The 48-34 score would hold as UMD won, and improved their record to 10-1 overall, and 7-0 in the NSIC North, while the Huskies dropped to 5-6 overall, and 4-3 in the NSIC North.
“I’m proud that we played hard, but our goal is still to win the football game no matter who we play … we just gotta keep working to get to that consistent level with our offense, our defense, and our special teams,” said Underwood.
It was senior day for the Huskies, as the team will be graduating nine seniors, and Underwood talked about the contribution they have made to the program.
“They’ve been a big part of our program, and their leadership, and their efforts and everything that they’ve done for us so our hearts go out to them for what they’ve given to our program.”