For the first time since 2010 the Husky football team is hosting a homecoming game at Husky Stadium. St. Cloud State dominated the University of Minnesota Crookston 49-6 on October 23.
The Upper Iowa Peacocks came to town coming in hot after their 27-24 upset of Bemidji State last weekend.
Huskies quarterback Dwayne Lawhorn returned from injury last week completing 20 of 32 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns, but he would have a tough start in this one. After the defense forced a Peacocks punt to open the game Lawhorn threw a pick on the Huskies’ opening drive giving it right back to a dangerous Peacocks offense.
This time it would be the Huskies’ defense coming up big. A pass interference call on fourth down gave the Peacocks life, but they wouldn’t be able to punch it in the endzone with the defense stuffing Upper Iowa on four straight goal line runs.
The momentum swung huge in the Huskies’ favor and Lawhorn took advantage. A 6 play 98 yard drive ended up with Lawhorn finding his favorite target John Solberg in the endzone for a 12 yard score that was set up by a 42 yard pitch and catch to 5’7″ wide out Tanner Teige to take a 7-0 lead with 4:38 left in the first quarter.
Upper Iowa would respond in the second quarter with one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NSIC. Coming into the game averaging 272.2 yards per tilt, Peacocks quarterback Brent Lammers would pick up chunks of yardage through the air on a 13 play, 80 yard scoring drive that ended with Lammers finding receiver Alexander Stevens from three yards out to knot things up at 7 a piece with ten and a half minutes left in the second quarter.
A Peacocks penalty on the ensuing Huskies’ drive would give St. Cloud a second shot after missing a 33 yard field goal. Jesse Hynek was called for encroachment and, the very next play, Lawhorn found Solberg for an 11 yard passing touchdown to reclaim the lead at 14-7 with seven minutes left in the half.
Lammers and the Peacocks would try to score before half, but he would be hit in the backfield on a QB keeper on fourth and goal with a minute remaining at the four yard line.
St. Cloud would rush for a first down and then kneel to run out the clock and take their 14-7 lead into halftime.
“The key thing is, with what they do offensively, you kind of have to be a bend but don’t break defense because they’re gonna speed up the pace, balls are going to come out on time, it’s hard to get blitzes to them and stuff like that. You just got to keep them out of the end zone and force them to field goals” Scott Underwood said of his defense’s goal line stops.
The cardinal and black would receive the ball to start the second half and they would hit the ground running. On the second play from scrimmage running back Greg Lewis more than doubled his yards on the ground with a 51 yard rush to the Peacocks 28 yard line.
The drive would temporarily stall after a false start on the next play and the Huskies would soon be starting at 4th and 15. With the wind a major factor, Scott Underwood would elect to go for it on the Peacocks 32 and Lawhorn would pass for the first down. The very next play Lawhorn would toss his third touchdown of the game with a strike off playaction to tight end Sam Hartman to increase the lead to 21-7.
The next Huskies drive would be more of the same, a 9 play 80 yard drive would result in Greg Lewis sniffing out the end zone from two yards out after a defensive pass interference call on third down and the lead would balloon to 28-7.
After the kickoff, inexplicably the Peacock return man let the ball bounce to the one yard line before picking it up and Upper Iowa would go three and out. St. Cloud would return the punt to the opposing 26 yard line and on 3rd and 9 Lawhorn would locate Solberg once again and Solberg would break a tackle and scamper into the end zone for his third receiving score of the game and the scoreboard would read 34-7 after the missed extra point.
The Peacocks would do their best to get back into the game by answering the Huskies’ latest passing touchdown with one of their own. Lammers would hit a wide open Skyler Lehman from 2 yards out to cap an eight play 79 yard drive to cut the lead to 34-14.
That’s where the score would stay as the Huskies would jump into second place in the NSIC North after Bemidji State and Minnesota State Moorhead would both lose. That dangerous Beavers team is up next on the menu for the Huskies.
On that match up against the Beavers, “it’s a great rivalry with us. We’ve got a lot of work to do and it’s good to be at home” said Underwood.
Lawhorn looked sharp again in his second week after returning from injury finishing with 269 yards and four touchdowns, making that seven touchdowns in the past two weeks.
Lawhorn per usual was humble about his success and was nothing but complimentary for his guys, “felt pretty good. O-line gave me the time to do what I needed to do, I give all the credit to them and my receivers made plays.”
All in all it was a great performance for the football team this homecoming weekend and Underwood thought the crowd helped energize the team, “there was a revitalized energy here for the whole week from our soccer team and hockey teams, from all our people that were playing. College atmosphere should be fun and it was another fun day today for us.”
Next up for St. Cloud (6-2, 6-2 NSIC) is a tilt against Bemidji State University (5-3, 5-3 NSIC) at home in Husky Stadium and kickoff for that game is set for one p.m.