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Sioux Falls runs away from University of Mary

Win third straight by a final of 34-14
Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 11:48 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - With all three phases – offense, defense and special teams – stepping up in different but equally productive ways, the University of Sioux Falls Football Team (5-2, 2-0 NSIC South) earned its third straight win with a 34-14 win over U-Mary (2-5, 1-1 NSIC North) at Bob Young Field on Saturday.

With its third straight win, the Cougars now stand 5-2 overall and sit at the top of the NSIC South with a 2-0 mark. Over the past three weeks, USF, which recorded its 456th all-time win, has a 97-to-47 scoring differential in wins over city rival Augustana (28-26); Southwest Minnesota State (35-7) and U-Mary (34-14).

In generating 517 yards, USF averaged 7.4 yards on 70 plays. For the second time this season, USF had over 300 yards rushing with 311 on 49 rushes for a 6.3-yard average. A point of reference on days when USF generates 500 yards in total offense, the Cougars stand 24-1 all-time including 2-0 this year.

On the other side of the ball, the defense held a high-powered U-Mary offense to 369 yards on 73 plays while recording four sacks and picked off a pass. USF, which improved to 10-4 all-time against U-Mary with a 4-1 mark in the NSIC, has six interceptions over the past three weeks.

“With a high-powered offense (U-Mary) coming in, it took a lot of contributions to slow them down,” said USF Head Coach Jon Anderson, whose team helped him win his 29th game as head coach for the Cougars. “It is important when all three phases step up. When you stop them or limit their possessions on defense, take care of the ball and special teams do their work, it turns out to be a good day. I thought it was a really good program-wide win with everyone supporting each other,” added Anderson, whose USF team will host Winona State on at 1 pm on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Bob Young Field.

USF, which ranked third in the NSIC in rushing coming into the game at 193.0 per game, had its second-biggest day of the season with 311 yards as two running backs both cracked 100-yards for a second time this year (Concordia St. Paul, week two).

Junior running back Thuro Reisdorfer had 19 carries for 145 yards with two TDs as he now has nine career 100-yard rushing games and four this year. The nine career 100-yard rushing games rank 10th in school history. The Sioux Falls junior also moved up to 15th on USF’s career rushing chart with 1,924 yards on 284 carries (6.77 avg.) and now has 26 career TDs including 21 by rush. He now has 672 yards on 93 carries with seven TDs as he averages 7.2 yards per carry and 112.00 yards per game this season.

For the second straight week and the third time this year, redshirt sophomore Landon Freeman surpassed 100 yards as he had 10 carries for 112 yards and a 44-yard TD run. In the past two weeks Freeman, who has 392 yards on the year on 57 carries for 6.87 yards per game, has accumulated 236 yards rushing on just 19 carries for 12.42 yards per tote.

Aside from the rushing offense, redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Mullen completed 16-of-21 passes for 206 yards with a pair of TDs as he now has 11 on the season. He threw TDs to his two main weapons, Ty Smith and Dominic Pegley. Smith, who caught his first TD since Nov. 10, 2018, against Wayne State. Smith finished with a team-high six receptions for 65 yards and the eight-yard TD reception. Pegley hauled in five catches for a season-best 98 yards with a 57-yard TD reception. In total, Mullen completed passes to eight different receivers.

Defensively, the Cougars asserted pressure on the league’s top-ranked passer, Logan Nelson, who completed 30-of-46 passes for 310 yards but 42 yards short of his average. USF had four sacks including Joey Wehrkamp who had his fifth of the season while Amaurii Grosskopf had a sack and two TFLs. Jess Ybarra had his first career sack while Jonathan Taylor also had a sack with two TFLs. As a unit, USF recorded nine tackles for loss, had five pass breakups and an interception by Carter Lohr, who had his third pick in two weeks. In addition, USF limited U-Mary to 59 yards rushing on 27 carries for 2.2 yards per carry.

In generating 517 yards, USF averaged 7.4 yards on 70 plays. For the second time this season, USF had over 300 yards rushing with 311 on 49 rushes for a 6.3-yard average. A point of reference on days when USF generates 500 yards in total offense, the Cougars stand 24-1 all-time including 2-0 this year.

On the other side of the ball, the defense held a high-powered U-Mary offense to 369 yards on 73 plays while recording four sacks and picking off a pass. USF, which improved to 10-4 all-time against U-Mary with a 4-1 mark in the NSIC, had another interception and now has six interceptions over the past three weeks.

“With a high-powered offense (U-Mary) coming in it took a lot of contributions to slow them down,” said USF Head Coach Jon Anderson, whose team helped him win his 29th game as head coach for the Cougars. “It is important when all three phases step up. When you stop them or limit their possessions on defense, take care of the ball and special teams do their work, it turns out to be a good day. I thought it was a really good program-wide win with everyone supporting each other,” added Anderson, whose USF team will host Winona State on at 1 pm on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Bob Young Field.

USF, which ranked third in the NSIC in rushing coming into the game at 193.0 per game, had its second-biggest day of the season with 311 yards as two running backs both cracked 100-yards for a second time this year (Concordia St. Paul, week two).

Senior defensive back Lee Pitts, who had a pick-six a week ago, followed up with a team-high five tackles – all solo stops – to go with two pass breakups.

“It was executing our assignments and doing our jobs.  We didn’t play anywhere close to perfect but at the end of the day, we worked hard and accomplished our goals for this week. It all starts with the defensive line who makes our job easier because they have pressure all over the place. We just have to make sure we keep playing sound, fundamental football,” said Pitts, whose father, Ron, and grandfather, Elijah, both played for the Green Bay Packers.

Scoring Breakdown

After USF took the opening kickoff and drove inside U-Mary’s 10-yard line but was stopped on downs, neither team put up points in the first quarter. However, things changed in the second stanza. USF outscored the Marauders, 20-7, to take a halftime lead. Then, USF outscored U-Mary, 14-7 in the second half to earn its 75th win at Bob Young Field.

U-Mary actually opened the scoring as Nelson connected with Luke Little on a 12-yard TD pass to cap an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive for a 7-0 lead at the 14:50 mark of the second quarter. Little finished with 12 catches for 152 yards and two TDs to lead the Marauders’ offense.

From that point, USF took control on both sides of the ball. The Cougars scored 34 unanswered points from the second to the fourth quarter. With 9:50 to play in the second quarter, Reisdorfer scored on a one-yard run to cap a 12-play, 78-yard scoring drive but a missed extra point left USF trailing, 7-6.

At the 7:17 mark immediately following a punt from U-Mary, Pegley hauled in a season-best 57-yard TD pass from Mullen and with Nicholas Hernandez’s extra point, USF had a 13-7 lead. USF built a 20-7 lead as Freeman scored on a 44-yard run with 2:56 to play until halftime. He capped a three-play, 60-yard scoring drive.

USF added to its lead late in the third quarter as Reisdorfer added a second one-yard TD rush at the 3:52 mark to give the Cougars a 27-7 advantage. The drive was set up after the Cougars stopped U-Mary at the three-yard line. From there, USF drove 97 yards in 167 plays and used 7:10 of the game block. USF put up its final score of the game with 13 minutes to play when Smith caught an eight-yard TD pass from Mullen for a 34-7 lead. With the reception, Smith capped off a seven-play, 57-yard scoring drive that used up 3:07 of the clock. Little caught his second TD pass from Nelson for six yards with 8:49 to play to cap the scoring.

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