MSUM Football Moves to .500 on the Season With Win Over UMary

Draagons beat the Maruders 35-31

MOORHEAD, MINN — (MSUM Athletics)  Junior fullback Hayden Boll scored the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left to lift the Minnesota State University Moorhead football team to a thrilling 35-31 win over UMary in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action Saturday at Scheels Field at Nemzek Stadium in Moorhead. The win helped MSUM retain the Paddle trophy, which they’ve held since the 2015 season.

MSUM improved to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the NSIC North with the win while the Marauders fell to 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the north.

“I’m proud of the grit our players showed,” MSUM head coach Steve Laqua said. “They stayed poised throughout the game and found a way to get the win.”

The Dragon defense forced three turnovers, which included interceptions from senior defensive back Carter Blackwell and sophomore defensive back Jared Kallenbach and a forced fumble and recovery from sophomore defensive lineman Denver Sheets. Sophomore safety Mike McClanahan had nine tackles to lead the defense while senior linebacker Matt Schoh, freshman linebacker Josiah Behm and freshman linebacker Marcus Gulley had eight each. Sheets, senior defensive lineman Jordan Magnuson and senior defensive end Darius Woods-Steichen added sacks as well.

Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Bieberdorf had eight catches for 61 yards and two scores while senior receiver Grady Bresnahan had six catches for 89 yards – including a huge catch on the winning touchdown drive in the final minutes. Boll rushed for 30 yards and a score while senior quarterback Justin Czech also rushed for a score and passed for a score.

Freshman quarterback Tommy Falk was 19-of-34 passing for 237 yards and a touchdown.

MSUM was down 31-28 with 4:26 left after UMary scored to regain the lead. The Dragons when went on a 12-play, 74-yard drive that consumed 4:16 and scored with 10 seconds left on Boll’s 2-yard plunge.

There were two big plays on the drive – a 30-yard pass from Falk to Bresnahan who adjusted and made a great catch that moved MSUM into Marauder territory. Later on the drive, on a fourth and one, Boll rushed for two yards inside the Marauder five to keep the drive alive. UMary got the ball back with 10 seconds left but was unable to score the winning touchdown.

MSUM led 7-0 in the first quarter after Czech hit Bieberdorf from four yards out with 10:31 left. That touchdown was set up by Kallenbach’s interception at the UMary 25-yard line. UMary pulled even with a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

The Dragons regained the lead when Falk found Bieberdorf from 2 yards out to make it 14-7 with 3:05 left in the first. UMary tied the game in the second quarter and the game was 14-14 at half.

UMary scored 10 straight to open the second half to build a 24-14 lead. But after UMary’s touchdown, Blackwell took the ensuing kickoff and broke some tackles and returned the kick 70 yards for a touchdown – bringing the Dragons within 24-21 and giving them a huge shot of momentum.

“I couldn’t be happier for Carter Blackwell,” Laqua said. “He’s a sixth-year senior and he seized the opportunity.”

MSUM regained the lead with 10:05 left in the contest on Czech’s 6-yard run. UMary scored with 4:33 left to make it 31-28, setting up the Dragons’ late heroics.

The Dragons are back at home on Oct. 30 to host Northern State for a 12 p.m. contest.


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