Blue Hawks too much for JimmiesDickinson State got back on track the old-fashioned way on Saturday afternoon at the wind-swept Badlands Activities Center.
Dickinson State got back on track the old-fashioned way on Saturday afternoon at the wind-swept Badlands Activities Center.
Paced by its relentless rushing game and a stifling defense, the Blue Hawks avoided its first four-game losing streak in the Hank Biesiot era with a dominating 29-7 victory over Jamestown College in the final game — at least for the foreseeable future — between the longtime Dakota Athletic Conference and North Dakota Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals.
In the midst of one of their worst seasons in Biesiot’s 36 years as head coach, the Blue Hawks (3-6, 3-3 DAC) steered clear of losing their fourth straight game — something that has never happened since Biesiot has been in charge.
“Happy with a capital H,” Biesiot said, describing how it felt to end the team’s second three-game slide of the season.
The Blue Hawks had a lot of people to thank for this one, too.
Sophomore running back Brennan Haughian rushed for a career-high 181 yards and had two touchdowns on 31 carries and DSU’s defense held the undermanned Jimmies in check throughout the afternoon. Haughian scored on a 7-yard run in the second quarter and a 49-yard burst up the middle in the third.
“I had a good day, but the first thing it goes to is our offensive line,” Haughian said. “That second long run, I don’t think I had anybody touch me the whole time.”
Junior quarterback Dave Velasquez and junior receiver Tanner Leak hooked up for a pair of first-half touchdowns (3 and 21 yards) to get the Blue Hawks rolling early.
Velasquez was 6 of 15 for 83 yards and didn’t complete a pass in the second half, though DSU reined him in quite a bit because the winds gusted upwards of 50 mph and blew steadily in the 30s all game.
The Blue Hawks outgained the Jimmies 335 to 204.
“I thought we came out of the shoots and played well,” Biesiot said.
Jamestown did not.
“I knew, coming out, one of us was going to have a day where the other team got breaks maybe we haven’t gotten all year,” said JC head coach Bud Etzold. “It just turned out that it wasn’t us.”
And that’s putting it lightly.
The Jimmies (3-6, 2-4 DAC) had three fumbled snaps, two out of the shotgun formation and one on a punt that was recovered by DSU and led to a 22-yard Cole Zamira field goal with 5 seconds left in the first half.
Jamestown College’s offense didn’t have much luck until late in the third quarter when sophomore quarterback Brady Yrjo, making his first career appearance, hit senior receiver Casey Hausauer on a 6-yard TD pass.
Yrjo was 11 of 26 for 122 yards in his first start, but had some difficult moments.
Despite completing his first career pass to senior receiver Max Boe for 42 yards and starting the game 3-for-3, Yrjo had a string of seven incomplete passes in the first half and was sacked four times.
“The secondary did a good job covering receivers,” said Hafner, who had eight tackles. “It was up to us to get after it. We brought some heat. It was up to us to get after them.”
It was the final DAC game for DSU and Jamestown, though both are considered independents in the eyes of the NAIA this season.
Jamestown College junior running back Matt Mithaughen finished with 87 yards rushing for the Jimmies, caught two passes for 11 yards and had a 14-yard pass to finish with 112 total yards of offense.
The Jimmies were without leading rusher Lance Johansen, who missed the game with a shoulder injury.
“I was pleased with the way our guys finished the game,” Etzold said. “We competed all the way through and that’s what the game is about.”
DSU will try to avoid tying its worst record in the Biesiot era next Saturday when it hosts South Dakota Mines, which beat Dakota State 42-17 on Saturday for its win of the season.
The Blue Hawks’ worst finish under Biesiot was 3-7 in 2007. This is only the third losing season since he became head coach.