Jimmies bring defense in victory No. 1
University of Jamestown head football coach Brian Mistro said it was emphasized to the point of sickness last week in practice.
"Guys, we need to get off the field on third down."
UJ forced Briar Cliff University's offense to the sideline on 12 of 13 attempts at converting third-down last Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa, and the Jimmies were rewarded with their first victory of the season. The Jimmies (1-5) defeated the Chargers 17-10 and will look to start a winning streak this Saturday at the MDU Resources Bowl in Bismarck hosting Dakota Wesleyan (2-5) at 1 p.m.
The Jimmies' finest defensive performance to this point included limiting the Chargers to only 257 yards of total offense, and they did it while battling more shoes to fill -- this week at free safety -- courtesy of the season that changes by the hour. Both senior starting free safety Ross Monson and freshman backup Keagan Schiele are currently unavailable, which triggered moving sophomore linebacker Brooks Canfield to safety and relying on freshmen Damian Otero and Jed Rantz for help at outside linebacker.
Canfield and Otero are currently penciled in at starting free safety and outside linebacker, respectively, for this weekend's clash against the Tigers. Canfield led the Jimmies against the Chargers with nine total tackles. Jamestown had allowed 41 first downs at a conversion rate of more than 62% prior to the win.
"It was fun to watch what we addressed in practice carry over into a football game and I was super proud of our guys," Mistro said. "We went down there with a skeleton crew and our guys stepped up and made plays."
Success defensively also created short fields for UJ's offense, and the Jimmies took advantage by putting points on the board in all three of the team's trips to the red zone.
After a 48-yard Izaak Myles punt pinned the Chargers inside their own 10-yard line following UJ's first possession, a three-and-out by Briar Cliff would set the Jimmies up on the BC 33 following a short punt and a Cedric Terry six-yard return. It took the Jimmies just four plays on the short field to punch the ball into the end zone, which ended with quarterback Cade Torgerson hitting Javon Bowie for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
Leading 7-3 late in quarter No. 2, a strip-sack by UJ junior defensive end Mitchell Swartz resulted in a fumble recovery for UJ's Vincent Corral on the BC 40 with 29 seconds remaining in the half, and the Jimmies were again in business.
"When the ball's on the bottom of a pile and Vinny Corral is near it, you're not gonna win that battle a lot," Mistro said of his all-conference junior nose tackle.
UJ covered the 40 yards in 22 seconds, with the help of two timeouts and a 15-yard personal foul called on the Chargers, and Torgerson tossed his second TD of the half on a 13-yard strike to freshman receiver Micah Madyun running a post route from the slot and dragging his foot in the end zone for the score.
"Cade throws a great ball, Micah runs a great route and, bam, there's seven more," Mistro said. "Micah has run that route 100,000 times in practice
"That's how you want a game to start."
UJ led 14-3 at the half and added a 32-yard Myles field goal in the third quarter. The Jimmie defense recorded four quarterback sacks and 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 34 yards.
Torgerson completed 16 of 29 passes for 135 yards and rushed for an additional 71 yards. The Jimmies finished with 261 yards of offense and didn't turn the ball over in the game.
The Jimmies' red zone efficiency is up to nearly 58% (8 of 14) following Saturday's success.
"Our league is really good, but a lot of the big mistakes that we've made were self-inflicted," Mistro said. "To be honest, we should've had more on the board. But when you make the plays that you make in practice all week on Saturday, then you start believing."
The Jimmies will hope to limit Dakota Wesleyan's offense this weekend, which centers around 6-foot senior receiver Spencer Neugebauer. Neugebauer has hauled in 54 receptions for 591 yards and six touchdowns for the 2-5 Tigers.
Redshirt freshman Jamin Arend leads the Dakota Wesleyan backfield with 93 carries for 302 yards, while junior quarterback Zachary Lester has completed 119 of 204 passes for 1,196 yards and 10 TDs.
But still, in the grip of a global pandemic, every week is truly a wild card.
"There's different guys playing in different positions, there's guys you don't see from week to week," Mistro said of what he's seen from the Tigers. "It's very similar to the Jimmies, I would say."
The Tigers will have had two weeks of rest prior to Saturday's game, last defeating Briar Cliff 26-7 on Halloween. The Jimmies lost to the Tigers 41-14 in Mitchell, South Dakota, last November.
"They've got a quarterback that can throw the ball around, I like the way that their running back runs and they have the best wide receiver in the country, according to the stats," Mistro said. "Offensively, they've got some stuff going on, it just hasn't been clicking on all cylinders the way that they want it to, but they can be dangerous."
The Jimmies, however, plan to keep most of their focus inward moving forward. Mistro said the team plans to eat breakfast in Jamestown Saturday morning before hopping on the bus for Bismarck.
"We need to focus on us and what we're gonna do, because we're not sure what we're gonna get from them," Mistro said. "Our guys are gonna be ready to go."
University of Jamestown 17, Briar Cliff University 10
UJ 7 7 3 0 -- 17
BC 0 3 7 0 -- 10
UJ: Javon Bowie 7 pass from Cade Torgerson (Izaak Myles kick), 9:17.
BC: Jonathan Branner 24 field goal, 6:36.
UJ: Micah Madyun 13 pass from Torgerson (Myles kick), 0:07.
BC: Cayden Mitchell 1 run (Branner kick), 5:51.
UJ: Myles 32 field goal, 3:04.
STATISTICS UJ BC
Total yards 261 257
Passing yards 136 134
Rushing yards 125 123
Return yards 20 72
First downs 15 14
Third down eff. 4/13 1/13
Fourth down eff. 0/1 4/7
Red zone eff. 3/3 2/3
Punts/yds 6/225 4/142
Turnovers 0 1
Possession time 25:40 32:20
Passing: UJ, Cade Torgerson 16-29-0 136. BC, Cayden Mitchell 9-18-0 134.
Rushing: UJ, Torgerson 14-71, Frankie Ingraldi 7-39, Josiah Cage 7-21. BC, King Waller 16-72, Mar'Kaybion Wallace 19-61, Dion Collins-Jones 1-4, Brett Tinker 2-(-4), Mitchell 10-(-10).
Receiving: UJ, Javon Bowie 2-32, Micah Madyn 3-28, Cage 3-23, Jeremy Williams 5-22, Ingraldi 2-22, Steven Justice 1-9. BC, Brandon Faatalale 4-57, Aaron Okori 2-33, Waller 1-21, Kobe Johnson 1-16, Wallace 1-7.
Tackles (solo): UJ, Brooks Canfield 9 (2), Aaron Mack 9 (2), Levi Scribner 6 (1), Manuel Najera 5 (1), John Sullivan 5 (3), Vincent Corral 5 (3). BC, MJ Montgomery 13 (4), Mike Green 7 (3), Brandon Faatalale 6 (4).
Sacks (yards): UJ, Mitchell Swartz 2 (-10), Scribner 1 (-7), Blake Snyder 1 (-2). BC, Montgomery 0.5 (-3), Robert Robinson 0.5 (-3).
Fumble recoveries (yards): UJ, Corral 1 (0). BC, none.
Records: Jamestown 1-5. Briar Cliff 1-6.