A shootout of historic proportions was unveiled both on the ground and through the air in Moorhead, Minn., Saturday at Alex Nemzek Stadium. The UMD football team defeated the Minnesota State-Moorhead Dragons 69-45. The combined point total of 114 broke the previous UMD record for points in a game, 112, which was set last November in a 57-55 triple overtime loss to Missouri Western State in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
UMD amassed 619 yards of total offense. The majority of those yards (365) were put up by running backs Austin Sikorski and Logan Lauters. Both had career days, as Sikorski finished with 212 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, and Lauters finished with 153 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.
The first score of the game was a hard-nosed 16-yard run by Lauters just over two minutes in. UMD never trailed.
Despite racking up the points on offense, UMD had problems on the other side of the ball. With the final score looking more like one you would see in a basketball game, the Bulldog defense had an unusually rough outing.
Entering Saturday, UMD was ranked in the top ten in NCAA Division II in two major defensive categories: sixth in total defense (262.8 yards per game) and ninth in average point allowance (15.0).
The Dragon offense put up 685 yards — the most ever surrendered to a UMD opponent.
Minnesota State-Moorhead sophomore quarterback Jake Hodge was 31-45 for 472 yards and five touchdowns. Hodge’s main target was redshirt freshman wide receiver Cory Ambrose, who racked up 237 yards receiving to break a Dragon record that had stood since 1963.
With 10:34 remaining in the second quarter, Hodge found a streaking Ambrose for an 86-yard touchdown to cut UMD’s lead to 20-10.
UMD redshirt freshman quarterback Drew Bauer also had a career day throwing the football. Bauer went 13-21 for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
The majority of his completions went to junior wide receiver Zach Zweifel, who caught eight passes for a career-high 105 yards and a touchdown.
Ironically, the last score of the game was a defensive touchdown by UMD lineman Chris Vandervest. With less than a minute left in the fourth quarter and the Dragons marching, Vandervest picked up a fumble and took it 91 yards for his first collegiate touchdown.
“I had never done it before,” Vandervest said. “I was pretty tired after it happened. It was a good experience.”
UMD (5-1), which climbed back into the national top ten (ninth) after being ranked No. 11 last week, hosts Minot State at Malosky Stadium Saturday afternoon.
BY PHIL DEMORE firstname.lastname@example.org