by Turner Blaufuss
It was more of the same for the Dragon football team as they were handed a 55-27 loss from the St. Cloud State University Huskies. SCSU scored 28 unanswered points and MSUM struggled after quarterback Jake Hodge went down with an injury.
“After the game we talked about controlling the things we can control,” MSUM coach Steve Laqua said. “We just ask everyone to do their job and take care of their business. Hats off to St. Cloud; they played a good football game today.”
The game began with Hodge connecting with his favorite target Adam Jiskra, which moved the junior wide receiver into the number one spot for all-time receiving yards.
Jiskra was happy with the accomplishment, but said he hadn’t given it a lot of thought.
“It’s a nice thing to pass, but it wasn’t really on my mind,” Jiskra said. “I was focused on getting a win, but it was nice to get that today.”
Hodge got the Dragons on the board with a 33-yard keeper down the left side. The PAT was good to give Moorhead a 7-0 lead.
St. Cloud responded with a score to tie the game and the Dragons were forced to punt on the ensuing possession. MSUM’s defense held strong on SCSU’s next possession with Jake Busse picking off the pass.
The Dragons capitalized on the turnover with Hodge’s arm and legs. The junior quarterback scrambled for a big first on third down to keep the drive alive and hooked up with Jiskra and Zayne Medhaug for big completions. Hodge found receiver Hunter Braaten open in the flats for the eight-yard score.
St. Cloud drove down the field their next two possessions to take a 20-14 lead. The Dragons put together a promising drive when Hodge extended plays with his feet on a pair of long third downs.
Hodge hit Cory Ambrose for a 24-yard gain and found Jiskra for a 19-yard first down. The next play Hodge saw room on the left side of the field and finished the run with authority to get the Dragons to the Huskie 5, but was injured on the play.
“He’s doing fine. We’ll have to evaluate him and see how he responds. Everything seems OK with him,” Laqua said.
Demetrius Carr took the reigns for MSUM and on the first snap the Dragons fumbled in the red zone. Both teams traded possessions as the Dragons entered the locker room down by six.
“We gathered momentum on a few good plays on that drive. The injury obviously deflates the group and fumbling was a backbreaker at that point,” Laqua said.
“Sometimes it’s tough to come in, in the middle of the game so it took him a while to find his rhythm and the offense took a while to find their rhythm with him.”
MSUM started the second half with a bang as Carr found Ambrose on a seam route for a 49-yard score to take the lead.After SCSU scored a touchdown of their own, Carr found Ambrose again for a 44-yard score. The PAT was blocked leaving the game tied at 27.
“I’m proud of how our kids battled back to make it a 27-27 game. It kind of unraveled from there,” Laqua said.
From then on, the game was all SCSU as their offense was hitting on all cylinders, scoring 28 unanswered. The defense was equally dominant as Carr finished the game with three interceptions and the run game wasn’t close to being established.
“You can’t expect to win when you turn the ball over. Offensively we put them in some tough positions and the defense was on the field a lot with a shortened field,” Laqua said.
Jiskra finished the game with 121 yards on nine catches to increase his school record and Hodge was MSUM’s leading rusher with 65 yards on five carries.
The Dragons look to get back on track at University of Mary next Saturday at 1 p.m.