by Turner Blaufuss
The Dragons deserved this one. In a season that presented a stacked schedule early on and multiple heart-breaking losses, the MSUM football team ran wild on the Minot State Beavers in a 52-7 home win.
They were clicking in all facets of the game posting over 600 yards of offense, limiting Minot to 212 yards and the special teams were flawless.
“We’ve been struggling this year and a win like this gives us a lot of momentum going forward,” quarterback Jack Hodge said.
The Dragons got on the board in the first quarter with Hodge scrambling in for a score on fourth and eight. Hodge tore it up all game after sitting out last week’s game with an injury as the dual-threat QB ran for 101 yards and threw for 253 to set the MSUM all-time passing mark with 5,843 yards.
“Getting the school record was impressive. (Hodge has) been a great teammate,” said Dragon football coach Steve Laqua. “Our guys would do anything for him and when you got a guy that the team really respects you have to be happy when they succeed.”
“It’s nice I guess, but I couldn’t do it without my O-line, my running backs and my receivers,” Hodge said. “It goes out to them not just me.”
After a big hookup with his favorite target, Adam Jiskra for 26 yards, Hodge found Zayne Medhaug for a seven-yard score for the junior running back’s first of three touchdowns on the day.
Hodge hit Hunter Braaten for a 19-yard touchdown and Medhaug took an option pitch in for a three-yard score to head into the half up 28.
The Dragon defense was flying around all game, locking down the Beavers with Abe Roehrich laying hits on Minot’s quarterback.
“We had a pretty aggressive mindset in the defensive game plan,” Laqua said.
“We got a lot of pressure and kept the quarterback off-balanced and uncomfortable in the pocket and that made a big difference, Abe was part of our defensive game pressure game plan. We thought he could really get after the quarterback.”
The third quarter saw the Dragons nail a field goal and Medhaug busted a 32-yard run to pay-dirt to increase their lead.
Hodge found his money target Jiskra in the red zone for a one-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The star Dragon receiver finished the game with 113 yards and Medhaug ended with 148 yards of offense.
“Adam had another great performance and I thought Zayne gave us some consistency running and being a threat out of the backfield,” Laqua said.
After a Minot score, the Dragons put in their subs and the sidelines were all looking for Chris Kroeten to close the game out.
Kroeten has battled injuries his whole career and the senior running back made the most of his carries driving the ball downfield and capping off the drive with a three-yard score.
“We really steamrolled and our kids had the killer instinct to close out the game in the second half,” Laqua said. “It was nice we came out and got that taken care of.”
The Dragons hope to ride the momentum Saturday on the road against Bemidji State University in a battle for The Axe. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
“Hopefully we can keep it rolling get a win and keep The Axe,” Hodge said.