College football: UMD rallies to top Moorhead
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Minnesota Duluth won the turnover battle Saturday afternoon, a statistic that proved beneficial.
UMD scored 14 points off Minnesota State-Moorhead miscues and tallied the game's final two touchdowns to rally for a 23-14 NSIC victory at Alex Nemzek Stadium before 3,102 fans.
"You've got to take care of the football to win games, especially in this league," Dragons head coach Steve Laqua said. "It's a competitive league and turnover margin is important. We had some costly turnovers. We've just got to clean it up. That's a huge piece of the game."
The Dragons (2-4 overall, 2-4 NSIC) have lost two consecutive games, while the Bulldogs (4-2, 4-2) have rattled off three wins in a row and share the top spot in the Northern Division with Bemidji State. UMD has won the past 16 games in the series since a 1999 defeat.
"I think our team did what we had to do to win the football game," Bulldogs coach Curt Wiese said. "In this league, it's getting tighter and tighter each week so you appreciate the wins when you get them."
UMD scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a four-point deficit. The Bulldogs' final touchdown was set up by a Moorhead fumble, which UMD recovered at the Dragons' 30-yard line with 10 minutes, 59 seconds remaining.
Six plays later, junior running back Anthony Wood scored on a 13-yard touchdown run that gave the Bulldogs a 23-14 lead with 8:45 remaining.
"Anthony has gotten better and better each week," Wiese said. "It was good to see him crack one. He didn't have a lot of space. Moorhead played well defensively."
The Dragons limited the Bulldogs to 94 rushing yards on 43 attempts. UMD was stingier against the run, holding Moorhead to 19 yards on 26 carries.
The Dragons found some rhythm in the third quarter, scoring 14 consecutive points to take the lead. Freshman wide receiver Grady Bresnahan helped spark that rally, hauling in a 23-yard touchdown catch from Dragons quarterback Demetrius Carr to slice the UMD lead to 10-7 with 9:35 remaining in the quarter. Carr added a 20-yard touchdown run, which gave the Dragons a 14-10 lead with 4:16 to play in the third.
The Bulldogs took back the lead for good early in the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Dominic Bonner capped a 52-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown catch from quarterback John Larson, who played most of the second half for UMD after starting quarterback Ben Everhart left the game early in the third quarter with a lower-leg injury. Wiese said Everhart could have returned to the game.
The Dragons fumbled two plays into the possession that followed Bonner's TD catch. Carr ran up the middle for a first down, but took a hit at the end of the run and lost the ball. Bulldogs linebacker Gus Wedig came up with the recovery that set up the game's final touchdown.
"It was kind of an odd game, sloppy on both sides," Wiese said. "Both teams committed mistakes when they didn't need to make mistakes. Hand it to Moorhead, we couldn't rush the ball offensively."
Minn. Duluth 0-7-3-13—23
Minn State-Moorhead 0-0-14-0—14
UMD — Hill 11 pass from Everhart (Branger kick)
UMD — Branger 36 FG
MSM — Bresnahan 23 pass from Carr (Albuquerque kick)
MSUM — Carr 20 run (Albuquerque kick)
UMD — Bonner 20 pass from Larson (Branger kick)
UMD — Wood 13 run (kick blocked)
RUSHING: UMD, Wood 14-51, Larson 8-23, Everhart 10-9, Sylvester 5-8, Folkert 3-2, Bonner 1-2, Balts 1-0, Team 1-(minus-1). MSUM, Stone 10-17, Gray 6-15, Carr 10-(minus-13).
PASSING: UMD, Everhart 13-21-0 138 yards, Larson 4-12-0 41. MSUM, Carr 19-40-1 266.
RECEIVING: UMD, Conner 5-82, Bonner 4-37, Sylvester 3-5, Balts 2-36, Hill 1-11, Wood 1-7, Ibeneme 1-1. MSUM, Bresnahan 9-146, Gibson 5-81, Braaten 3-19, Moore 1-16, Homer 1-4.