Bulldogs get run over by St. Cloud State
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- St. Cloud State has come from the brink of elimination last season to become the team to beat in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference after the No. 11 Huskies' convincing 35-7 victory over No. 6 Minnesota Duluth on Satu...
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- St. Cloud State has come from the brink of elimination last season to become the team to beat in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference after the No. 11 Huskies' convincing 35-7 victory over No. 6 Minnesota Duluth on Saturday before a record crowd of 5,158 spectators at Husky Stadium.
In an NCAA Division II showdown between teams that statistically were nearly identical, it wasn't turnovers or penalties that made the difference. The Bulldogs simply got beat.
"Give St. Cloud a tremendous amount of credit," UMD coach Bob Nielson said. "They outplayed us, they outcoached us, and they out-executed us. Without question, they deserved to win. They put themselves in the driver's seat in terms of the conference race."
Quite a change from a year ago.
The St. Cloud State football program was on the chopping block in 2010, a potential victim of a strapped athletic budget, until an increase in student fees alleviated the problem. The Huskies were the feel-good team last season, advancing to the second round of the playoffs before UMD put an end to the storybook by rallying for a 20-17 overtime victory in Duluth. The Bulldogs went on to win their second national title in three years.
On Saturday, it looked as if St. Cloud was releasing a year's worth of pent-up frustration.
With a beefed-up attack, the Huskies (8-1 overall, 7-1 NSIC) beat the Bulldogs (7-2, 6-2) at their own game, with power rushing, efficient passing and a bend-but-don't-break defense.
Senior Dante Steward -- all 5-foot-7, 250 pounds of him -- rushed just seven times for 92 yards and two touchdowns as the Huskies rushed for 275 yards and scored all five of their TDs on the ground against a normally stout UMD defense.
"A revenge factor? I wouldn't say it's a revenge factor by any means. Every time we play Duluth, it's a big game," said St. Cloud quarterback Phillip Klaphake, who passed for 123 yards and ran for 48 more. "It feels good to win, but it feels good to win every game, but yeah, this one is bigger than most."
After UMD's opening drive ended in a Chase Vogler interception, St. Cloud drove 76 yards on 11 plays, capped by Klaphake's 10-yard TD run.
St. Cloud sophomore Michael Walker added 23 carries for 86 yards and two second-quarter scores, including a 1-yard touchdown plunge just before halftime to put St. Cloud ahead 21-0. Then Steward broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the second half, and the Bulldogs were reeling.
UMD later marched to the St. Cloud 5, only for Vogler to get tripped up at the goal line and Zach Hulce to get stuffed on fourth and goal at the 1.
Vogler led the Bulldogs with 94 yards passing and 69 rushing.
"St. Cloud played a heck of a game," Vogler said. "We found ourselves in a lot of third and longs, and it's hard to win a football game like that.
"You have to learn from this, but we're not the type of team to point fingers. We'll move on. We saw St. Cloud twice last year, and I wouldn't mind seeing them twice this year, but we've got to win our final two games first."
UMD was third in the first Super Region 3 rankings released earlier this week, and St. Cloud was fifth, with the top six teams making the playoffs. The Bulldogs will likely make the playoffs if they close with home wins over Minnesota-Crookston and Minnesota State-Mankato
Nielson wasn't looking that far ahead.
"If we're a team that wants to go on, we have no more margin for error, but at this point, I'm not even looking at that," Nielson said. "We've got to play a lot better football or we don't deserve to even be in the playoffs. That's the bottom line."
Notes: The packed house at Husky Stadium was the third record crowd UMD has played in front of this year. ... The 28 points is the largest margin of victory over UMD since the Bulldogs fell 35-7 to Augustana at Malosky Stadium in 2006.
Minnesota Duluth 0-0-0-7--7
St. Cloud State 7-14-7-7--35
SCSU -- Phillip Klaphake 10 run (Tyler Aldridge kick), 4:53
SCSU -- Michael Walker 3 run (Aldridge kick), 9:21
SCSU -- Walker 1 run (Aldridge kick), :34
SCSU -- Dante Steward 48 run (Aldridge kick), 13:28
SCSU -- Damon Treat 25 run (Aldridge kick), 14:48
UMD -- Zach Hulce 5 run (David Nadeau kick), 7:20
A -- 5,158.
First downs 16 23
Rushes-yards 43-154 43-275
Passing 94 123
Comp-Att-Int 12-24-2 11-17-0
Kick returns-yards 4-72 0-0
Punts-yards 4-158 3-96
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-65 2-10
Time of possession 32:18 27:42
RUSHING -- UMD, Chase Vogler 17-69, Brian Lucas 12-35, Hulce 11-30, Joe Reichert 3-20. SCSU, Steward 7-90, Walker 23-84, Klaphake 7-48, Treat 3-43, Chad Peterson 1-7, Andy Folz 1-4, Team 1-(-1). PASSING -- UMD, Vogler 12-24-2-94. SCSU, Klaphake 111-17-0-123. RECEIVING -- UMD, Reichert 4-28, Lucas 2-29, Collin Stinogel 2-12, Aaron Roth 1-14, Ben Helmer 1-10, Jeremy Reierson 1-2, Hulce 1-(-1). SCSU, Tyler Allery 4-45, Renard Robinson 3-30, Eli Shoemaker 2-35, Nick Angellotti 1-8, Peterson 1-5.