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Mary outscores Northern for football victory

Northern State University’s Dakota Larson (7) reaches to catch a pass as University of Mary’s Nate Eschleman, far right, closes in on defense during Saturday’s Gypsy Day game at Dacotah Bank Stadium. Photo by John Davis taken 10/2/2021

What a difference a week can make.

Last Saturday Northern State bolted out to a 31-0 lead against Sioux Falls. This time the Wolves found themselves staring at a 28-0 first-half deficit and while they battled back, they never fully recovered.

The Mary Marauders scored on their first play from scrimmage and never trailed on the way to a 49-42 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football victory on Gypsy Day at Swisher Field Saturday afternoon.

“Obviously a pretty embarrassing loss for our program,” said Northern coach Mike Schmidt. “It’s my fault. That’s me not getting us ready to play in this game. Hats off and all kinds credit to Mary and Coach (Craig) Bagnell. That’s a great job by them. A great game plan by them. They did a great job.”

The Marauders did something that no opponent has done in five games against Northern this season. They repeatedly found open receivers who in turn found their way into the end zone at a rapid pace. Quarterback Logan Nelson fired five touchdown passes in the first half alone, three of them to Luke Little.

“We just need to look into the game, take it a little more serious next time,” said Northern defensive back Chance Olson who led the Wolves with nine tackles. “We definitely had a great game plan in place. It think it was just a little bit of lack of intent coming in. Bad eyes; we just didn’t play to the best of our capabilities.”

The Wolves finally got going offensively in the second quarter and eventually clawed their way back into contention.

Hunter Trautman threw touchdown passes to Vance Barnes and Jacob Streit, sandwiched around a TD run by Isaiah Cherrier. As a result, Northern went into halftime down 42-21 and appeared to have a bit of momentum.

However, Schmidt knew there would be little margin for error in the final 30 minutes.

“When you back yourself in a corner like that, it’s going to be hard to stop that team every single time,” Schmidt said. “That’s essentially what we had to do.”

Northern got a turnover and scored early in the third quarter when Trautman passed seven yards to Dakota Larson, and then added another touchdown with 8:10 left when Trautman fired a 15-yard touchdown to Dewaylon Ingram to put some serious heat on the Marauders.

However, Mary got a much-needed touchdown when Nelson tossed his sixth touchdown pass of the day to make it a two-possession game midway through the third. That score proved to be just enough.

The Wolves once again cut the margin to a single possession late in the third when Trautman found Ingram for another 15-yard TD.

“We’re just confident as an offense,” said Barnes, who had 106 return yards in the contest. “We feel like we have one of the best O-lines in the nation. We have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. We have one of the best receiving corps in the nation. We just rallied together.”

Oddly enough, there would be no more scoring after that as the teams battled to a scoreless fourth quarter after producing 91 points in the first three.

Northern had three different possessions to try to tie the score in the final quarter, but was unable to cash in.

“I dropped a pass late in the fourth,” Barnes said. “We had some mistakes on those drives where we had an opportunity to score. We just have to be better and execute more, but we’re always confident in ourselves.”

In the end, the Wolves simply gave up too many points to start off the contest and were unable to get over the hump.

“We dug ourselves too big of a hole to come back from,” Schmidt said. “I’m still really proud of our team for coming back and sticking with it, and to be in the game at the end.”

Nelson finished with 454 yards passing for Mary. Danny Kittner had 153 yards receiving and a pair of TDs, while David Small Jr. rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown. Jaden Andresen had 106 yards receiving and scored the game’s first TD.

Trautman had 333 yards passing and five touchdowns for the Wolves. Ingram finished with 153 yards receiving to go along with his two TDs. Larson had 103 yards receiving.

The Wolves, 3-2 on the season, play at Winona State on Saturday.

“I still think we’re a good team. We didn’t show that all the time today. Probably for 45 minutes we showed that today, but we’re a good team. My opinion on that isn’t changed right now,” Schmidt said. “I think we can come back against anybody and come back from anything. I’ve got a group of fighters in the locker room right now that I believe in with all my life. So we’ll bounce back from this thing.”

To see complete game stats click on the following link:

https://nsuwolves.com/sports/football/stats/2021/umary-gypsy-days-/boxscore/9215

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