MADISON -- A new hero seemingly emerged every minute in the fourth quarter between Dakota Wesleyan University and Dakota State University.
But in double overtime, Casey Bourque proved to have the golden leg, booting a 30-yard field goal through the uprights to send the Trojans past the Tigers, 33-30, on Thursday at Trojan Field.
“We both fought hard,” DWU defensive lineman Dominick Warmbein said. “They wanted it more it seemed. We wanted it, but at the end, they took it. Both teams worked really hard all game.”
Both teams also showed plenty of will in a game never separated by more than nine points.
It was evident as the Trojans mobbed each other at midfield to the sound of a roaring crowd celebrating its fourth straight win over the rival Tigers. On the other side, DWU’s tears of disappointment told the story of a team which fell three points shy after being unable to punch it in from three yards out in double overtime.
“It’s disappointing,” Canova native Luke Loudenburg said. “To play a game like that, back and forth the whole game and go into overtime, and to lose a game like that hurts.”
DSU stopped Loudenburg four straight times from inside the 3-yard line, despite it looking like he crossed the goal line on third down. It set up DSU’s game-winning drive.
“I’ll let the refs decide that, but I think I was (in),” Loudenburg said. “But that’s not my decision. That’s theirs.”
DWU’s defense couldn’t make another stop. And even though it allowed 404 yards, it came up with big plays throughout overtime. Mitchell native Cody Reichelt had a key sack on third down, leading to Brodie Frederiksen dropping a would-be first down on the next play.
In double overtime, the defensive line held strong when faced with 1st-and-10 from the 12-yard line. It stuffed Frederiksen on two carries and forced an incompletion.
Coming up with key plays was a theme for the defense and special teams all night. Brandon Slama intercepted Torren Devericks in the first half, then recovered a blocked punt by Preston Emerson in the end zone during the third quarter, giving the Tigers life after falling behind for the first time.
It also held Frederiksen in check for most of the night by constantly swarming the backfield and stacking the box. Other than a 71-yard touchdown scamper on the third play after the break, Frederiksen, a former Tiger, only found the end zone once more and finished with 174 yards on 35 carries.
“We fixed up little things and it really helped prevent all this running,” Warmbein said. “... Little things, do your job, don’t do anything more. Let the man next to you do his job. Count on him to do his job and you do your own job.”
Frederiksen, who was held to 54 yards in the first half, got better as the game went on. It was the Loudenburg show for the first 30 minutes, though.
He gained 147 of his 163 yards in the first half, including a 59-yard run which resulted in a one-yard touchdown on the ensuing play. He also had two runs of 23 yards, with the second ending with him standing in the end zone.
“The O-line did a wonderful job opening up holes,” Loudenburg said. “Just trusting them and hitting them.”
DWU’s ability to get its ground game going early took pressure off of Mitchell native Kiel Nelson in his first start under center. Nelson struggled to hit open receivers at times, but he gave the Tigers a chance late in the fourth quarter.
With the run game stalling in the second half due to the Trojans bringing more pressure by putting linebackers in the box, Nelson delivered. He led the Tigers on a 75-yard drive, passing for 71 of those yards and connecting with former Kernel teammate Spencer Neugebauer for a 17-yard touchdown to tie the game at 30-all with 3:26 remaining.
He finished 15-for-28 for 143 yards, while also adding 50 yards on the ground. It was the only time he connected with Neugebauer as Daniel Libolt led the team with 68 yards on eight grabs.
“Kiel’s a tremendous quarterback,” Loudenburg said. “I can’t wait to see where he’s going to be in the years to come. To come in here as a freshman and to play the way he did, can’t say more good things about the kid.”
With Frederiksen wrapped up in the backfield on eight carries, the Trojans relied on quarterback Devericks, who completed 13 of 26 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. Josh Giles (5 receptions, 57 yards) and Frederiksen (6 receptions, 99 yards) were the main beneficiaries, though Devericks also ran for a one-yard score with 30 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 16-14.
“We had chances, they had chances,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “It’s a great college football game to be part of. Obviously we’ve been on the wrong end of it for too many years in a row, but we were close.”