The Minot State University football team is still searching for its first win, but the Beavers (0-4) tallied several statistical firsts in Saturday's 26-20 loss at Upper Iowa.
- Junior Glyn Borel returned the game's opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, the Beavers' first return for a score this season.
"He got a good seam and then he obviously had to put a good move on the kicker," MSU coach Paul Rudolph said. "He gave him a little inside move and beat him to the sideline. It was pretty well-blocked and he had enough speed to get into the seam."
Minot State University junior defensive back Jeff Buchert lunges for Sioux Falls (S.D.) running back Kristian Porter during a game Sept. 15 at Herb Parker Stadium. Buchert recorded MSU’s first interception of the season Saturday against Upper Iowa.
- Redshirt freshman wide receiver Porter Sturm became the first MSU player to gain more than 150 receiving yards. Sturm caught 11 passes for 199 yards against the Peacocks, easily exceeding his production from the first three games combined.
Sturm grabbed his first touchdown against Sioux Falls (S.D.) in week three and added two more against Upper Iowa.
"It's all just been quite a big learning experience," Sturm said. "I feel like me and the freshman quarterback Zac Cunha really have some good chemistry going. Since the first game, I just kept getting better and better. I knew I had to be a big-time player. It was just a matter of time."
The 5-foot-11 Sturm played 6-man football in Roy, Mont., on a field 20 yards shorter and more than 13 yards narrower than the regulation 11-man field.
"Definitely a big adjustment," said Sturm, who described himself as a possession receiver. "There's twice as many guys and the field's bigger, but when it comes down to it, football is football. You gotta make plays no matter what. It's just a matter of keeping learning and redshirting really helped that."
Rudolph said Sturm has grown noticeably more comfortable as the season has progressed.
"He's a kid with good size, good strength, pretty good jumping ability," Rudolph said. "But the (main) thing is he's just gotten more confident."
- Sturm's big day contributed to large passing totals for Cunha, who exceeded 300 yards passing for the first time this season.
Cunha completed 22-of-38 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions. Two of Upper Iowa's picks came after the ball contacted an MSU receiver.
- The Beavers grabbed their first interception of the season when junior defensive back Jeff Buchert hauled in a tipped ball in the first quarter.
On an Upper Iowa fourth-down play, junior linebacker Uepati Fatilua tipped a pass and Buchert made a diving catch.
"It was fourth-and-8," Buchert said. "We could've gotten the ball eight yards up, but I said, 'Why not get a pick and try to get something going?' Watching film, Kewon (Tapp), our corner, was right there and he probably could've took it to the house."
MSU defensive coordinator Joe Ford said the Beavers have had several other opportunities for interceptions.
"We've dropped maybe seven balls and sometimes the kid's gotta haul it in," Ford said. "It's not like we're completely oblivious to what's going on in the pass game or the pass rush. We just haven't finished enough."
- Fatilua recorded the Beavers' first sack of the season Saturday, which came as news to Rudolph.
"That kind of surprises me," Rudolph said. "I think we've had the quarterback on the run quite a bit. I don't think there's been quarterbacks in any of the four games that have stood back there and felt entirely comfortable."
Ford said the fact that it took four weeks for the MSU defense to sack the opposing quarterback isn't a reflection of bad play.
"Our d-line, those guys are run-stopping guys," he said. "Based on game plans we haven't blitzed a lot. I feel like our d-line's done what we asked them to do."
Tetons enjoying successful volleyball season
The Williston State College volleyball team is 13-4 and had a nine-match varsity winning streak snapped last week by Bismarck State College.
The Tetons bounced back from the five-game loss with a 3-0 sweep of Lake Region State College on Monday.
"We have a very strong core of returning players with a lot of experience," WSC coach Alissa Hoehn said, "and then in the offseason we added some exciting freshman that have been contributing every game for us, so the combination has been pretty solid."
Hoehn said several players have performed well in various matches this season, with a trio of Williston High School products heavily involved.
Sophomore Jackie Lee leads the team with 103 kills and 17 blocks in 13 matches and is third on the team in digs. Sophomore libero Cassie Thomas has a team-high 214 digs, and freshman setter Jaden Lynch has 428 assists.
"Jackie is probably one of the most determined, athletic players I've ever had on my team," said Hoehn, a third-year coach at WSC. "When she steps up to the plate, she delivers every time. Her overall commitment and drive to lead the team is what makes her awesome. She's just an all-around great player for us."
Hoehn said she expects WSC, BSC and North Dakota State College of Science to battle for the Region 13 tournament title at the end of October. The Tetons host NDSCS tonight at 7.
Crookston snaps streak
The University of Minnesota, Crookston football team ended a 39-game conference losing streak with Saturday's 33-28 win against Southwest Minnesota State University.
Senior running back Richard Haley rushed for a career-high 238 yards as the Golden Eagles (1-3) won a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game for the first time since Sept. 27, 2008.
UMC hosts Minot State on Oct. 20.