MSU football seeks a different outcome against Northern State

Alex Eisen/MDN MSU junior Lane Torgerson (83) claps his hands after forcing a fumble last week against Minnesota Duluth at Herb Parker Stadium.

Turning the page after 49-3 drubbing in Week 1 against Minnesota Duluth, the Minot State football team gets a team closer to its caliber in the Beavers’ first road test of the season in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Youthful MSU (0-1) takes on Northern State (0-1) at 7 p.m. this evening with the hopes of bouncing back from a disappointing result last week while also snapping an eight-game losing streak to the Wolves, which dates back to 1993.

“They have a new offense, so they are trying to work out some kinks it looks like and some of their players are young as well,” MSU head football coach Mike Aldrich said. “So, I think there is a lot of similarities in the two teams. They lost a couple of their big time players from last year, so they are trying to get back on track a little bit too. I think it will be a good game. It’s one of those 50-50 games that could go either way.”

Northern State lost its season opener to Bemidji State, 38-17, despite the Wolves dominating the time of possession (over 12 minutes more than BSU) and picking up eight more first downs.

It was Bemidji’s rushing attack that did the Wolves in, as BSU picked up 274 yards on the ground and averaged 6.5 yards per carry.

MSU’s rushing defense wasn’t any better against Duluth, as the Beavers were gashed for 384 yards with 8.9 yards averaged per carry.

Duluth quarterback John Larson had the most rushing attempts against MSU last week with nine and went for 50 yards and a touchdown. The Beavers will attempt to slow down another dual-threat quarterback tonight in Northern State’s Hunter Trautman.

Trautman rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries last week while also going 20-for-43 passing for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“He can definitely move and they get him out of the pocket on some sprint out passes and naked bootleg type of plays,” Aldrich said about Trautman. “He has the ability to pull the ball and run with it and, when he gets out in space, he is pretty athletic. So, that adds a whole other dimension in defending a team. Very similar to what we saw with Duluth and their quarterback, who was pretty good in space.”

MSU only averaged 2.5 yards per play for a total of 137 yards against Duluth. Seventy of those yards belonged to backup quarterback Ben Bolinske using his legs to make things happen late in the game.

Bolinske and starting quarterback Andy Jones both threw for less than 30 yards in Week 1.

“For both of them, and our offense in general, it was a rough day,” Aldrich said. “We need to be better in the passing game before we can say this is our guy, one way or the other. Both will go into this game (against NSU) with the opportunity to play and play a lot to see what both these guys can do. Hopefully have more success, so we can make a determination if we are going to stay as we are or if we are going to make a change.”

Regardless of only scoring three points to open the season, there were still three positive takeaways the Beavers could build off of going into tonight’s game against NSU.

1. Kiante Goudeau

The senior defensive back is a ball magnet. Goudeau picked off two passes — giving him five interceptions in his last eight quarters played dating back to last season — and recovered a fumble against Duluth. Why the Bulldogs continued to throw the ball Goudeau’s way when they were averaging 8.9 yards on the ground is a little head scratching.

“He is a competitor and he is very quiet,” Aldrich said about Goudeau. “He isn’t going to be a real rah-rah guy, but he will go up to somebody and talk to them personally and be a rah-rah guy one-on-one. He has matured a ton and become a great senior leader, especially with how many young guys we have.”

2. JoseLuis Moreno

The junior kicker was busy last week. Moreno knocked in a 19-yard field goal, but did most of his damage punting. He had nine punts in total, averaging 46.2 yards and had four punts of 50-plus yards.

“We need to see consistency out of our kicking game, so that was really good to see (Moreno) do that,” Aldrich said.

3. Experience Matters

MSU had 19 true freshman and redshirt freshman combined see playing time in the season opener.

“When you play as many young guys that we played, you’re expected mistakes,” Aldrich said. “You’re expected failures and guys to fall down. And that’s OK. That’s one of the things we harp on, we don’t want to have the fear of failure… They’re not really intimated by anything. We just had some shock and awe with what happened on Thursday. But, I think now they are going to settle in. They are not really freshman anymore, not with how many plays those guys played.”

What happened a week ago can’t be erased, but some redemption can be earned back tonight.

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.