The University of Sioux Falls football team picked up its first win over a ranked NCAA Division II opponent with a 32-19 road victory against no. 16 St. Cloud State University in its first-ever contest as a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
One of the most anticipated season-openers in school history began with Husky quarterback Phillip Klaphake being picked off by Robert Virgil and ended with the NSIC North Offensive Preseason Player of the Year being hauled to the ground thirteen yards behind the line of scrimmage by Matt White.
"We've got a blue-collar football team that was ready to play tonight," third-year coach Jed Stugart said. "This was a big win and I couldn't be prouder of the effort they put forth."
A career-day by senior quarterback Taylor Perkins coupled with a defense that harassed Klaphake for four quarters allowed USF to never trail in the game.
USF is now 37-16-50 all-time in season openers.
With 12:44 remaining in the first quarter, a bad snap from center sailed over the head of junior Husky quarterback Phillip Klaphake, giving USF a 2-0 lead on the safety. Two minutes later, USF senior quarterback Taylor Perkins connected with Carrington Hanna with 10:41 on the clock giving the Cougars an 8-0 advantage.
Perkins was intercepted with 7:06 remaining and the turnover led to the Huskies' first score of the game. Klaphake found Austin Harrington in the endzone on the first play of the drive to cut the deficit to 8-6 after a missed extra point. The Cougars answered with an eight play, 75 yard drive that was capped by Kristian Porter's four-yard touchdown run to give USF the 15-6 lead after the first quarter.
The teams traded punts to start the second quarter and Klaphake opened the ensuing drive with a 39 yard bomb to Harrington and finished it with a six yard rushing touchdown to trim the margin to 15-13. But the Cougars silenced the Husky faithful with two more touchdowns and went to the visitor's locker room in front 29-13.
Senior kicker Braden Wieking added a career-long 48 yard field goal in the third quarter and the Huskies tacked on a late touchdown to create the final margin.
Perkins had a monster game in just his fourth career start. The senior completed 25 of 42 attempts for a career-high 254 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Hanna hauled in eight catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Jeremiah Oates added 76 yards on six catches with a score.
Porter led the Cougar backs with 77 yards on 15 carries while Jordan Taylor ran for 61
yards on 31 attempts.
USF defensive coordinator Jon Anderson said earlier in the week that the Cougar defense was ready to make a mark in the program's first ever NSIC contest. The front seven did just that, holding the no. 16 St. Cloud State Huskies to 97 total rushing yards, the 16th straight game that no single player has tallied a 100-yard rushing game against the Cougars.
Anderson's pass rush was eager to hound the Husky signal caller and they did just that, with the senior linebacker trio of Eric Anderson, Matt White and Nick Bonte racking up four sacks (34 yards) and 22 tackles.
The Cougars open their home slate next Saturday against MSU-Moorhead. Kickoff at the Bob is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Courtesy: Steph Pendrys
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