‘We think we’re a good team’: Northern State football off to its best start in 18 years

KELOLAND.com Original

ABERDEEN, S.D. (KELO) — Northern State cruised to a 41-10, statement win over USF last Saturday. Now the Wolves are looking to build on that success.

Northern State snapped a four game losing skid to USF, earning the Wolves their first win over the Cougars since 1959.

“It’s our first win as a program over them in fifty years and to do that in one year, in one game, man that’s really special and it speaks a lot to how ready our team was to play,” Northern State head coach Mike Schmidt said.

The Wolves are now 3-1 this season, which is their best start in 18 years.

“I don’t think anybody in the locker room is shocked at all. I really think, that we think we’re a good team and nobody in the locker room is shocked by this,” Schmidt said. “We understand how shocked the outside world can be, because they haven’t seen this out of this program and out of this team to win a game like this over a great program.”

Northern owns the third best scoring offense in the NSIC (Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) as the team has been able to be two dimensional.

“That opens it up for every team. If you can run the ball as effectively as we did, it just opens the passing game up and I tell you what, you don’t want to leave those guys on the outside one on one, because they are ridiculous athletes at this level,” Trautman said.

Despite only playing two home games, Dacotah Bank Stadium is proving to provide the Wolves with a distinct advantage.

“For me, I’ve never played in anything like it. It’s easy to go out there and have fun, because you see the fans, you hear the fans, the sideline is rocking,” Lucas said. “The energy is just up. You walk anywhere in here and the energy is just up.”

“That homefield advantage is crazy. I can’t thank the community enough for putting together a stadium like this in Aberdeen, South Dakota,” Trautman said. “It’s unbelievable and I can’t wait to play a couple more games here for sure.”

Head Coach Mike Schmidt had to wait a year to coach his first game at Northern due to the pandemic. Other than an overtime road loss to MSU Mankato, it’s been a near perfect start to his tenure.

“Enough credit can’t be said to coach Schmidt and his staff that he put together here. It’s unbelievable the changes that we’ve made as coach has been here 18 months, I think,” Trautman said. “That’s a reason a guy like me comes back. I’m in my sixth year, I’m taking extra classes and I could be doing something else, but I just love this game. I love this team and it’s just really awesome to see the fruits of our labor really come to fruition today and keep going forward with it.”

“We’d like to be 4-0 of course, but that’s okay. We’re just going to keep building, one week at a time. You know, everyday we preach being better than we were before, even from today. We played a great game, but we’ve got to keep building,” Lucas said.

The Wolves got their signature win on Saturday, but they still have seven games yet to play.

“Can we finally have a signature win and now we can go deal with the success. We know we’ve got a gauntlet ahead,” Schmidt said. “We have a really challenging schedule. We’ve still got to go on the road all over the place.”

Northern State will host the University of Mary for its homecoming on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m.

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