USF Cougars improve to 5-2 with 34-14 win over UMary



With all three phases – offense, defense and special teams – stepping up in different but equally productive ways, the University of Sioux Falls Football Team (5-2, 2-0 NSIC South) earned its third straight win with a 34-14 win over U-Mary (2-5, 1-1 NSIC North) at Bob Young Field on Saturday.

 With its third straight win, the Cougars now stand 5-2 overall and sit at the top of the NSIC South with a 2-0 mark. Over the past three weeks, USF has a 97-to-47 scoring differential in wins over city rival Augustana (28-26); Southwest Minnesota State (35-7) and U-Mary (34-14).

In generating a season-high 517 yards, USF averaged 7.4 yards on 70 plays. For the second time this season, USF had over 300 yards rushing with 311 on 49 rushes for a 6.3-yard average. The defense held a high-powered U-Mary offense to 369 yards on 73 plays while recording four sacks and picking off a pass. USF has six interceptions over the past three weeks.

“With a high powered offense coming in it takes a lot of contributions to slow them down,” said USF Head Coach Jon Anderson, who team helped him win his 29th game as head coach for the Cougars. “It is important when all three phases step up, take care of the ball and contribute. I thought it was a really good program wide win when all three phases at a high level and supporting each other,” added Anderson, whose team will host Winona State on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Bob Young Field.

Junior running back Thuro Reisdorfer had 19 carries for 145 yards with two TDs as he now has nine career 100-yard rushing games and four this year. The nine career 100-yard rushing games ranks 10th in school history. The Sioux Falls junior also moved up to 15th on USF’s career rushing chart with 1,924 yards on 284 carries (6.77 avg.) and now has 26 career TDs including 21 by rush.

For the second straight week and the third time this year, redshirt sophomore Landon Freeman surpassed 100 yards as he had 10 carries for 112 yards and a 44-yard TD run. In the past two weeks Freeman, who has 392 yards on the year on 57 carries for a 6.87 yards per game, has accumulated 236 yards rushing on just 19 carries for 12.42 yards per tote. Aside from the rushing offense, redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Mullen completed 16-of-21 passes for 206 yards with a pair of TDs as he now has 11 on the season. He threw TDs to his two main weapons, Ty Smith and Dominic Pegley. Smith, who caught his first TD since Nov. 10, 2018 against Wayne State. Smith finished with a team-high six receptions for 65 yards and the eight-yard TD reception. Pegley hauled in five catches for a season-best 98 yards with a 57-yard TD receptions. In total, Mullen completed passes to eight different receivers.

Defensively, the Cougars asserted pressure on the league’s top ranked passer, Logan Nelson, who completed 30-of-46 passes for 310 yards but 42 yards short of his average. USF had four sacks including Joey Wehrkamp who had his fifth of the season while Amaurii Grosskopf had a sack and two TFLs. Jess Ybarra had his first career sack while Jonathan Taylor also had a sack with two TFLs. As a unit, USF recorded nine tackles for loss, had five pass breakups and an interception by Carter Lohr, who had his third pick in two weeks. In addition, USF limited U-Mary to 59 yards rushing on 27 carries for 2.2 yards per carry.

“Our defensive line has been doing an outstanding line all along and doing it from a pressure standpoint with just a four main rush,” said Anderson. “When you can do that it is a critical to allow us to concentrate on coverages. Last three weeks, up front we have been doing a great job. They are impacting throws and coverage,” said Anderson.

Senior defensive back Lee Pitts, who had a pick-six a week ago, followed up with a team high five tackles – all solo stops – to go with two pass breakups.

“It was executing our assignments and doing our jobs.  We didn’t play anywhere close to perfect but at the end of the day, we worked hard and accomplished our goals for this week. It all starts with the defensive line who makes our job easier because they have pressure all over the place. We just have to make sure we keep playing sound, fundamental football,” said Pitts, whose father, Ron, and grandfather, Elijah, both played for the Green Bay Packers.  

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