WAYNE, NEB.(USF) – Led by a spirited effort from the defense and a big-play offense, the University of Sioux Falls Football Team (7-3, 4-1 NSIC South) exploded for 21 fourth quarter points and rolled to a 38-17 win over Wayne State (6-4, 3-3 NSIC South).
With the victory, USF has won five of its past six games and will conclude the regular season with a Senior Day game on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1 pm at Upper Iowa. USF is 4-1 in the NSIC South and tied with Augustana for the divisional lead. USF is tied for fourth overall at 7-3 in the NSIC. As a result of the win, USF, which improved to 9-0 all-time against Wayne State, is now 38-11 on the road and 38-11 at home in the NSIC with 76 total wins.
The win today was an example of a team utilizing all three phases to earn an important league win.
USF Head Coach Jon Anderson credited a defense with seven sacks and a turnover, a special team’s unit that shined and an offense that also had big plays throughout the 60 minutes of play. Among USF’s big plays was a 64-yard TD run from Thuro Reisdorfer, a 44-yard kickoff return off an onside kick by Jacqueze Lockett, and a 23-yard rush on a reverse for a score by Carter Slykhuis. USF led, 7-0, after one quarter, 14-10 at halftime; 17-10 after three quarters and then had a 21-7 advantage in the final quarter to pick up a second convincing road win (Minnesota State, 45-35, Oct. 30). USF is now 4-1 on the road this year.
“We worked hard this week and were prepared to face a really talented Wayne State team,” said Anderson, who now has a 31-14 record at USF. “The defensive line got after it and pressured their quarterback all day. Then, our special teams had a really good day and it was great to see Jacqueze Lockett make that play at the end. I love that for Jacqueze. And, our offense was solid with a group of backs and offensive line that are unselfish, work hard care for each other,” he said in a post-game interview.
Junior running back Thuro Reisdorfer of Sioux Falls moved to 10th on USF’s career list with 2,288 yards after rushing for 146 yards on 20 carries and a 64-yard TD run. Reisdorfer, who averaged 7.3 per carry, led the NSIC’s top rushing attack to another big day with 241 rushing yards on 34 carries or 7.1 per tote. Reisdorfer had his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season and 11th in his career for a tie with Gabe Watson (2017-18) for the seventh most in school history. In addition, he is just one of five backs (David Ruter, 1996-98; Mike Dvoracek, 2004-06; Nick Kortan, 2001-02; and Nephi Garcia (2013-14) with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons. Reisdorfer, who had 1,150 yards in 2019, has accumulated 1,036 yards this year with eight TDs.
USF also had 56 rushing yards from Landon Freeman, who also had two returns for 49 yards and a pass reception for seven yards. Overall, USF’s offense averaged 6.8 yards per play with 49 total plays for 333 yards. Redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Mullen was 10-of-15 for 92 yards with a TD pass and a 12-yard TD run. Dominic Pegley led the receivers with four catches for 59 yards while Carte Slykhuis had three catches for 24 yards and registered his first rushing TD from 23 yards out.
As noted by USF senior defensive lineman Joey Wehrkamp, the defense was ready to go against Wayne. State.
“It is all of us together,” he said in a post-game interview. “We work hard as a unit and with a mix of younger players and veterans, we play together as one. We knew that we wanted to leave it all on the field,” added Wehrkamp, who had 1.5 sacks, TFL and four tackles today as part of a unit that totaled seven sacks. Brady Crawford had a career-best two sacks for a loss of 14 yards while Cal Botsford, Taj Wyatt and Jonathan Taylor also recorded sacks as USF’s defensive front pressure WSC all day. Taylor had a sack for his fifth straight game. Linebacker Grant Rice also had a fumble recovery.
The USF defense was led by senior defensive back Nate Durfee, who had eight tackles, including six solo stops. Senior linebacker Harvey Enalls had seven tackles with four solo stops, and a TFL. He now has 177 career stops. Linebacker Dylan Law added five tackles as did Connor Aldrich.
Aside from the kick return (onside kick) for a TD of 44 yards by Lockett, USF had three returns on kickoffs for 55 yards and two punt returns for 23 yards by Tanner Beaton. Freshman Seamus Hall averaged 46.2 yards per punt on five kicks for 231 yards with a long of 58 yards. He had two kicks of 50 yards and placed two inside the 20-yard line, which gives him 11 on the season. Hernandez was 5-of-5 on extra points (40-of-41 this season) and made his only field goal attempt as he improved to 7-of-11 on the season.
In the opening quarter, the Cougars grabbed a 7-0 lead after the defense had a crucial stop. With Reisdorfer and Freeman coming up with big gains on the ground, USF moved to the one-yard line. Then, Mullen tossed a one-yard TD throw on third and goal to freshman tight end Mark Leonard, who recorded his first career TD.
The Wildcats answered with a long scoring drive that used 3:44 off the clock and covered 75 yards in eight plays when QB Nick Bohn, who threw for 302 yards by completing 21-of-43 passes, scored on a six-yard run.
USF had the answer. The Cougars moved ahead, as Slykhuis scored his first career rushing TD on a 23-yard reverse which culminated a 3-play, 73-yard scoring drive.
With four seconds left before halftime, Alex Powders connected on a 20-yard field goal to draw WSC to within, 14-10. The Wildcats covered 42 yards in 12 plays and used 2:47 of the game clock.
After holding the Wildcats in the third quarter, USF built a 17-10 lead when freshman placekicker Nicholas Hernandez converted a 28-yard field goal with 11:52 to play. The big plays of the drive included passes by Mullen of 35 and 10 yards to Pegley.
USF took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter when they put up 21 points. With 10:21 to play, Mullen scored his second career rushing TD on a 12-yard run. His score capped a seven-play, 51-yard scoring drive that used up 3:57 on the clock.
After forcing a WSC punt, the Cougars turned to its All-NSIC back for a big play. Reisdorfer delivered with a 64-yard scoring run as USF took a 31-10 lead. For Reisdorfer that TD was the ninth of the season and his 22nd career rushing score.
WSC tried to battle back as Bohn connected with Taurean Grady for a seven-yard TD at the 4:44 mark. Then, the Wildcats elected to kick an onside kick and Lockett was ready. He picked up the ball and took it 44-yards for a kick return TD.