Dragon Football Rallies Past Upper Iowa 33-28

Published: Sep. 26, 2021 at 10:59 AM CDT
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (MSUM Athletics) — The Minnesota State University Moorhead football team rallied from a 21-10 second-half deficit with 23 unanswered points in a 33-28 win over Upper Iowa in action Saturday at Scheels Field at Nemzek Stadium. Senior receiver Grady Bresnahan became MSUM’s all-time leader in receptions during the win.

MSUM is now 2-2 overall and in the NSIC while Upper Iowa fell to 0-4 in both.

“It was the epitome of a team win,” MSUM head coach Steve Laqua said. “All three phases stuck together. We overcame adversity and found a way to win.”

Bresnahan became MSUM’s all-time leading receiver in the game. He needed four catches to tie Jabari Taylor’s record of 214 and finished the game with eight catches for 101 yards and two scores. Bresnahan now has 218 career catches.

Freshman quarterback Tommy Falk was 33-of-47 for 428 yards and four touchdowns in the game. He was intercepted once. The yards and touchdown totals were career highs.

Including Bresnahan, MSUM had three 100-yard receivers, including big days from junior Trent Marquart (eight catches, 103 yards) and sophomore Ryan Bieberdorf (eight catches, 141 yards, one touchdown). Senior receiver Ryan Harvey-Turner had three catches for 42 yards and a score.

Senior linebacker Matt Schoh and freshman linebacker Josiah Behm led the defense with 11 tackles apiece. Senior defensive end Darius Woods-Steichen, sophomore defensive lineman Caleb Doeden and sophomore defensive back Jake Bettcher had sacks.

MSUM was down 21-10 early in the fourth quarter when Falk hit Bresnahan for a 16-yard touchdown. With the two point conversion successful, MSUM cut the lead to 21-18 with 14:33 left.

The Dragons got a safety four minutes later when a snap went over the head of Upper Iowa quarterback Marcus Orr. They capitalized on the good field position from the free kick by going on a 6-play, 54-yard drive, capped off by an 11-yard pass from Falk to Bieberdorf. The Dragons missed the two-point conversion but led 26-21.

The defense then forced a three-and-out, capped off by Doeden’s sack, and MSUM got the ball in Upper Iowa territory. Falk hit Bieberdorf for a big 28-yard gain, and then on a third down, found Harvey-Turner for a 16-yard score to put the game to 33-21 with 3:09 left.

Upper Iowa went 75 yards on nine plays and took 2:07 off the clock and score to make it 33-28. The Dragons recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock to secure the win.

Freshman Garret Meehl connected on a 29-yard field goal on the opening drive to put MSUM up 3-0. Upper Iowa scored the next 14 points to take a 14-3 lead.

Bresnahan hauled in a 29-yard scoring pass from Falk in the second quarter to cut the lead to 14-10 which was the halftime score.

MSUM hosts nationally-ranked Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 2 for homecoming.

Steve d’Eustachio Stat of the Game: Today’s game was the first for the Dragons here at home on this date in 50 years. The 34-0 shutout of Winona State on Sept. 25, 1971 under then second-year head coach Ross Fortier was their first win in a perfect 6-0 NIC campaign. It was the first of nine league championships for the Dragons in the 23 years under Fortier.

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