Homecoming 2018: Bulldogs beat SMSU Mustangs 42-13
On a breezy afternoon on Oct. 13, 2018, a reported crowd of 3,908 fans poured into Malosky Stadium for UMD’s 2018 homecoming football game against Southwestern Minnesota State University Mustangs (SMSU). The Bulldogs continued their dominance with a 42 to 13 victory over the Mustangs.
The Bulldogs controlled most of the game by not allowing the Mustangs to get anything going on offense. The Mustangs were forced to punt four times and also turned the ball over on downs, not converting a first down when it was fourth down, twice.
The defense was great again, allowing just 240 yards of offense and generated three turnovers, including a fumble returned touchdown in the third quarter by senior defensive back Mitchell Johnson-Martin. This put the Bulldogs ahead 35 to 6.
The defense recorded 11 tackles for loss, as well as adding three sacks. It was a team effort with 24 players recording a tackle in the game.
“Defense played another confident football game,” Head Coach Curt Wiese said. “I thought we were able to get pressure on the quarterback. Our corners did a good job and our defensive front continues to play well against the run. Overall, [I am] pleased with our effort as a whole.”
The offense continued to roll, racking up 184 yards rushing. Even though they only threw for 150 yards, the Bulldogs averaged 6.8 yards per attempt. This helped them gain 5.4 yards per play.
“I think our offensive line and our tight ends did a good job tonight being able to establish the run,” Wiese said, “and that was the difference in the football game. We didn’t necessarily crease them in the passing game. We were able to run the ball consistently for all four quarters and we’re happy to be where are.”
Early in the second quarter, starting sophomore quarterback John Larson went down with a leg injury.
“My leg got fully extended and I came down on it,” Larson said. “I just went down and, I knew something was wrong here.”
Larson said that he is praying that it is not something serious, but has some doubt. He will be evaluated Monday Oct. 15 to confirm what the injury is.
Larson’s replacement, quarterback Joe Rybarczyk filled in nicely completing 10 of 13 throws for 90 yards and a touchdown and an interception. Rybarczyk also added 88 yards rushing on 11 attempts.
Next up, the Bulldogs will travel to Winona to play the 5-2 Winona State Warriors on Oct. 20, 2018, whom they haven’t played since the 2016 season.