SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Four paydirt strikes on the first four offensive opportunities told the tale of the 17th Battle for the Saddle clash Saturday, Oct. 12.
Morningside College, entering with long regular-season, Great Plains Athletic Conference, and overall win streaks, didn’t miss a beat at Briar Cliff University’s Memorial Field. Head coach Steve Ryan‘s squad marched 43, 57 and 91 yards in en route to the end zone, as sophomore quarterback Joe Dolincheck (SO/Bellevue, NE) (Bellevue, Neb.) continued to impress with an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Reid Jurgensmeier (JR/Wahoo, NE) (Wahoo, Neb.) and a 57-yard six-point play to senior wide receiver Bo Els (SR/Erie, CO) (Erie, Colo.) followed by junior running back Arnijae “AP” Ponder (Griffin, Ga.) bowling in from two yards for a 21-0 advantage early in the second period. Els came back to add another Maroon score, taking a Charger punt and weaving his way 72 yards to the house, upping the lead to 28-0.
The Mustangs, moving to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference, maintained the lead from that point towards a 49-14 victory. Ponder increased the visiting numbers on the scoreboard to 42 with his second and third scoring runs of the afternoon, and freshman quarterback Tate Robards (FR/Tulsa, OK) (Tulsa, Okla.) found Els for his third touchdown of the day on a four-yard route midway through the final stanza. BCU did break through with two point drives in the last 6:34 to avoid the shutout.
Ponder, highlighting a special personal afternoon as he became the third Morningside running back to reach 3,000 yards, was a workhorse for the offense. He carried the ball 26 times for 158 yards to earn his ninth straight 100-yards-or-more effort. Dolincheck clicked off his fifth straight 200-yards-or-more passing effort, going an efficient 21-of-25 for 342 yards, bringing him less than 300 shy of the 2000-yard mark this season with Els hauling in six for 123; sophomore wide receiver Austin Johnson (SO/Sioux Falls, SD) (Sioux Falls, S.D.) taking in five receptions for 102 yards and Jurgensmeier ending up only eight yards shy of three receivers with 100-or-more yards.
The Mustangs’ defense, lobbying for a second shutout, kept the home offense off the scoreboard for over three quarters until the final stages. Senior defensive back Klayton Nordeen (SR/Alliance, NE) (Alliance, Neb.) led the stand with nine tackles, an interception and one and a half tackles for losses. The senior linebacking tandem of twin brothers Jacob and Joel Katzer (SR/Baldwin City, KS) (Baldwin City, Kan.) combined for 17 stops, while junior defensive lineman Seth Maitlen (JR/Creston, IA) (Creston, Iowa) proved difficult for the Chargers’ offense, picking up three tackles for losses and two sacks among eight tackles.
Morningside, sporting a run of 34 straight regular season, 38 successive GPAC and 20 consecutive victories, returns to the home FieldTurf at Elwood Olsen Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19. The University of Jamestown visits for a 1 p.m. kickoff.