SIOUX CITY, IOWA – Eight first-half drives … seven touchdowns.
It was a simple success formula for top-ranked National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Morningside College to move to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference play. The Maroon, in front of an appreciative and sun-splashed crowd at Elwood Olsen Stadium, gave their backers plenty to cheer about, posting points on the scoreboard in nearly every way possible.
Freshman defensive back Joshua Miller (FR/Lincoln, NE) (Lincoln, Neb.) got the ball rolling in the opening moments. After a three-and-out forced by the Mustangs’ defense, he roared through the Jimmies’ punt protection and sent Izaak Myles’ initial attempt over his head and out of the end zone with a block for a 2-0 lead. Six plays and 46 yards later as head coach Steve Ryan‘s team engineered itself down the field, junior running back Arnijae “AP” Ponder (Griffin, Ga.) broke through the left side for a one-yard touchdown run, and Mside was off to the races. Sophomore quarterback Joe Dolincheck (SO/Bellevue, NE) (Bellevue, Neb.), en route to his sixth straight 200-yard-plus passing performance, fired four touchdown strikes with three going to junior wide receiver Reid Jurgensmeier (JR/Wahoo, NE) (Wahoo, Neb.) grabbing three of them and Ponder the other; Ponder made it three total end zone trips on the day with a two-yard scamper; and freshman defensive back Jamal Jones (FR/Adelanto, CA) (Adelanto, Calif.) taking advantage of a tipped ball and bursting 30 yards for six points concluded the touchdown tale of the first 30 minutes. Freshman placekicker Parker Hansen (FR/Indianola, IA) (Indianola, Iowa) tagged on a 22-yard field goal for a 54-0 halftime lead.
Over the course of the second half, new faces took aim at making an impression for the Mustangs. Ten different receivers caught passes from three separate quarterbacks, as freshman Tate Robards (FR/Tulsa, OK) (Broken Arrow, Okla.) was four-for-seven for 36 yards and narrowly missed a long scoring strike, and sophomore Jake Taute (SO/Cedar Park, TX) (Cedar Park, Tex.) finished two-for-two. Freshman wideout Jake Knott (FR/Elkhorn, NE) (Elkhorn, Neb.) tallied two catches for 15 yards to top the newcomer group. Two more underclassmen turned in numbers on the ground, as freshman Tupak Kpeayeh (FR/Sioux Falls, SD) (Sioux Falls, S.D.) showed off more of his high-speed electricity with six carries for 39 yards, and sophomore Matt Strecker (SO/Columbus, NE) (Columbus, Neb.) gained two rushing attempts.
The defense also had many highlights. Senior linebacker Jacob Katzer (SR/Baldwin City, KS) (Baldwin City, Ks.) topped the charts with seven tackles, two of which sacked the visiting quarterback; freshman defensive lineman Greg Haake (Stapleton, Neb.) showed himself strong with five tackles along with junior defensive lineman Dominick Barrett (JR/Baltimore, MD) (Boys Town, Neb.) as Barrett and junior defensive lineman Seth Maitlen (JR/Creston, IA) (Creston, Iowa) combined for a third sack; junior defensive lineman Carter Anderson (JR/Blair, NE) (Blair, Neb.) bowled his way through the Jimmies’ front line for a fourth sack; and Jones registered the pick-six. All of those superlatives added up to a second shutout of the season for defensive coordinator Casey Jacobsen‘s group.
Morningside begins back-to-back road contests Saturday, Oct. 26. They take a northern trip to Madison, S.D., for a 1 p.m. kickoff against Dakota Wesleyan University.