The Charger football team improved to 2-0 for the first time in program history in dominating fashion with a 49-20 victory against Dakota State in Madison, SD.
The Trojans entered the contest ranked #25 in the NAIA coaches poll, but Briar Cliff showed no signs of being intimidated as the Chargers jumped ahead 21-0 after one quarter of play and led 35-0 at the half.
“This was a great effort by our players and staff,” head coach Dennis Wagner said. “I thought we lost our focus in the second half, we still have a lot to work on.”
Through two contests, the Briar Cliff defense has yet to allow a point by opponents in the first half and had an interception returned for a touchdown for the second consecutive game as Markel Roby picked off a Jared Richardson pass late in the first quarter and took it 75 yards for the score.
The offense has been impressive for BC as well, scoring 40+ points in consecutive games for the first time in program history. The Chargers 49 points is the most ever in a road contest for the blue and gold and second most in any contest behind a 54-point performance against Dordt in 2013. Kicker Steven Delia broke a Briar Cliff single-game record with seven made PATs.
RB Kwame Johnson was a big story for the Cliff as he rushed for 94 yards and two TDs, both in the first quarter. Noah Ylagan contributed to the ground attack as well with 65 rushing yards and a score.
Quarterback Brad Cagle continued to show his dual-threat abilities as he went 14-for-24 through the air for 284 yards with two touchdowns, while adding 50 yards rushing and a score. Cagle distributed the ball well as he found six different receivers in the contest with Elijah Brownhauling in the most passes with five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown. Khamren Davenport led all players in the game in receiving yards with 154 on three catches.
Overall the Chargers outgained the Trojans 508-350 as each offense was on the field for 71 plays. Briar Cliff recorded more kickoff return yards, 114-99, despite four fewer chances, thanks in large part to a 78 yard return by LaDarrien Bowman that set up a short field for the Charger offense. Each team moved the chains for first downs 19 times and BC was flagged 12 times for 107 yards compared to just three infractions for Dakota State for 30 yards.
The win marked the second victory over a top 25 team all-time for the Chargers, with the other coming on a 14-7 triumph on the road at #13 Midland Lutheran in 2004.
The loss drops Dakota State to 1-2 on the season as the Trojans take on Wisconsin-Stevens Point next week. Brodie Frederiksen, the NAIA rushing leader on the season, had another solid performance with 191 rushing yards and a touchdown. Frederiksen is averaging 211 yards per game on the ground. Richardson struggled in the passing game against the BC defense as he completed just 13 passes on 34 attempts and was sacked three times, twice by Logan Knudson. Richardson finished with 144 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception.
Briar Cliff starts GPAC play next week as the Chargers host Hastings in a battle of 2-0 teams on Saturday, September 15 at Memorial Field.