FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s football team knew it had a tall task ahead of it on Saturday with No. 1 Morningside College coming to town. Unfortunately though the Warriors (4-2, 2-2 GPAC) proved to not much of a match for the top-ranked Mustangs (6-0, 4-0 GPAC) as they cruised to a 77-21 victory on Saturday at Heedum Field.
“We made (Morningside) look like the national champions, and they may go on and win it,” said Midland head coach Jeff Jamrog. “We’ve played them tough the last two years, I really thought that this would be a game to see the progress we’ve been making.”
Morningside boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the country, and the Warriors, along with nearly 1,200 fans in Fremont, got to see firsthand.
The Mustangs totaled 832 yards of total offense on Saturday, their highest yardage output of the season. Quarterback Trent Solsma, the nation’s leading passer, was 19-22 for 528 yards and a season-high seven passing touchdowns.
His leading receiver, Connor Niles, further added to his case to be the nation’s most dangerous skill player, as he hauled in eight catches for 307 yards and four touchdowns.
Midland just couldn’t keep up as Morningside set the tone early, as Solsma and Niles connected on a 74-yard touchdown pass on the first Mustang drive of the game.
The Warriors responded with a big 48-yard rushing touchdown from quarterback Payton Nelson two drives later, and the Warriors trailed just 7-6.
Morningside quickly put an end to any chance of being upset as the Mustangs rattled off an impressive eight straight touchdown and 56 unanswered points to lead Midland 63-6.
The Warriors scored twice more in the contest, both in the third quarter. One was a huge 90-yard kickoff return touchdown from Dalton Tremayne, the other a 36-yard pass and catch from Nelson to wide receiver Darrin Gentry.
Midland’s offense struggled for most of the contest, as Nelson finished just 10-22 for 109 yards passing on the day. Nelson ran for 88 net yards, while five other Warrior ball carriers totaled just 27 yards.
“It’s no doubt a step back,” Jamrog said, “but we can take two steps forward with the remainder of the games that we have, and I know this team will do it.”
Midland is officially past the halfway point of its season now, but with just two losses to ranked opponents, they are set up for success down the stretch. Next week the Warriors will travel to Hastings, Nebraska for the annual battle for the Watchorn-McLaughlin Trophy as they take on Hastings (3-3, 1-3 GPAC). Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13 at Lloyd Wilson Field.