Senior kicker Lance Schuveiller drilled a 26-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Southwest Minnesota State football team to a 32-30 win over Northern State on a windy Saturday in Aberdeen, S.D.
The Mustangs (1-1 overall, 1-1 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) began their game-winning drive with 1 minute, 4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and the ball on their own 22-yard line after the defense stopped the Wolves on a fourth-and-nine. Senior quarterback Tyler Peschong opened the SMSU drive with a 25-yard completion to Anthony Dean, but the Mustangs soon faced a four-and-15 from their own 42 after two incomplete passes and a five-yard loss.
Needing a first down to keep their hopes alive, the Mustangs converted on a huge play as Peschong found Dean for a 49-yard completion down to the NSU nine-yard line with five seconds left on the clock.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Loft / SMSU Athletics
Southwest Minnesota State receiver Tyler Erickson, left, reaches to grab a pass from quarterback Tyler Peschong (not pictured) while Northern State defensive back Maquis Mulkey leaps up to try to make a play on the ball during the first quarter of Saturday’s Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game in Aberdeen, S.D. Erickson caught the pass for a 34-yard touchdown.
SMSU had no timeouts left, so Peschong spiked the ball to stop the clock with three seconds remaining. That set up Schuveiller for the decisive field goal.
"It was one of those endings where when it's all over you're still in disbelief about what just happened," SMSU head coach Cory Sauter said. "But it was just good to get out of there with a win. Those are hard to come by and it definitely gave us an adrenaline boost going into next week's game."
The win moves the Mustangs to 1-1, while NSU falls to 0-2.
It was an up-and-down start to the game, as the Mustang defense forced a three-and-out and then came up with a blocked punt to give the Mustangs the ball at the NSU 12-yard line. But two plays later, NSU's Jayson Geditz picked off a pass by Peschong and ran 92 yards for a touchdown.
SMSU quickly responded on its next possession, and Peschong connected with Tyler Erickson for a 34-yard touchdown pass to cap a seven-play, 70-yard drive.
The game was back and forth from there, and each team had to battle a stiff wind that was 30-40 miles per hour. When the Mustangs were driving against the wind, they used their ground game effectively and piled up 188 yards rushing. Gannon Moore led the way with 19 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns.
"I thought we did a nice job eating a lot of clock in the two quarters we were going against the wind," Sauter said. That was our goal was to run the football and try to burn those quarters as quickly as possible so we could get our backs to the wind and do our entire offense."
"We had 180 yards rushing or so, so it was good to see that part of our offense come along a bit."
SMSU won the toss and deferred, which allowed the Mustangs to have the wind at their backs during the vital fourth quarter.
The Mustangs started the quarter with a defensive touchdown, as freshman Graham Ketterling recovered a fumble in the end zone with 11 minutes, 15 seconds left in the game to give the Mustangs a 29-23 edge.
With 4:20 remaining, the Wolves capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes with a four-yard touchdown run by John Hughes. After the extra point, NSU was up 30-29.
SMSU's ensuing drive stalled when Peschong was sacked on fourth-and-10 at the SMSU 36. Northern State had a chance to ice the game, but during a fourth-and-four play the Wolves had a delay of game penalty. Going for the first on fourth-and-nine, the Wolves were stopped again when Hughes was stuffed for no gain by SMSU linebacker J.J. Bobrowicz.
That set up SMSU's game-winning drive. After Peschong's passes to Dean, Schuveiller was the guy who was counted on to give the Mustangs the win. He was playing for the injured Mike Wenk, who has been the team's starting kicker/punter the past two seasons but is out with a bone bruise just below his knee.
Schuveiller, who had had a kick blocked in the team's opening-week loss to Minnesota-Duluth, nailed the crucial 26-yarder with the wind at his back and sent his team and the Mustang fans into a frenzy.
"Right before he went out to kick we just mentioned that he should think of it as a Wednesday practice, the day we work on our field goal stuff," Sauter said of Schuveiller. "He's been very solid in practice and it's just a matter of relaxing and doing your thing and not making it bigger than it needed to be. It's easier said than done. You still need a good snap, a good hold, good blocking and a good kick, so it's not automatic, but he was very happy to make that."
Peschong finished the game 15 of 33 passing for 225 yards and a touchdown. He also had 42 yards rushing. Abe Kos had five catches for 58 yards, and Erickson finished with three grabs for 48 yards.
The SMSU defense, which allowed nearly 470 yards per game last year, held Northern State to just 282 yards on Saturday. Of those 282 yards, 190 were on the ground. Bobrowicz led the defense with 10 tackles.
The Mustangs resume NSIC action next Saturday when they host Mary for the Ag Bowl. The Mauraders improved to 2-0 on the season after knocking off Augustana 31-25 on Saturday.
SMSU14 7 0 11-32
NSU9 7 7 7-30
NSU-Jayson Geditz 92 interception return (Felipe Alfaia kick fail), 12:15
SMSU-Tyler Erickson 34 pass from Tyler Peschong (Lance Schuveiller kick), 9:20
SMSU-Gannon Moore 36 run (Schuveiller kick), 6:35
NSU-Alfaia 23 field goal, 0:27
SMSU-Moore 4 run (Schuveiller kick), 14:51
NSU-Jared Jacobson 1 run (Alfaia kick), 0:37
NSU-Mark Hanley 45 pass from Jacobson (Alfaia kick), 10:19
SMSU-Graham Ketterling fumble recovery in end zone (Peschong rush), 11:15
NSU-John Hughes 4 run (Alfaia), 4:20
SMSU-Schuveiller 26 field goal, 0:00
First Downs: SMSU 19; NSU 16. Rushing Yards: SMSU 188; NSU 190. Passing Yards: SMSU 225; NSU 92. Total Offense: SMSU 413; NSU 282. Turnovers: SMSU 1; NSU 2. Penalties (Number-Yards): SMSU 5-30; NSU 2-20. Possession Time: SMSU 33:11; NSU 26:49. Third-Down Conversions: SMSU 5 of 14; NSU 3 of 13. Fourth-Down Conversions: SMSU 1 of 4; NSU 2 of 3.
Rushing: SMSU-Gannon Moore 19-117, Tyler Peschong 9-42, Warren Matthews 11-31. NSU-John Hughes 23-99, Jared Jacobson 18-84, Chris Nguyen 4-13.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): SMSU-Peschong 15-33-225-1. NSU-Jacobson 6-14-92-0.
Receiving: SMSU-Abe Kos 5-58, Tyler Erickson 3-48, Anthony Dean 2-74, Cody Condon 2-20, Matthews 2-(-5), Moore 1-30. NSU-Jordan Piatz 2-24, Ben Jastram 2-18, Mark Hanley 1-45, Chris Morton 1-5.
Tackles: SMSU-J.J. Bobrowicz 10, Mark Schollmeyer 8, A.J. Page 7, Tate Bunkers 6, Blake Pennock 6, Alex Burton 4, Graham Ketterling 4. NSU-Logan Fahnhorst 12, Jayson Geditz 7, Mason Thorstad 7, Mike Tuch 7, Logan Dosch 7.
Interceptions: SMSU-none. NSU-Geditz.
Fumble Recoveries: SMSU-Ketterling, Cole Oswald. NSU-none.
Sacks: SMSU-Jacob Levtzow 1. NSU-Ryan Weybrecht 0.5, Michael Alberts 0.5.