ABERDEEN, S.D. - Northern State exorcised it's Gypsy Day demons on Saturday.
Northern State pulled away from Minot State University 31-17 to win its annual Homecoming game at Swisher Field. The Wolves are now 63-27-3 in Gypsy Day games.
The Wolves (3-3) hadn't won a Gypsy Day game during since a 2008 victory over Minnesota, Crookston.
Minot State University junior receiver Wayne Peters eludes the tackle of Northern State defensive back Jayson Geditz during a game Saturday in Aberdeen, S.D. Photo courtesy of John Davis/Aberdeen News.
And there were plenty of players that contributed to this win. NSU quarterback Jared Jacobson completed 25-for-44 for a career-high 330 yards and four TDs. He completed passes to nine different receivers and also rushed for 67 yards.
"Week-by-week, we are finding better timing with our receivers," Jacobson said. "Things are starting to fall into place a little better. They had a good game plan coming out for our run game, so we had to do different things. Coming out throwing the ball was the way we that we got involved and got the ball moving for us today."
Jacobson threw two touchdown strikes in less than a two-minute span in the first quarter as the Wolves jumped out to a 14-0 lead. On the Wolves' second drive, Jacobson threw a 23-yard TD reception to Jordan Piatz. The Wolves' defense then forced a three and out. On the first play of their next drive, Jacobson threw a 67-yard TD bomb to Chris Morton - just one minute, 12 seconds after the first TD.
"Mentally when the ball is in the air like that, you just have to be confident," Morton said. "You just have to tell yourself, 'I've got this,' and catch it and take off as fast as you can."
It was Morton's first TD reception of the season. He finished with three catches for 80 yards, his best receiving game of the season.
"Honestly, it feels amazing," Morton said. "When you are kind of in a rut there as a player, once you have a game where you feel like you finally got out of it, it feels really good."
NSU wide receiver Mark Hanley also had a good game for the Wolves. He finished with nine receptions for 121 yards and two receiving touchdowns in the third quarter. Hanley's first receiving TD of the game put NSU up 21-7 in the third. His second one gave NSU a 28-10 lead with 40 seconds before the fourth quarter.
However, the Beavers needed just two plays after the score to get a TD of their own. MSU freshman quarterback Zac Cunha threw a 63-yard pass to Porter Sturm down to Northern's two-yard line. Blake Eggl then punched it in, pulling the Beavers within 28-17.
"Other than that, they really didn't do much for any kind of sustained drives or yardage," Wolves coach Tom Dosch said. "That is one thing we talked about defensively is we have to make them earn it and giving up big plays isn't doing that, but the kids responded and came and did some good things."
After NSU cornerback Paul Woodward also hauled in his first interception of the season, Felipe Alfaia booted a 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to account for the only scoring of the final 15 minutes.
"We didn't score as many points as we would have wanted to," Dosch said, "but we really controlled the ball and really controlled the field position the whole fourth quarter and I thought that was real critical."
NSU defensive end Ikee Sirleaf set up the first Jacobson-to-Hanley TD as he sacked Cunha and knocked the ball loose from him. Logan Dosch recovered the fumble and two plays later, Hanley was in the end zone.
"I just came off the edge and just kept fighting and fighting," Sirleaf said about the forced fumble. "Everybody stayed in their gaps. The whole d-line was pressuring. The backers were pressuring. It ended up happening and I was in the right place at the right time."
MSU dropped to 1-5 on the season. The Beavers host the University of Minnesota-Duluth at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Herb Parker Stadium.