Sep 17th, 2011 @ 9:14 pm | Author: Ryan Cunningham (
By: Ryan Cunningham (

VALLEY CITY (–Earning a second-straight win took a much different effort than the dramatic victory at Dickinson State last week.

A resiliant 0-3 Dakota State Trojan football team tested the Valley City State University Vikings all night, but the Vikings were able to win a scoreboard battle with a 44-27 effort Saturday.

The win pushed the Vikings to 2-1, and gave them their first-ever win on the new turf at Shelly Ellig Field at Lokken Stadium.

Tommy Zinke (Jr., Rolla, ND) completed 21 of 31 passes for 220 yards and three scores, including a beautiful 55-yard strike to LeTheo Proctor (Sr., Anchorage, AK) for the biggest play of the night, a score that turned an eight-point lead into a 15-point edge early in the second half.

The Trojans stayed in the game behind the big arm of quarterback Brandon Large (Jr., Mesa, AZ) and the legs of tailback Jeb Olson (Fr., Canistota, SD). Large threw for 305 yards against last year's sixth-best passing defense in the nation, and Olson rushed for 104 yards after Dickinson State managed just over 120 total last week.

Despite the poor Viking defensive numbers, it was a play on that side of the ball that turned the game in their favor. With the Vikings sturggling to a 7-6 lead over a team that had allowed 51 points a game over three contests, corner Cody Kilthau (Sr., Mililani, HI) picked off a Large pass and scampered 20 yards for a score, giving the Vikings a 14-6 lead at the break.

Zinke's bomb to Proctor gave the Vikings a 14-point edge with 10:12 left in the third quarter, but Large led the Trojans on a 51-yard drive, capping it with a 16-yard scoring run just 1:07 later, cutting the lead to 24-15.

The Vikings made a decisive move on their ensuing drive. A.J. Pfeifer (Sr., Buffalo, ND) carried six times on a 10-play, 51-yards march, and Zinke hit fullback John Ziemba (Sr., Valley City, ND) for a five-yard strike with 3:33 left in the quarter, moving the lead to 30-15.

A bizarre punting play for the Trojans led to another Viking score. What seemed to be a designed fake inside their own 30 led to the Vikings tackling punter Paul Lake at the Trojan 18. Two plays later, Pfeifer ran in from four yards away, and Valley City State led 37-15 with 1:47 left in the third.

The quick scoring was the turning point of the game, and also punctuated a puzzling night in Dakota State's special teams. Lake was hammered on the same type of play twice, rolling out as if to throw in clear punting situations with no clear set-up of a fake.

Olson scored on an eight-yard run early in the fourth for the Trojans, but Viking Darius Anderson (Fr., Kapolei, HI) answered with an eight-yard run with 9:31 left for a 44-21 lead. Large capped his night with a late scoring throw to Carl Curtis (Soph., Mesa, AZ) with 3:16 left.

The Vikings gave up 429 yards, and gained only 353 by comparison, but the defensive score and field position mistakes by the Trojans were a much-needed Viking advantage. Proctor finished with eight catches for 107 yards. Ken Eliacin (Jr., Miami, FL) caught a touchdown pass, and he and Bernardo Marte (Sr., Miami, FL) each had 48 yards receiving.

The Vikings travel to Rapid City, SD for a date with South Dakota Mines next Saturday.