September 3, 2016
The M State Spartan football team dropped to 0-2 on the season as they lost a Saturday road game to the Itasca Community College Vikings in Grand Rapids. The game was tied 14-14, but the Vikings scored 14 points in the final 1:15 of the first half and opened the second half scooping and scoring on a Spartan fumbled punt snap to blow the game open.
"It's difficult because we think we have a better team this year, but we don't have the results to show it," said Steve King, head coach of the Spartans. "In both games we have been tied late in the half or have had the lead, but we give up points late in the half. We play at a very high level for a short period of time, and then we give up big play after big play on offense, defense or special teams to lose the game. We need to get back to work so we can play 60 solid minutes of football, and the results will be better."
The Vikings opened up a 14-0 first quarter lead but, to their credit, the Spartans regained momentum and put together a couple of nice drives to tie the game. The first touchdown for the Spartans came on a 4th and 12 play when Spartan QB Jared Olsgaard scrambled to his right and found an open Jarrett Minnitt in the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point kick by Jordan Foss was good for a 14-7 score.
The Vikings took the kickoff and marched down the field, but a failed field goal attempt gave the Spartans the ball at their own five yard line. They promptly marched 95 yards on 11 plays with Jacquel Webster scoring the Spartan touchdown from two yards out. The extra point by Hoebet Diaz was good. The score was 14-14, and the Spartans had momentum.
The teams traded punts, but Itasca scored next with a touchdown and 1:15 left in the half to take a 21-14 lead. The Spartans received the kick and were putting together a little late-half drive of their own when Olsgaard was intercepted by the Viking defense, and they returned it into Spartan territory. With 17 seconds left on the clock, the Vikings connected on a pass play for the touchdown and a 28-14 halftime lead.
The Spartans received the ball to begin the second half but a bad snap to the punter was scooped up by a Viking defender for a touchdown, and just like that the Vikings had blown the game open and had a 35-14 lead.
The Spartans did score a third quarter touchdown on an Olsgaard to Nathan Christenson 12-yard pass. The extra point attempt failed, and the score was 35-20. Itasca scored another touchdown to make it 42-20 before Olsgaard kept the ball himself for a three-yard touchdown run. The two-point attempt failed, making the score 42-26. The Vikings added a late score for a 49-26 victory.
The Spartans play NDSCS at home Saturday on the Spartan field on the M State campus. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m.
August 27, 2016
The M State Spartans opened the 2016 football season at home on the Kennedy Secondary School turf and lost 40-21 to the Thunder from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet. It was the opening game for both teams, and the Thunder capitalized on some costly mistakes by the Spartans.
The teams traded punts on their first several possessions before the Spartans got their offense going and put together a beautiful eight play, 95-yard drive that finished with QB Jared Olsgaard hitting wide receiver Jarrett Minnitt across the middle for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Jordan Foss kicked the extra point, and the Spartans led 7-0.
The Thunder came right back on their next possession and scored on a nice pass and reception of 20 yards. The two-point conversion failed, and the Spartans held a 7-6 lead.
The Spartans scored again late in the first quarter, with Olsgaard hitting a streaking Don Rathell for a 42-yard touchdown pass. This time Hobet Diaz knocked the extra point through the uprights, and the Spartans had a 14-6 lead.
Again the Thunder answered back on their next possession with a 10-yard run and a two-point conversion to tie the score at 14-14 early in the second quarter. Fond du Lac put up another touchdown to make the score 20-14 before the Spartans struck again through the air when a nice corner pass by Olsgaard found an open Fatah Malone for the 10-yard scoring pass. Foss kicked the extra point, and the Spartans were back on top 21-20.
A big moment in the game came when the Spartan defense held the Thunder offense and forced a punt with 2:45 left in the half. The Thunder punt was mishandled by the Spartan punt returner, and the Thunder had the ball at the Spartan 10-yard line. The defense forced the Thunder to 3rd and 20, but the Thunder completed a touchdown pass to take a 26-21 lead. The two-point conversion failed, and that was the halftime score.
The second half found the Spartans unable to maintain any momentum with two more dropped punts that led to touchdowns, penalties and an inability to make big plays offensively, defensively or on special teams. The Thunder capitalized on the mistakes and won the game 40-21.
The Spartans had 360 yards of total offense. Olsgaard threw for 248 of those and also rushed for 55 yards. Malone had six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, and Minnitt had five receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown.
The Spartans travel to Grand Rapids to play the Itasca Community College Vikings on Saturday, Sept. 3. Game time is 1:30 pm.
Last modified: September 6th, 2016 at 12:15pm