North Dakota State College of Science put together yet another dominant performance on Saturday despite the elements, rushing for 264 yards and allowing just one score in a 31-6 rout of Minnesota West to claim the MCAC Western Division on Homecoming Weekend at Frank Vertin Field.
The Wildcats never trailed and weren’t really threatened.
The opening drive resulted in a 27-yard field goal by sophomore Spencer Skeesick. From there, it was the Desean Phillips show.
Entering Saturday ranked third nationally in rush yards per game, Phillips exploded for 209 yards and three touchdowns, 174 of which came before halftime with touchdown runs of 10 and 49 yards.
Saturday was not only a season-high for Phillips, but it marked the fourth time this season he recorded multiple touchdowns and the Cats are still undefeated when Phillips rushes for at least 100 yards (5-0).
As a team, NDSCS rushed for 264 yards and held Minnesota West to just 72 yards on the ground in what was yet another stellar defensive effort.
Eric Issendorf’s defense has allowed fewer than seven points in three of their last four games. On what was a snowy, frigid Saturday, the Wildcats were red-hot defensively with six sacks and three forced turnovers.
Sophomore Nate Seward remained among the nation’s interception leaders, picking off his fifth pass of the season. He later doubled down on the idea that he’s the best defensive back in the MCAC by forcing a fumble that would be recovered by Noah Jenson with a 70-yard return setting up Phillips’ final touchdown run of the game.
The win not only extended the NDSCS winning streak to five games, but also guaranteed that the Wildcats will get at least one home playoff game at home. It also created the possibility that the Cats will play four straight home games should they extend their season.
NDSCS will close out the regular season against undefeated No. 18 Mesabi Range, which could be a preview of the MCAC Championship. Range claimed the MCAC Eastern Division title and has the seventh ranked scoring defense nationally (12.6 PPG) and second in turnovers forced (28).
Saturday’s regular season finale (Oct. 19) is slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. NDSCS will host Dakota College at Bottineau on Oct. 27 in the MCAC Quarterfinals. Game time is TBD.