North Dakota State College of Science made it three consecutive wins on Saturday with a 51-0 rout of MCAC rival Minnesota State – Fergus Falls.
In what was a dominant performance by the Wildcats, NDSCS received a complete performance in all three phases of the game.
Defensively, the Cats posted their second shutout under second-year head coach Eric Issendorf. The unit allowed a season-low 147 yards of total offense and forced a pair of turnovers, one of which resulted in a touchdown (Deon Harris pick-6).
NDSCS ranks top-10 in total defense, allowing just 219 yards per game. Of that, just 73 yards per game comes on the ground. The Wildcats also rank eighth in sacks (21). Sophomore cornerback Nate Seward is tied for third nationally in interceptions (4) and tied for sixth in pass break-ups (7).
Freshman Desean Phillips had his third straight 100-yard game, rushing for 131 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. As a team, NDSCS rushed for 204 yards, marking the program’s third straight game with at least 200 rushing yards. They’re averaging nearly 275 yards per game on the ground over the last three weeks.
The Wildcats rank fourth nationally in rushing yards per game (226.8) and Phillips leads the nation in that category (126.4). Phillips is also 4th in yards per carry (7.9) and rushing touchdowns (7). NDSCS is still undefeated (4-0) when Phillips reaches the 100-yard mark.
Maybe the best sign from Saturday was the evolution of freshman quarterback Trashawn McMillan and the passing game.
McMillan put together his best performance of the season, completing seven of his 10 attempts for 121 yards and two scores.
He continued the early chemistry he’s had with classmate Keyshawn Goins (4 receptions, 39 yards, TD), but also got explosive sophomore Cordell Pimienta involved.
Pimienta, a transfer from North Dakota State, was a threat in every phase, totaling 56 receiving yards, 21 rushing yards and 15 passing yards on just eight touches, finding the end zone on a 23-yard TD catch.
The win leaves the Wildcats with sole possession of first place in the MCAC Western Division entering Saturday’s trip to Northland. NCTC is currently second in the Western Division, making this weekend’s showdown for the top spot in the league.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.