SIOUX CITY, IOWA – A remarkable streak of postseason scoreboard success continued for two-time defending National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ champion Morningside College Saturday, April 17.
The top-seeded Mustangs posted a 50-point-or-more effort for a seventh consecutive year in the championship series, rolling past Carroll College of Montana 55-0 at Memorial Field. Head coach Steve Ryan’s Mustangs proved dominant from nearly every phase.
The juggernaut offense produced 566 total yards and 30 first downs, was 55.5 percent on third conversions, a perfect 1.000 on fourth down attempts, and missed just one of seven trips in the red zone for scores. A similar theme occurred for the defense. They held the Fighting Saints to less than 300 total yards, which included roadblocking running back Matt Burgess, who entered as the national leader in ground yards per game, to 81 on 21 carries, his lowest single-game effort since late in the 2019 campaign. Co-defensive coordinators Casey Jacobsen and Nate Turner’s unit also turned over the opposition five times, garnering three fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Special teams added headlines to sending Mside to 9-0 and into the national quarterfinals. The Mustangs allowed only 42 return yards and better than 35.7 yards per punt attempt.
After a slow start that saw the home team fumble in the red zone and punt on their first two offensive attempts, the following five drives resulted in touchdowns to the delight of the partisan Maroon crowd. Three of the marches went for 75-yards-or-more to stake Morningside to an insurmountable 34-0 halftime lead. Junior quarterback Joe Dolincheck (JR/Bellevue, Neb.) (Bellevue, Neb.) added to his sparkling career resume, throwing for 322 yards and a score; the upperclassman backfield duo of senior Anthony Sims (SR/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and junior Matt Strecker (JR/Columbus, Neb.) (Columbus, Neb.) proved a battering ram as Sims carried the ball 20 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns, and Strecker found the end zone twice among 16 attempts for 75 yards. The wide receiver trio of juniors Austin Johnson (JR/Sioux Falls, SD) (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Caleb Schweigart (JR/Omaha, Neb.) (Omaha, Neb.) and senior Reid Jurgensmeier (SR/Wahoo, Neb.) (Wahoo, Neb.) each collected 60-yards-or-more and combined for a touchdown.
Defensive heroes were just as numerous. Sophomore defensive back Joshua Miller (SO/Lincoln, Neb.) (Lincoln, Neb.), en route to Player of the Game awards to join Sims in the accolade, registered 11.5 tackles including one-and-a-half for losses of 16.5 yards, forced and recovered a fumble, and broke up two pass attempts. Junior linebacker Weston Schultz (JR/Mason City, Iowa) (Mason City, Iowa) totaled seven tackles and a blocked punt, and junior defensive back Drew Bessey (JR/Palmyra, Neb.) recorded a pair of interceptions.
The Mustangs welcome No. 7-ranked and Heart of America member Baker University of Kansas to Elwood Olsen Stadium Saturday, April 24. Kickoff for the national quarterfinal is 1 p.m.