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After suffering another tough defeat last Saturday to the Jamestown Jimmies -- the Dakota Athletic Conference’s top defensive unit --- the South Dakota School of Mines football team returns home to square off with the Dakota State Trojans Saturday on Dunham Field at O’Harra Stadium in Rapid City
By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- After suffering another tough defeat last Saturday to the Jamestown Jimmies -- the Dakota Athletic Conference’s top defensive unit --- the South Dakota School of Mines football team returns home to square off with the Dakota State Trojans Saturday on Dunham Field at O’Harra Stadium in Rapid City.
The Trojans (2-5) are a welcome site to the Hardrocker after the young, inexperienced Miners have been taking their lumps from some very tough conference opponents as well as nationally established programs. Dakota State is a group similar to the Hardrockers, in that the roster is not exclusively made up of upperclassmen. The game should be a lot more manageable on both sides of the ball for the home team.
“They have a couple of key positions on offense that they have been struggling with and one of those is the quarterback,” said Hardrocker head coach Dan Kratzer. “But after watching him on film, I don’t think they are struggling too badly. ��They have a few similarities in key positions, but very few.”
The quarterback in question is sophomore Donald Stand. He has seen time at the position in all six games that DSU has played, but his throwing yards are nothing great 2-5 for eight yards). But of the four predecessors that have also seen time at the position this year, Stand has thrown just one of the team’s 16 interceptions. He has scored three touchdowns this year and is the top scorer for the Madison squad.
Kratzer said the biggest factor of the game will be to put the screws to the young signal caller.
“We need to put pressure on their quarterback,” Kratzer said. “And that’s not just pass pressure, we have to put him in a position where he has to make a lot of quick decision. That is going to be a key. If we can force some turnovers and have an opportunity to get the ball in the end zone early, it’s going to help us a lot.”
The strength of the Trojans lies on the defensive side of the ball. They are a very sound unit and even though they fell to Black Hills State last week, 25-0, Kratzer said the score didn’t reflect how the game was played. The Yellow Jackets were able to score thanks to some opportune turnovers during the course of the game otherwise it was a lot closer.
But again, looking at Dakota State’s offense, it could be considered a little risky, as the Trojans utilizing the option package.
“Offensively, they are an option team. They do a lot of split back, they do a lot of shot gun, they do a lot of read option, they do a lot of shuffle pass option,” Kratzer said. “It’s similar to what we tried to do throughout the course of the year.”
Unfortunately for Mines, they have had to do a little readjusting, both offensively and defensively, due to a extremely light roster (60 players) and a high number of injuries.
“One of the problems going into this week was we had seven starters out of (Wednesday’s) practice,” Kratzer said. “We had some guys injured and some guys sick. Odiously we don’t have nearly the depth to be able to replace those guys on the defensive side. Offensively we are a little bit healthier.”
The lack of personnel was so excessive this week that Kratzer and the rest of the coaching staff had to modify practices because there weren’t enough guys to do some of the drills. Despite that, Kratzer said he will have the Hardrockers ready on Saturday. The overall offensive philosophy will be the same as every other game this season.
“We are still going to be in a situation where we will have to perform and execute and not turn the ball over,” he said.
The game is slated for 1 p.m. kickoff.
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