Football’s most successful teams, players and coaches always say the same thing — it takes a maximum effort on and off the playing field to win games and breed consistency within a program.
Following a 30-13 North Dakota State College of Science home win over Rochester Community and Technical College Saturday, Oct. 9, Head Coach Eric Issendorf was most pleased by his Wildcats’ respect and discipline. Issendorf shared a photo of the Cats' pristine locker room following a muddy, rain-soaked victory.
“We constantly talk about the little things that can pile up and turn into a big mess,” Issendorf said. “Our guys have started to understand that concept of sweeping the floor, picking up garbage and just having an appreciation of earning everything. The harder you work, the more bounces you get, because you earn that when nobody is paying attention or watching.”
At 7-0, NDSCS clinched a share of the MCAC regular season title, led by freshman quarterback Graedyn Buell, who threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns.
Demetrius Coleman leads NDSCS with 556 receiving yards. He broke his season-long TD drought Saturday with four catches, 145 yards and a 57-yard touchdown where he torched the cornerback.
“Coleman was running a post. Buell held the safety off and came back to him, hitting him in stride. It was a footrace and Demetrius ran away with it,” Issendorf said.
Marselio Mendez is right there with Coleman at 518 receiving yards. The end zone aficionado had five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. He also recorded a one-yard TD rush. Mendez has scored in six straight games and has 10 total touchdowns on the season.
NDSCS handed the ball off to nine different runners, led by 71 yards from Buell. Tailback Nate McCallum had a fine day with 11 attempts for 40 yards and a touchdown.
“Nate got the majority of our touches. He’s a phenomenal blocker, so you can use him in pass pro and the quarterback run game,” Issendorf said. “When you’re up, you want to run the clock, so we started rotating and giving our backs opportunities. It’s a deep position group.”
Frank Cromer stepped out of the quarterback room and into the Wildcats’ defense with one sack. Sylvester Ware IV tallied three sacks, giving him 10 on the season as a nightmarish presence for opposing passers. Rob Jones and Jameson Cozard each had one sack.
“Frank was initially at Minnesota West in 2018. He sat out two seasons, so it’s been great watching him transition from quarterback to defensive line. It’s been a long time coming and we’re happy for him,” Issendorf said.
NDSCS plays at Mesabi Range Saturday, Oct. 16. NDSCS could potentially host the Norsemen for a third showdown Sunday, Oct. 24 in Wahpeton for the MCAC quarterfinal round.
“We don’t care who it is, we want the opportunity. We continue to try and be 1-0 each week,” Issendorf said.