Story and photo courtesy of Upper Iowa Athletics
The Peacocks dominated the first half of today's NSIC cross-division road contest thanks to 277 yards in the air and a defensive effort that held the MSU Moorhead Dragons to just 74 yards of total offense. Upper Iowa took a 35-7 lead into halftime en route to their 51-33 victory on the Minnesota-North Dakota border. The win improved UIU's record to 1-2 overall, while MSUM dropped to 0-3 on the year.
Cole Jaeschke and the Peacock offense raced out to a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter as UIU converted all three of their first period possessions into touchdowns. Upper Iowa's offense covered 198 yards in 30 plays to score their first three touchdowns. Jaeschke found Keaton Hosch twice for touchdowns each from 10 yards away and Lucas Hefty from 4 yards out to account for the scores.
The Dragons' Chris Lee intercepted a pass midway through the second quarter and returned it 92 yards to put the first points of the day up for the home team.
Upper Iowa rebounded quickly scoring a touchdown on their next possession. Jaeschke capped off a 10-play, 71-yard drive with an 11-yard completion to Hefty to put the Peacocks ahead 28-7. The score marked Jaeschke's ninth touchdown pass and Hefty's sixth touchdown reception of the season.
Prior to halftime, Michael Holloway picked up a fumble and returned it 15-yards for UIU's fifth touchdown of the game and a 35-7 lead heading into the halftime break. The fumble was forced by Anthony Church.
The Dragons scratched the scoreboard first in the second half with a long drive, but the Peacocks answerered with safety on a sack by Jeff Arends and a Ray Bradley six-yard touchdown run that gave UIU a 44-14 lead.
MSU Moorhead blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the final minute of the third quarter, but Upper Iowa quickly responded.
Hosch took the ensuing kickoff for and returned it 87 yards for the Peacocks final score of the day. Upper Iowa took a 51-21 lead into the final quarter of the game.
The Dragons scored the only points in the fourth quarter cutting the final margin to 51-33 after a pair of Jake Hodgel touchdown passes to Adam Jiskra.
Upper Iowa claimed a dominant 588-300 advantage in total offense yards including a 248-78 yard advantage in rushing yards on the day and a 340-222 yard advantage in the air. UIU controlled the clock keeping the ball for over 33 minutes of today's ball game.
Jaeschke led the Peacock offense with 306 yards and four touchdowns. Bradley added 138 yards and a score on 17 carries on the ground, while Hosch picked up 110 yards and two touchdowns on 6 receptions. Hefty added 56 yards and two scores and Shay Gutman pulled in four balls for 85 yards.
Tom Nesvik led the Peacock defense with 11 tackles. Ethan Douglas picked up 9 tackles, while Jordan Andera, Tony Leggett and Keaton Martin all registered 6 tackles in the contest. Martin picked off one pass on the day, while Arends and Ty Grunder both recorded sacks on the day.
Steven Sandoval converted all seven extra point attempts on the night.
Upper Iowa returns to Fayette for next Saturday's game against Minot State University. The Peacocks will host the Beavers for a 3 p.m. kickoff. The football program will be honoring Dick Timmerman, the team's equipment manager, for his 50 years of service to collegiate football at Upper Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa.