Morningside Mustangs turned what was supposed to be a tight battle between a pair of nationally-ranked teams into a rout when the eighth-ranked Mustangs blitzed No. 17 Valley City State, 49-7, on Aug. 30 at Morningside’s Elwood Olsen Stadium.
The Mustangs rolled up 424 yards total offense and limited the Vikings to just 244 yards, including only 50 yards on the ground. Morningside won its ninth straight season opener and improved its record to 10-1 in campaign openers during the Steve Ryan era.
Jon Halvorson came off the bench to rush for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns while converted wide receiver Joel Nixon passed for 163 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start at quarterback. Two of Nixon’s passes went to Kyle Schuck, the other to Tyler Sinsabaugh. Jared Masterson also had a multiple touchdown performance while scoring on runs of five and three yards.
Halvorson broke loose for a 59-yard run on his first carry of the game midway through the opening quarter to set up a five-yard touchdown run by Masterson that put the Mustangs in front 7-0 with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
The Mustangs broke the game open with three more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into the intermission. Nixon threw touchdown passes of three yards to Schuck and four yards to Sinsabaugh. In-between the Mustangs had a one-yard TD run by Halvorson that was set up by a bad snap that eluded the Vikings punter and enabled the Mustangs to take over on Valley City State’s one-yard line.
Morningside added a four-yard touchdown pass from Nixon to Schuck in the third quarter and fourth quarter touchdown runs of three yards by Masterson and one yard by Halvorson to complete the scoring.
Valley City State scored its only points of the game on a one-yard touchdown run by Derek Elliot with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
Chris Calvillo topped the Mustangs’ tackle chart with 10 stops, followed by Sean Elliott who had a career-high eight tackles, including two stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 29 yards. Colby Henderson had seven tackles and a pass breakup while Brent Doorenbos had a quarterback sack.
A local player on the Mustangs’ roster is sophomore linebacker Tanner Bundy, an Akron-Westfield alumnus.
Morningside will face another nationally ranked opponent in its next contest at 7 p.m., Sept. 8, against No. 10 Northwestern at Olsen Stadium in a Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) showdown. Northwestern won its season opener, 49-0, over Southwestern (Kansas) on Aug. 30 at NWC’s DeValois Stadium in Orange City.