(Crookston, Minn.)- A better day couldn’t have been picked for today’s homecoming game at Ed Widseth Field on the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus. The Upper Iowa University Peacocks made the trip from Fayette, Iowa looking for the team’s first conference victory. The Golden Eagles were looking for their first conference victory as well so the fans that filled the stands knew it was going to be an NSIC gridiron battle. Through three quarters of play, the game looked like it could go either way with both teams moving the ball offensively and making big plays on defense. In the end, it was the UIU defense led by Dominique Jackson’s four interceptions that gave the Peacocks the 50-21 victory over the Golden Eagles, earning UIU the team’s first NSIC victory of the season.
The Golden Eagles opened with the first drive of the game. UIU held UMC to a three-and-out, forcing the Golden Eagles to punt. Upper Iowa regained the ball at the 14:04 mark of the first quarter and methodically drove the field, using 12 plays to cover 87 yard in 6:01 to take the games first lead 7-0 on a Kevin Linnell 18 yard pass to Aaron McFarland. Both teams would tighten up their defenses and finish the quarter without giving up another score.
The Peacocks scored early in the second quarter as Kevin Linnell found another wide receiver in the end zone. He connected with Kyle Hosch for an 18 yard touchdown pass. The scoring would go silent for just over nine minutes when UIU’s Dominique Jackson incepted Josh Kreutner (Sr., QB, Revillo, S.D.) at the Upper Iowa goal line and returned it 100 yards to break the game open 19-0. The Golden Eagles responded just two minutes later when Kreutner found Jake Freeman (Jr., WR, Cambridge, Minn.) in the back of the end zone to move the game to 19-7 at the half.
The Golden Eagles and the Peacocks traded scores in the third quarter as UIU’s T.C. Hicks ran for a 28 yard touchdown. That score was followed by a 15 yard touchdown reception by Eric John (So., RB, North Miami, FL) from Josh Kreutner for a 26-14 third quarter score.
Strong defensive play in the fourth quarter by Upper Iowa University solidified the victory. Upper Iowa put 24 points on the board in the fourth quarter. UMC could muster just seven points on a Josh Kreutner two yard rush to bring the score to 33-21. UIU had three fourth quarter interceptions leading to a touchdown and a field goal to help the Peacocks to the 50-21 victory.
Leading the way passing and rushing for the Golden Eagles was Josh Kreutner. He rushed 23 times for 158 yards and one score with a long of 43 yards. In the pocket, Kreutner went to the air 17 times finding his receivers for 230 yards two touchdowns and a long of 45 yards. Eric John and Aaron Wall (So., WR, New Orleans, LA) were Kreutner’s favorite targets as he hooked up with the duo five times each. Wall had 94 yards with a long of 45 yards and John had 42 yards receiving with one touchdown and a long of 15 yards. The Peacocks were led by All-American T.C. Hicks who rushed 27 times for 233 yards, two touchdowns with a long of 53 yards. Hicks gained 8.6 yards per carry in the game. UIU quarterback Kevin Linnell completed nine passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite wide-out on the day was Aaron McFarland who caught three passes for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Matt Forse (Sr., LB, Sturgeon Lake, Minn.) tallied 10 tackles (three solo, seven assisted), one pass break-up and one quarterback hurry. Both Chris Wooding (So., DB, Miami, FL) and Gerald Biggers (Sr., DB, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) had interceptions for the Golden Eagles. The spotlight for Upper Iowa today was on defensive back Dominique Jackson. Jackson finished the game with four interceptions for 181 yards with one touchdown and returning another to the UMC two yard line. Chris Calixte and Anthony Calamita both had seven tackles for the Peacocks.
The Golden Eagles are now 1-4 on the season and 0-4 in the NSIC. Upper Iowa University moves to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the NSIC. The Golden Eagles travel to Bismarck, N.D. next Saturday to take on the University of Mary. Kick-off is set for 1:00 p.m.
For more information, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics website at www.goldeneaglesports.com.
(Caption)- #24 Jake Freeman makes a leaping touchdown catch over an Upper Iowa defender. (Photo by Jeff Chandler- Golden Eagle Athletics)