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Dakota State

In the last three seasons, Dakota State has been in a perpetual state of rebuilding, winning just three games in the last three seasons.  However, Coach Anderson’s squad has shown improvement, especially on the offensive side as they move towards 2013 with renewed optimism.  Last season DSU struggled against strong competition from the GPAC, but snared a 35-34 win in double OT against Jamestown that could be the type of win that builds momentum for a program and played well against other future NSAA teams, coming within a single point of upsetting Mayville State and falling to Valley City State by only 10 points. 

On offense Dakota State runs a spread system that should continue to challenge opposing defenses despite returning only 5 starters.  They will be looking to find a new quarterback to plug into their system, but explosive Jr. tight end Bobby Tisch and Sr. wide receiver Zach Ely will provide reliable downfield targets for whoever earns the job.

Defensively, DSU has seven returning starters on defense that gave up over 36 points per game in 2012.  The experience they’ve  gained should help, but this is still a team that is going to have to score a lot of points to get wins.

Place kicker and punter Nic Behrens returns for DSU.  Behrens was 7-16 on field goals last season and averaged just under 38 yards per punt.

Before the creation of the NSAA, it was one of the worst kept secrets that Dakota State wanted to join the GPAC and oddly enough they play a GPAC heavy schedule.  In those games they have a good chance of beating Briar Cliff and Dordt, but will likely get handled easily by Dakota Wesleyan and Concordia.  DSU is difficult to handicap, as they are always a threat to score points with their spread system.  I don’t think they have enough horses to beat Jamestown or Valley City State, but an upset over Mayville State or Presentation isn’t out of the question.  Peru State is on the road, but if DSU improves at all from last season that is also potentially a winnable game.  In DSU’s best case scenario they handle the two GPAC bottom feeders, upset Peru State, and get a win over Mayville or Presentation to go 4-6.  Worst case scenario for the Trojans would be 1-9 with a win over either Briar Cliff or Dordt.  For my official prediction, I think DSU takes another baby step forward with three wins, seven losses, and hope for the future.