KICKOFF: 2:30 p.m.
SITE: Swisher Field, Aberdeen, S.D.
RECORDS: SCSU 5-2 NSIC, 5-2 overall; NSU 3-4 NSIC, 3-4 overall
SERIES: SCSU leads, 12-1
LAST MEETING: SCSU won 27-14 in 2011
LAST WEEK: SCSU beat Mary 55-13; Northern State lost to Bemidji State 23-6
ABERDEEN, S.D. – Scott Underwood’s coaching tree has a lot of branches.
The St. Cloud State coach has had stops at Augustana, the University of Sioux Falls and the University of North Dakota before he became St. Cloud State’s defensive coordinator in 2001.
The Huskies’ opponent this week, Northern State, will have a familiar face across the field for Underwood. Wolves head coach Tom Dosch was the outside linebackers coach while Underwood was the inside linebackers coach at North Dakota from 1997-2000. St. Cloud State and Northern State kick off at 2:30 p.m. here Saturday at Swisher Field.
Dosch is in his third year as head coach of the Wolves and has gone 0-2 against his old colleague. The two were good friends during their tenure together. Dosch later became the head coach of NAIA Jamestown (N.D.) College before spending time as the inside linebackers/special teams coach at Southern Illinois.
“He did a great job when he was at UND and then later Jamestown and Southern Illinois. He’s really improved the Northern program and they keep making strides every year,” Underwood said. “We know we’re in for a dogfight in Aberdeen.”
Dosch isn’t surprised by the success Underwood has had with St. Cloud State (5-2 NSIC, 5-2 overall).
“We probably spent more time together than with our families,” Dosch joked about his time with Underwood. “I’ve known (SCSU co-offensive coordinator) Doug Patterson for a long time, too. Scott and I have been good friends for a long time. I’ve watched that program develop under Randy Hedberg, and then Scott.
“It doesn’t surprise me how the program has progressed. They’re doing very well and Scott’s a great coach.”
ABOUT THE WOLVES
Northern State (3-4, 3-4) started the season 0-3 before rallying to win three straight games to get to .500. The Wolves are coming off a 23-6 loss at Bemidji State last Saturday.
The Wolves are led offensively by quarterback Jared Jacobson, who is ninth in the NSIC in passing. The sophomore’s thrown for 1,482 yards with 12 TDs and three interceptions. He’s also run for 402 yards and five TDs. Jacobson has been successful running the zone-read offense, which has been en vogue in the NSIC.
“Earlier in the year he was running the ball really effectively,” Dosch said. “But teams are keying on that now and he’s had to throw more. But he’s done well in the passing game. The big thing is our receivers are making more plays in the last month. They’re becoming consistent in catching the ball.
“Last week, we had a lot of breakdowns in protection. We’ve got some things to shore up against St. Cloud.”
NSU’s John Hughes leads the team in rushing with 90 carries for 453 yards and four TDs. Mark Hanley is the team’s leading receiver with 34 catches for 467 yards and seven TDs.
The Wolves have a 3-4 defensive front that’s led by senior linebacker Logan Fahnhorst, who leads the Wolves with 58 tackles. Fahnhorst is the son of St. Cloud Tech graduate Jim Fahnhorst, who later played in the NFL with San Francisco from 1984-90. Logan’s uncle, Keith, played for the 49ers as an offensive lineman from 1974-87.
Dosch knows what kind of team the Wolves are facing today. Northern hasn’t beaten St. Cloud State since 1947.
“They’re a really good team. They’re playing their best football in the past month or so when you watch them on film,” Dosch said. “They’re confident and execute well. They run around and do a lot of good things on defense. They don’t have many weaknesses.”
* Underwood is hoping wide receiver Damon Treat and tight end Corey Henne can play today after they’ve sat out the last two weeks with ankle injuries. Treat is the more likely of the two to play.
* Wide receiver Austin Harrington, who has missed the past three weeks after undergoing knee meniscus surgery, should also be able to play this week.
* Kicker/punter Tyler Aldridge (right quadriceps strain) is questionable for today’s game. He punted at practice earlier in the week.
* Northern offensive coordinator Mark Martin is a former graduate assistant coach at St. Cloud State. Northern defensive line coach Matt McLagan is a former St. Cloud State linebacker and graduate assistant coach. McLagan played for the Huskies from 2004-08.
* SCSU is 3-0 on the road this season.
* SCSU cornerback Jack Moro leads all of Division II with seven interceptions. He’s two picks shy of tying the SCSU all-time record of nine that was set by Bill Trewick (1970).
* SCSU redshirt freshman linebacker Jake Kettenhofen has seen increased playing time the past two weeks. The 6-foot, 208-pound native of Appleton, Wis., is second on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind Todd Bestgen. Kettenhofen has 10 tackles this season, with two going for a loss.
“We’re pleased with the progress he’s made,” Underwood said. “He was down on the scout crew, but we’ve been thin at linebacker. He could’ve been voted the scout defensive player of the week for three or four weeks in a row. That shows you how hard he’s working.
“He’s putting himself in a situation get more reps. He has a good understanding of what we’re doing.”