by TONY SCHMITT
DULUTH, Minn.- The UMD Bulldogs defense flexed its muscles as the team advanced its 5-0 record in a momentous 59-17 victory over long time rivals, the Winona State Warriors, on Oct. 29 at Griggs Stadium.
"This is by far the biggest win of the season for us," said Chase Vogler, the Bulldogs starting quarterback. "The top ranked offensive team in the conference came into our stadium and our defense basically shut them down."
The Winona State Warriors entered Saturday's game with a 4-1 record, marking the 40th meeting between these two rivals, with the Bulldogs holding a solid 29-10 lead since these teams met for the first time in 1931.
The Warriors made the Bulldogs work to earn its win as the first quarter ended with a tight score of 7-3. Even though the Bulldogs struggled with a couple fumbles, a key one by D.J. Winfield on a punt return that led to a Winona touchdown, the Bulldogs managed to end the half up 35-17.
Volger credited senior All-American running back Isaac Odim who ran for 165 yards on 23 attempts and scored two touchdowns, a key player in the game. "We have been both efficient and consistent in both running and throwing the ball this year," said Vogler. "We have a lot of weapons on offense and we use them very well starting with Isaac Odim."
Vogler also contributed to the Bulldogs offense. "Chase has been managing the game well through the air and by using his feet," said defensive back Garret Glause, a new edition to the team after transferring from Augustana. Vogler contributed with 144 yards and one touchdown through the air and 97 yards with one touchdown on the ground.
The defense shut down a skillful Warriors offense in the second half. "Winona is usually a high scoring team with a good quarterback and receiver set," said Glause, who gave a lot of credit to Evan Aber, Winona's starting quarterback who threw for 97 yards and two scores. "Our coach said to take each play one at a time and prevent them from breaking the big one," Glause said.
And they did just that by not allowing the Warriors another score for the rest of the game. "Our defense has bent at times this season but has not really broke."
Both players indicated this is a momentous win for a long tough season and is good to help keep the team focused as they head into next week's homecoming game against the University of Mary.
"We just need to stay focused during this exciting homecoming week," Vogler said. "I feel like if we can stay focused and keep playing at this high of level I hope to see us winning a conference title as wall as a national title." Only time will tell.