MENOMONIE (September 7, 2013) - The UW-Stout football team opened the season in convincing fashion, defeating the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan 35-20 behind huge days from Trevor Morning (Sr, Bloomer) and Hank Kujak (Jr, Blair).
In only his second career start, Kujak showed a brilliant command of the Blue Devil's new no-huddle offense. He ended up throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns on 18-30 passing. He also added 47 yards on the ground on only five attempts.
Morning set a career high in receiving yards, pulling in six balls for 201 yards, including touchdown receptions of 38 and 63 yards.
In a game that would be almost completely dominated by the offensive units, both teams started off slow, trading punts until halfway through the first quarter when the Tigers (0-1) put together a 7-play, 50 yard drive, capped off by a two yard touchdown pass from Jon Bane to Anthony Muilenburg.
Trailing 6-0, Kujak calmly led the Blue Devils (1-0) 75 yards down the field, with running back Tanner Kuehn (Jr, Fairchild) capping off the 12 play drive with a touchdown run from four yards out. An extra point off the foot of Ricky Marteney (Sr, Greenfield) put the Blue Devils up 7-6.
Kuehn finished the day with 56 yards on a team-high 19 carries. He also added 20 yards on three receptions.
An interception by cornerback Dominque Rhodes (Jr, Milwaukee) on the Tigers next drive gave Stout the ball on Dakota Wesleyan's 39 yard line and two plays later Kujak hooked up with Morning from 38 yards out to put Stout on top, 14-6.
After a three and out for the Tigers, Stout marched right back down the field, going 57 yards on 10 plays. When the drive stalled inside Dakota Wesleyan's 10-yard line, Stout called on Marteney, who kicked the ball through from 24 yards out to put the Blue Devils up 17-6.
Marteney, who also handled the punting duties for Stout before leaving the game in the second half due to injury, came into the game fifth on Stout's all-time scoring list with 163 points. He went a perfect 2-2 on field goal attempts and added an extra point as well, moving up to fourth on the list with 170 points.
With a little over four minutes to go in the half and the Tigers backed up inside their own five yard line, Jamie Rohrig (Jr, Owatonna, Minn.) delivered a huge hit on running back Francois Bernard. The ball popped loose and safety Collin Laursen (Jr, Mondovi) was able to come up with it, giving the Blue Devils the ball on Dakota Wesleyans four yard line.
The Tiger's defense held though, and Stout had to settle for another Marteney field goal, taking a 20-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Turnovers proved to be a major difference in the game, as Stout was able to turn both of Dakota Wesleyans miscues into points while not turning the ball over at all.
A missed field goal by Tiger kicker Mito Mendivil on the opening drive of the second half set up the second of Morning's touchdowns. After three Kuehn rushes, Kujak dropped back and lofted a deep bomb down Stout's sideline. Fighting off a defender the whole way, Morning made the catch in stride and took it into the end zone to put the Blue Devils up 27-6.
Dakota Wesleyan refused to go quietly however, driving right back down the field, capping off their drive with another Bane to Muilenburg touchdown pass.
On the ensuing kick-off, Zak Snell (Jr, Castaic, Cali.) nearly took it to the house, getting tripped up at midfield by the kicker, who was the last man between him and the endzone.
Kujak took over from there, completing two of three passes for 42 yards, including a 20 yard strike over the middle to Cody Rosemeyer (Jr, Gilman) for the touchdown. With Marteney out, the Blue Devils opted to go for the two-point conversion and Kujak hit tight end Zach Dooher (Fr, Plymouth, Minn.) to convert.
Trailing 35-13 with a little over 11 minutes to go, the Tigers managed to keep it interesting as Bane hooked up with Muilenburg for the pairs third touchdown of the afternoon, this time coming on an 87 yard catch and run.
That proved to be as close as they would get, as both teams traded punts before Stout put together a 65 play drive that took the last five minutes off the clock.
Stout finished with 480 total yards on offense. Freshman Adolfo Pacheco (Fr, South Elgin, Ill.) led the way for the Blue Devils on the ground, racking up 67 yards on 16 attempts. Rosemeyer finished with four grabs for 31 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Tyler Naatz (Jr, Menomonie) recorded 10 tackles, three solo. Luke Bakkum (Jr, Oconomowoc) chipped in seven, three solo.
Next week, the Blue Devils travel to Jamestown, North Dakota to take on the Jamestown College Jimmies.