Tigers Come Up Short in Mineral Water Bowl; Fall 30-22 to Minnesota-Duluth

FHSU Sports Information Department

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. – Fort Hays State came up short in its attempt to set a new school record for wins in a season as it fell 30-22 to Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday (Dec. 5) in the 2015 Mineral Water Bowl. The Tigers finished their season at 8-4 overall while Minnesota-Duluth finished at 9-3.

After a 72-yard touchdown run by Treveon Albert in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead, the Tiger offense never found a rhythm the rest of the game. After finishing with 159 yards of total offense in the first half, the Tigers gained only 22 yards in the second half as the Minnesota-Duluth defense clamped down.

The Tiger defensive effort was fairly solid as well with only 302 yards of total offense surrendered and the Tigers trailed by only six entering the fourth quarter, 20-14. A field goal by UMD with 12:15 remaining and then a touchdown with 4:36 to go put the Bulldogs up 16, but senior Daniel Lindsey kept the Tigers alive with a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown followed by a two-point conversion pass from Albert to Garrett Holle. It was Lindsey’s second kickoff return for a touchdown on the season.

FHSU had one last chance with the ball back at 2:13 but managed only one first down with an 11-yard pass. Albert had three passes fall incomplete before getting sacked on 4th-and-10. FHSU had only two first downs after halftime and went 3-and-out on four sets of down in the third quarter.

Fort Hays State finished with a season-low 181 yards of total offense, 103 yards of rushing, and just seven first downs. Albert finished with a team-high 67 yards of rushing and one touchdown while passing for 78 yards and one touchdown. The touchdown pass was to J.J. Lewis in the first quarter, a 32-yard connection.

With 145 yards of total offense in the game, Treveon Albert set a new FHSU record in career total offense. He finished his career with 8,111, passing the mark of 7.975 set by former quarterback Mike Garrison. He also set the FHSU career passing touchdowns mark at 55. With 2,399 career rushing yards, he finished seventh on the all-time chart at FHSU. He finished third on the career passing chart with 5,712 yards.

Defensively, Nathan Shepherd earned Mineral Water Bowl Defensive Player of the Game honors with a season-high 14 tackles. The defensive lineman added 1.5 tackles for loss in his team-leading tackling performance. Alex Schmidtberger had 13 tackles and Brock Long had 12. Lindsey was a spark for the Tigers providing five tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss to go with his 154 yards of returns (123 kick return and 31 punt return).

Brock Long set a new FHSU single-season record for tackles at 171. He passed the 164 produced by Alex Whitehill in 2011. Long added a half sack to finish the year with 10 while adding 21.5 tackles for loss on the season.

Drew O’Brien pushed his final career scoring record at FHSU to 244 points with two extra-points in the game. He also set the career PAT mark at 148.

Darren Walker led the Bulldogs on offense with 126 rushing yards and 39 receiving yards. Quarterback Nate Ricci earned Offensive Player of the Game honors with 123 passing yards and 13 rushing yards. Dominic Bonner led UMD in receiving with 48 yards. Andrew Brees went 3-of-4 on field goal attempts in the game, with 45 yards as his longest.

Fort Hays State still matched its highest win total in program history with eight, the first time it reached the mark since 1995. The Tigers, however, are still in search of their first-ever postseason win. The Tigers have seen a one-win improvement in each of Chris Brown’s five years at the helm and the third place MIAA finish this year was their highest since joining the conference in 2006.

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