By BEN JOHNSON
While Johnny Deaton and Trey McVay were setting records in the passing game in 2011, the Northeastern State running game suffered. The RiverHawks posted a pedestrian 1,793 yards on the ground.
The RiverHawks set a trend to change that in the season opener on Thursday night in a 41-20 loss to Pittsburg State.
NSU, led by Terrance Dixon’s 128 yards and two touchdowns, amassed 142 yards on 24 carries.
“We rushed the ball effectively in the first half,” Northeastern State head coach Kenny Evans said. “That opened up some things for us. That was one of our goals.”
After Pitt State scored at the 9:01 mark in the first quarter, Dixon responded with a 46-yard rushing score less than four minutes later.
“Get in that end zone T.D.,” Dixon said of what was going through his mind when he saw nothing between him and goal line but green grass. “That’s all.”
Deaton dusted up
From a brief moment, NSU faithful held their breath in the third quarter.
Deaton scrambled left and was tackled hard on his left shoulder, prompting him to head toward the sidelines to be evaluated. With 40 seconds left until the fourth quarter, Dallas McCutcheon was suddenly in charge of the RiverHawks’ offense.
However, NSU was forced to call a timeout when McCutcheon couldn’t get the play off in enough time.
Coming out the timeout, Deaton was back in the huddle and finished the game.
A Prince emerges
When NSU posted its pregame depth chart, former Wagoner standout, Prince McJunkins, was nowhere to be found. He was, however, listed on the roster.
And that’s a good thing for the RiverHawks. The sophomore transfer from Georgia Southern caught three passes and 36 yards against Pitt State.
Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even slated to play much early on this season.
“Prince, we knew, would be a very good football player, but we didn’t know he’d be ready this quick,” Evans said. “He’s not only had to move from a quarterback position that he played at high school and Georgia Southern, but he also had to move to the wide receiver spot and learn a whole new terminology and a whole new system.
“I was very impressed with the things he did.”