The way Valley City State University football coach Dennis McCulloch saw it, his team didn't have just one issue in Saturday's 13-10 home loss to Jamestown College, it had plenty.
"We had problems with the gap, and getting to the second level," McCulloch said. "We had problems with a lot of things."
The Jimmies, who lost earlier this season on their own turf, took the coveted Paint Bucket trophy back to Jamestown for the first time in four games. They hadn't won the trophy since the teams met in 2010.
It was a game in which The Vikings led in most of the day's stats, including possession time and total yards, but couldn't stay ahead in points.
The Jimmies defense played the Vikings tough all afternoon. They pretty much shut down the Viking rushing game plugging gaps. The Vikings rarely got to the second level, let alone through it. The Vikings were held to 137 yards on the ground. Taylor Cino was the Vikings's leading rusher with 96 yards on 20 carries. Derek Elliot went for 38 on 12 carries.
The Jimmies offense was held to even fewer yards on the ground, 99, but beat up the Vikings' left side, leaving it vulnerable to passing gains, and ultimately the game-winning touchdown. Lance Johansen led Jamestown on the ground, accounting for 84 of the Jimmies' 99 rushing yards and getting the team's only rushing touchdown.
Matt Mithaugen picked up 11 yards on 10 carries.
The Vikings tried staying on the ground most of the game but had better luck with bubble screens and quick in routes. But the Vikings offense just couldn't sustain a drive. Dropped passes and a turnover early in the first quarter hurt the Vikings.
The Jimmies put together some strong drives, but were hurt by 118 yards in penalties, which gave the Vikings some great opportunities and bailed the Vikings out on several occasions.
The Vikings started the game with a strong drive starting at their own 35. Quarterback Tommy Zinke hit Charles King for 36 yards, and then Ken Eliacin at the 18, but Eliacin fumbled. In the third quarter, Eliacin made a leaping grab at the back of the end zone in double coverage for the Vikings' only TD.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Jimmies took over on a short punt at the Vikings's 47, and marched down the field to a fourth and eight on the Viking 16, with six minutes in the game. The Viking defense toughened, forcing two interceptions, one at the goal line, and the other at the first down marker. The Vikings took a timeout because they only had 10 on the field. The Jimmies went for it, on fourth and eight, and Beau Eriksson hit Trent Roemmich for the game-winning TD.
"We made mistakes, too many," McCulloch said. "We did some really good things out there today, but the bad things hurt us. We'll go look at film, make our corrections, and work hard getting ready for the last two games of the season. We haven't really given our home crowd a good game this year. Our last game is at home, and we want to be ready to play hard."