Atonio runs for 2 touchdowns, throws another score to Furlong
In his first college game at quarterback, Anchorage’s Ja’Sem Atonio orchestrated three second-half scoring drives to lead Dakota State back from a 20-point deficit.
The southpaw signal caller ran for two touchdowns and threw for a score to fellow Alaskan Brenner Furlong of Soldotna to give the Trojans a 21-20 lead with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, Waldorf marched down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown and win the NAIA game 26-21 in Forest City, Iowa.
The Alaskans combined for 254 all-purpose yards – 180 from Atonio, 74 from Furlong. They accounted for all 62 yards on the first scoring drive, culminating with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Atonio to Furlong.
For Atonio, it was his first touchdown pass in his first college game. For Furlong, it was his first touchdown reception in 25 games as a senior running back.
The Alaskans also combined for 62 of the team’s 83 yards on the team’s second scoring drive that ended with Atonio’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Last season’s CIC Offensive Player of the Year put Dakota State ahead 21-20 on the strength of his 1-yard score on a quarterback sneak.
Atonio, of East High fame, completed 17-of-24 passes for 177 yards. He also threw an interception. He also rushed for three yards on seven carries.
Furlong, of Soldotna High fame, rushed for 47 yards on 12 carries with a long of 18 yards. He added two receptions for 27 yards.
The 2016 Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year has six career touchdowns – four rushing, one receiving and one on special teams.
Furlong is closing in on 1,000 all-purpose yards with 722 rushing and 97 receiving with five games left this season.