Aug. 29—MADISON, S.D. — It's fair to say that Tyce Ortman made an instant impact on his new team in the 2022 season opener.
The Canistota native, who started at running back for Dakota State University after transferring from Northwestern College, caught a 73-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Brooks on the game's opening play.
It helped the Trojans pick up a 29-19 win over rival Dakota Wesleyan, and DSU got to see the instant impact of the 5-foot-11 sophomore in his first game with his new team.
"It was a great start, and a great feeling," Ortman said after the game. "I'm enjoying being a part of this team a lot."
Ortman's impact was not lost on DSU coach Josh Anderson, who said he wanted to mix in other running backs with Ortman but decided not to deviate from something that was working well and stuck with the newcomer.
"He makes people miss all over the place. There were times that he was dodging guys on the handoff in the backfield," Anderson said. "He's got the ability to make plays when the ball is in his hands and we needed that. He's a big-time player and we've got a lot of good players."
A season ago, the Trojans had a bottom-10 rushing attack in the NAIA, averaging 87.3 yards per game and 2.7 yards per carry, meaning DSU has been looking for an offensive jolt.
Ortman said his reason for transferring was simple: he simply wanted to play more. Last season, he played in five games with contributions on special teams. In 2021, he had two carries for five yards, which ranked 11th on the Northwestern roster for carries for the season. The Red Raiders were 12-2 last season and played in the NAIA semifinals, and that was a season after taking second nationally in the spring 2021 NAIA playoffs.
While playing for Canistota/Freeman, Ortman,
who was the Mitchell Republic's player of the year in 2020
, played quarterback and linebacker to help the Pride win three straight Class 9A championships from 2018 to 2020.
His college career has continued to mean carrying the ball and 2022 started like he imagined for the Trojans. Against DWU, Ortman finished with 63 rushing yards on 18 carries and a rushing touchdown, along with the 73-yard touchdown catch as his lone reception.
"This is a good group of guys and I'm excited to be here," Ortman said. "We have a lot of potential, a lot of work ethic and skill, and I think we just have to keep working hard to see where this goes and see how much we can improve as a team."