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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to 14th-ranked Concordia in a GPAC football match-up on Saturday, Oct. 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm. The Red Raiders are 2-2 in the GPAC, 3-2 overall and earned votes in the last NAIA coaches' poll. Concordia is just one of two undefeated teams left in the GPAC at 4-0, 6-0 overall. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! follow along with the live stats at this link: Live Stats!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 22-13 in a rivalry that began during the 1960 season. The Red Raiders are 9-1 over the last 10 match-ups against Concordia.
In 2012...Kenny Zoeller converted a 24-yard field goal with just over two minutes left to play that gave Concordia a 17-16 upset win over #11 Northwestern last year in Seward, Neb.
Northwestern led 16-7 at the break but after both teams went scoreless in the third quarter, Concordia rallied with 10 points in the fourth to earn the win. Derek Blessing scored on a 50-yard punt return with eight minutes left, setting up the game-winner by Zoeller. Northwestern missed a potential game-winning field goal during the final seconds.
The Red Raiders held a slight 335-315 advantage in total yards, led by Davis Bloemendaal who completed 10-of-16 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in just a half game played. Brice Byker caught three passes for 65 yards and a score while Theo Bartman caught six passes for 54 yards and rushed for 50 yards on 14 carries.
Von Thomas led the Bulldogs with 218 passing yards on 16 completions and a score. The Raider D sacked Thomas six times, led by Aaron Jansen and Greg Hegstad with two each.
Scouting Concordia...The 14th-ranked Bulldogs are tied with Morningside for first in the GPAC with a 4-0 record, a perfect 6-0 overall. They have conference wins over Hastings, Midland, Dordt and rival Nebraska Wesleyan, along with a pair of non-conference victories over William Jewell and Dakota State. Concordia is ranked for the first time since the 2002 season.
Head coach Vance Winter is in his fifth season as the head of the Bulldogs football program. He is 21-27 all-time at Concordia heading into this weekend's match-up and returns 11 starters off a 2012 team that finished seventh in the GPAC with a 4-5 record, 5-6 overall.
Concordia ranks fifth in the GPAC in scoring, averaging 28 points per game. The Bulldogs' rushing offense ranks fifth in the league with 215 yards per game and features three players with over 300 yards this season. Trey Barnes is the top rusher, totaling 90 carries for 386 yards and seven touchdowns in his first season at Concordia. Bryce Collins has 95 carries for 377 yards and four scores while quarterback Von Thomas has 77 rushes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas, an all-conference selection last year, also ranks fifth in the GPAC with 971 passing yards, completing 59% of his passes to go with six touchdowns. Senior Jeff Balz is the Bulldogs top receiver, recording 17 catches for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs sport the top defense in the NAIA, giving up just eight points per game. They have not given up a touchdown since the third quarter of the Midland game on Sept. 21, a streak now up to 13 quarters. Concordia is second in the nation against both the rush and pass, giving up a mere 240 yards of total offense. Eight starters are back on the defensive side of the ball, including three members of the Bulldogs secondary that earned all-conference honors in 2012. Derek Blessing, a first team all-GPAC pick and returning All-American, has 19 tackles and two interceptions this season. Darnell Woods, a second team all-league pick in 2012, is second on the team with 40 tackles from his safety position. Tait Sibbel, another returning all-GPAC pick at safety, is third on the team with 31 tackles and has two interceptions. Langston Jones has a team-high 41 tackles at linebacker and was an all-conference pick last year. Dylan Heithoff anchors the defensive line and has 5.5 sacks this season.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders evened its league record to 2-2 with a 24-17 road win over Briar Cliff last week. They improved to 3-2 overall and moved back into the NAIA football coaches' poll, earning votes in the Oct. 14 rating.
Northwestern boasts one of the best offenses in the GPAC, scoring over 32 points and gaining 431 yards per game. The Red Raiders have a balanced attack, ranking sixth with the rush (193ypg) and fourth with the pass (239ypg). Davis Bloemendaal directs the Red Raider offense under center, throwing for 1,174 yards, third most in the GPAC, and 12 touchdowns. The senior needs just 49 yards to pass Galen Kaemingk for sixth place all time in career passing yards (5,411). Bloemendaal is second in the league with 254 total yards per game. Ben Green and Brice Byker both rank among the top receivers in the GPAC. Green is third in the league with 33 catches for 529 yards and eight touchdowns while Byker is fifth with 25 catches for 329 yards and three scores. Theo Bartman leads the rushing offense, totaling 85 carries for 461 yards, third most in the GPAC, and three scores. He needs just 10 more yards to surpass Brad Van Rooyen for 10th place all-time and just one more rushing touchdown to overtake Mitch Bengard for ninth place all-time. Jessie Riley (40/208) and Paul Hutson (28/141) both average over five yards per carry as well.
The Raider D is giving up 30 points per game and ranks third against the run, giving up 130 yards per game. They lead the GPAC with 19 sacks and have forced eight turnovers, including three interceptions recorded last week against Briar Cliff. Isaiah Twitty ranks second in the GPAC with 40 tackles while fellow linebacker Greg Hegstad ranks sixth with 32 total tackles. Sam Van Ginkel leads the Red Raiders with 5.5 sacks for a loss of 32 yards while Twitty has 3.5 sacks.
Up Next...Northwestern heads on the road next week as they play Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Oct. 26.
# 7 | Defensive End
Junior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Junior from Logan, Iowa