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Game Time...Northwestern heads to Fremont, Neb. to play Midland in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Kickoff on Memorial Field is scheduled for 1pm. Northwestern has won five straight games to climb all the way up to 13th in this week's NAIA coaches' poll, the highest ranking of the year. They are in second place in the GPAC with a 6-2 record, 7-2 overall. Midland is tied with Briar Cliff for seventh place in the conference with a 3-5 record, 4-5 overall. Listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at the following link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 29-11 in a rivalry that began in 1961. The Red Raiders have won 11 straight over Midland and have not lost since the 2001 season.
Last Year...Northwestern rushed for a school record 477 yards in its 39-20 victory over Midland played last year in Orange City, Iowa.
The Red Raiders averaged nine yards per carry and both Brandon Smith and Theo Bartman rushed for over 100 yards in the win. Bartman rushed for a career-high 172 yards on 14 carries and set the school record for the longest run from scrimmage with a 97-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Smith rushed 22 times for a season-high 168 yards and two touchdowns. Braden Miltenberger, making his first collegiate start under center filling in for the injured Davis Bloemendaal, completed 10-of-15 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Bartman also caught three passes for 66 yards and a score. Jermaine Ambrose led the Raider D with 7.5 tackles and an interception.
Midland totaled 350 yards of offense and was led by quarterback Mike Karls who completed 21-of-42 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown. Karls also rushed for a team-high 64 yards on 11 carries and a score.
Scouting Midland...The Warriors are currently tied with Briar Cliff for seventh place with a 3-5 league record, 4-5 overall. Last week, they lost to Nebraska Wesleyan 37-7 in Lincoln, Neb.,giving up 34 unanswered points after taking a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Midland allowed over 500 yards of offense to the Prairie Wolves in the loss. They have wins over Mayville State, Dordt, Hastings and Briar Cliff this season.
Josh Gehring is in his second season as the Midland head coach, having served as an assistant at both Wisconsin-Whitewater and Morningside prior to coming to the Warriors. Gehring returns just nine starters off a 2012 team that finished 4-6 last year, two on offense, three on defense and two on special teams. They were picked to finish eighth in the GPAC preseason poll.
Midland is averaging nearly 22 points per game, ranking sixth in rush (179ypg) and seventh in pass (192ypg). Senior Michael Karls returns under center for the Warriors and ranks second in the league in total offense (250ypg). He has thrown for 1,703 yards and nine touchdowns and also is second on the team with 548 rushing yards a team-high seven touchdowns. Junior Alex Cornist, a transfer from Grossmont Community College, is second in the league with 702 rushing yards, averaging nearly six yards per carry, and five touchdowns. Junior tight end Kyle Schluter leads the team in receiving, catching 32 passes for 418 yards and three scores. Sophomore Kirk Zinermon has 31 catches for 321 yards and a touchdown while Cornist has 12 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Both Michael Chick and Michael Hurst return along the offensive line after earning all-conference honors last year.
Midland's defense ranks seventh in the league in points per game (30ppg) and ninth in total defense (456ypg). Freshman Dalton Jenkins anchors the secondary for the Warriors, leading the GPAC with seven interceptions to go with 36 tackles. Linebackers Mason Gegzna (61) and Chris Pulusian (42) are the leading tacklers while Mikal Coleman returns on the defensive line and leads the team in sacks (3.0). The Warriors are second in the league with a +8 turnover margin, gaining 24 on the season.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won five straight heading into the final weekend of the regular season. Northwestern climbed six spots to 13th in the last coaches' poll after defeating then-#1 Morningside 38-28 last weekend. It marks the highest ranking for the Red Raiders this season. They are 6-2 in the GPAC, 7-2 overall.
Northwestern ranks second in the GPAC in scoring and total offense, averaging 34 points and 421 yards per game. Theo Bartman leads the GPAC's fifth best rushing attack (185ypg) with 127 carries for 640 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing two games due to injury. Bartman was the NAIA player of the week this past week after a career-best four touchdowns in the win over Morningside. The senior has three 100-yard games this season,13 for his career, and needs just 124 yards to surpass Taylor Malm for seventh all-time in career rushing yards. Also a pass catching threat, Bartman is third on the team with 30 catches for 312 yards and three more touchdowns. Senior quarterback Davis Bloemendaal ranks second in the GPAC with 2,106 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Bloemendaal has put some prolific numbers over the course of his career, ranking fourth in passing yards (6,295) and fifth in touchdowns (61), needing one more to tie Kirk Maasdam for fourth place and two more to tie Craig Hector for third. Two NWC receivers rank in the GPAC's top 10 in both receptions and yards. Junior Ben Green is third with 48 catches and fourth in yards (741) while Brice Byker is sixth in both catches (41) and yards (623). The pair has combined for 17 touchdowns.
The Raider D is sixth in the GPAC in both scoring (27.3) and total yards (407ypg) while forcing 19 turnovers on the season. They have 32 sacks, tops among GPAC teams. Senior linebacker Isaiah Twitty is second in the conference with 73.5 tackles and fourth in sacks (7.5). He also has forced four fumbles and has an additional four quarterback hurries. Greg Hegstad is fourth in the GPAC with 58.5 tackles and Nate Van Ginkel has 46.5 tackles. Sam Van Ginkel leads the team with 8.5 sacks, second in the GPAC, and Jake Zylstra leads the team with three interceptions.
Up Next...This marks the end of the regular season for both teams. The NAIA will announce the 16-team championship series field on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17.
# 5 | Quarterback/Punter
Senior from Orange City, Iowa
# 8 | Safety
Senior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 25 | Running Back
Senior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 34 | Linebacker
Senior from Chesapeake, Va.
# 15 | Wide Receiver
Senior from Sioux Center, Iowa
# 31 | Defensive Back
Junior from New Orleans, La.
# 44 | Linebacker
Junior from Sanborn, Iowa
# 85 | Wide Receiver
Junior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 2 | Quarterback
Sophomore from Denver, Colo.
# 1 | Free Safety
Sophomore from Renton, Wash.
# 7 | Defensive End
Freshman from Rock Valley, Iowa