Game Time...13th-ranked Northwestern opens its 2014 season this weekend as they play host to Bacone College (Okla.) on Saturday, Aug. 30. Kickoff on Korver Field at DeValois Stadium is scheduled for 1pm. The Red Raiders concluded its 2013 season with an 8-3 overall record, ranked 13th in the final NAIA coaches' postseason poll. Bacone finished its 2013 season with an 8-3 overall record. Watch/Listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or listen to the game via the KSOU broadcast at the following link: Listen now!
All-Time...Northwestern defeated Bacone 55-37 in its only previous match-up played last year in Muskogee, Okla.
Last Year...13th-ranked Northwestern opened up a 28-6 lead en route to a 55-37 road win over Bacone in the season opener for both teams.
Northwestern scored four touchdowns in the first quarter and added a safety in taking a 28-6 lead. They led 42-18 at the half and 55-24 at the end of the third quarter.
The Red Raider offense totaled 604 yards in the win, led by quarterback Davis Bloemendaal who threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns. Ben Green caught a then-career-best seven passes for 177 yards and three scores. He caught touchdown passes of 57, 9 and 29 yards, all in the second half. Jessie Riley led the Raiders ground game with 12 carries for 108 yards and Theo Bartman totaled 93 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Northwestern was led by Nate Van Ginkel with 5.5 tackles and one sack while Isaiah Twitty added 4.5 tackles and two sacks. The Red Raiders registered a team-high eight sacks against Bacone.
The Warriors totaled 492 yards, led by quarterback Karl Birkenfield with 335 passing yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for three scores and totaled 61 yards on the ground. David Chapman caught three passes for 127 yards and one touchdown and Larry Stokes totaled five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Scouting Bacone...Members of the six-team Central States Football League (CSFL), Bacone was picked to finish tied for third in the conference preseason coaches' poll (along with Oklahoma Baptist). The Warriors return 16 starters, nine on offense and seven on defense, off a 2013 squad that finished tied with Southwest Assemblies of God for first place in the CSFL with a 4-1 record, 8-3 overall.
Trevor Rubly returns for his fourth season and holds an 18-13 all-time record at Bacone. He returns most of his coaching staff from last year but did bring in a different offensive coordinator.
Bacone has one of the top passing offenses in the NAIA in 2013, ranking fifth, averaging 311 yards per game. Both quarterbacks from last season, however, are gone as the Warriors will play two newcomers under center, including freshman Colton Owens and junior transfer Omar Kharroub. Both quarterbacks will benefit from a veteran and talented receiving corps that returns four of its top five pass catchers. Senior David Chapman, a preseason All-American and reigning co-offensive player of the year in the CSFL, caught 40 passes for 1,078 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging a remarkable 27 yards per catch. Senior wideout Rienaldo Reyes, a second team all-league pick, also returns after totaling 38 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns. Juniors Jamall Surrell (17 catches, 376 yards) and Larry Stokes (38 catches, 557 yards) are also back at the receiver position. Junior Victor Smith and senior Roderick Mackey return as the top running backs, combining for 53 carries for 250 yards and one touchdown.
The Warriors return seven starters from a defense that ranked 10th in the NAIA with 31.5 sacks and ranked 13th against the run, giving up 122 yards per game. Two linebackers, Aaron Jones and Keyshaun Malone, ranked third and fourth, respectively, in tackles and earned second team all-conference honors in 2013. Chase Rettig tied for the team lead with three interceptions and returns for his final season after earning first team all-conference accolades. Junior safety Alex Wilson also recorded three picks and was a second team all-conference pick last year. Donyea Hamilton anchors the defensive line and totaled 33 tackles en route to earning all-conference honors.
Northwestern News and Notes...For the second straight year, the Red Raiders open the season ranked 13th in the NAIA preseason poll. They return a total of 19 starters and 34 letterwinners off a 2013 team that finished second in the GPAC with a 7-2 record, 8-3 overall. For the first time since the 1984-85 seasons, Northwestern qualified for the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, losing to Missouri Valley in the first round.
Kyle Achterhoff begins his sixth season as the head coach and 17th overall season as a coach within the Red Raider program. Achterhoff has a 36-11 career record in the GPAC and 41-13 overall, leading his teams to a top 25 rating each year.
Six starters return from a Red Raider offense that ranked second in the GPAC in both scoring (34.4) and total (415.3) offense. For the first time since 2010, Northwestern will start a new quarterback as sophomore Braden Miltenberger takes over for three-year starter Davis Bloemendaal, who graduated last spring. Miltenberger has one start and has played in six games, throwing for three touchdowns in a win over Midland in 2012. Joining him in the Red Raider backfield will be junior Jessie Riley and sophomore Paul Hutson who both averaged over five yards per carry and totaled over 800 yards and five touchdowns. Overall, NWC ranked seventh in the league in rushing offense (174ypg) but will have to replace three-year starter Theo Bartman, who graduated last spring. The passing game will benefit with the return of senior Ben Green, who earned first team all-conference honors after ranking third in the GPAC with 56 catches for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns. Up front, Northwestern returns four of the five starters along the o-line, including all-conference picks Tyler Janota and Brandon Pekelder.
Defensively, Northwestern returns nine starters from a unit that ranked third in the GPAC against the run and led the conference with 38 sacks, fifth best in the NAIA. Seniors Greg Hegstad and Jermaine Ambrose both earned all-conference honors and were among the leading tacklers from the last year. Mitchell Janssen also returns among the outside linebackers, totaling 36 tackles in 2013. Jake Zylstra, a two-year starter at safety, recorded 35.5 tackles and three interceptions while earning all-conference honors. All three starters return along the defensive line, including two players, Sam Van Ginkel and Lawton De Jong, who earned all-conference honors. Van Ginkel led the GPAC with 10.5 sacks and was named All-American and De Jong posted 34.5 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
Dre Gentry is the top returner on special teams, earning second team all-conference honors when he averaged 22 yards per kickoff return. Both Levi Ettleman and Nathayn DeHoyos return as the punters and Julian Dittmann is back as the field goal kicker, making 36-of-42 extra-points and 4-of-5 field goals.
Up Next...Northwestern has a bye next weekend and will open GPAC play at home on Sept. 13 against Doane.
# 9 | Defensive Back
Senior from Marion, Texas
# 2 | Quarterback
Junior from Denver, Colo.
# 1 | Free Safety
Senior from Renton, Wash.
# 21 | Running Back
Senior from San Bernardino, Calif.
# 7 | Defensive End
Junior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Junior from Logan, Iowa
# 82 | Tight End/Punter
Senior from Logan, Iowa
# 93 | Kicker
Junior from Brandenburg, Germany
# 26 | Running Back
Senior from Littleton, Colo.