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@ Nebraska Wesleyan
@ Nebraska Wesleyan
@ Nebraska Wesleyan
@ Nebraska Wesleyan
Game Time...#16 Northwestern plays its second straight road game as they take on Nebraska Wesleyan in a GPAC match-up on Saturday, Sept. 27. Kickoff at Abel Stadium is scheduled for 1pm. Northwestern is 2-0 in the GPAC and 2-1 overall while Nebraska Wesleyan is 1-1 in conference play, 1-2 overall. Listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at the following link: Listen Now! or follow the live stats at this link: Live Stats! or watch the video at this link: Watch Live!
All-Time...Northwestern owns a 20-7 advantage in a rivalry that dates back to the 1987 season. The Red Raiders are 12-1 over the last 13 years against NWU but lost last year's game 22-8 in Orange City, Iowa.
Last Year...Senior running back Dustin Bryant rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown in leading Nebraska Wesleyan to a 22-8 upset win over 17th-ranked Northwestern last year on the Red Raiders' homecoming. It was the first win for NWU over the Red Raiders since the 1999 season, a span of 13 games.
Northwestern put its only points on the board with 48 seconds left to play as Davis Bloemendaal threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brice Byker. Bloemendaal hooked up with Levi Ettleman for the two-point conversion to make it a two score game, 22-8. The Red Raiders onside kick attempt was recovered by Nebraska Wesleyan, however, and clinched the upset for the Wolves.
Both teams totaled 19 first downs while Nebraska Wesleyan held a 355-263 advantage in total yards. Bloemendaal led the Northwestern offense, completing 20-of-40 passes for 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Ben Green caught eight passes for 121 yards but was held out of the end zone. The Red Raiders were limited by the NWU defense to a season-low 43 rushing yards on 24 carries.
After Northwestern was stopped on a fourth-and-two on its first drive, Nebraska Wesleyan put its first points on the board on a 37-yard field goal by Aaron Lorraine, capping a 12-play, 39 yard drive. The Red Raiders had another good drive going on its second offensive series but failed to score after missing on a 34-yard field goal. Both teams went scoreless for the rest of the first half.
Nebraska Wesleyan marched down the field on its first possession of the second half, scoring the games' first touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Tyler Francis to Connor Davis to take a 10-0 lead. After a three-and-out by the Red Raiders, Nebraska Wesleyan put the game away early in the fourth quarter with another long drive as Dustin Bryant punched one in from one-yard out, capping a 14-play, 57-yard drive that elapsed over 7:30 on the clock. The extra point was no good but the Wolves still led 16-0.
The Red Raiders turned it over on their next possession but forced NWU into a 51-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Nate Van Ginkel, only to have it fumbled on the return and recovered by the Prairie Wolves. Taking over at their own 49-yard line, Nebraska Wesleyan scored for the final time two plays later on a two-yard run by Joey Jones.
Nebraska Wesleyan rushed for 211 yards, led by Bryant with 28 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown. Francis completed 16-of-25 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
The Raider D was led by Isaiah Twitty with 10.5 tackles while Brett Coston registered a career-high nine tackles.
Scouting Nebraska Wesleyan...The Prairie Wolves head into Saturday's game with a 1-1 record in the GPAC, 1-2 overall. They opened the year with a 36-0 loss to third-ranked Tabor (Kan.) and then followed with an 83-19 home loss to #1 Morningside in its GPAC opener. Last week, they earned their first win of the year, defeating Briar Cliff on the road 38-28.
Brian Keller is the longest tenured head coach within the GPAC as he is in his 18th season leading his alma mater. Keller has over 100 wins as the head of the Prairie Wolves program and has guided his team to back-to-back fourth place finishes within in the GPAC and a 6-4 overall record. He returns 11 starters and 40 letterwinners off last year's team that won three of its last four games. They were picked to finish sixth in the GPAC preseason poll.
Offensively, Nebraska Wesleyan returns six starters and most of its skill position players off its 2013 team. They are tied for sixth in the GPAC in scoring (19ppg) and ninth in the conference with 265 yards per game. Senior Tyler Francis is in his third year as the starter under center for NWC and is coming off a 2013 season where he earned all-conference honors after setting a school record with 191 completions, throwing for over 2,000 yards. Francis directs a passing offense that ranks fifth in the GPAC at 237.7 yards per game and returns its top six receivers off last year's team. Senior Connor Zumpfe, an all-conference pick last year, has a league-high 19 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Ryan Larsen has five catches for 58 yards and a score while Corey Jones averages a team-best 16.2 yards over his six receptions. NWU ranks 10th in the GPAC in rushing, averaging just over 27 yards per game. Joey Jones is the top returner off last year's team and has 14 carries for 44 yards. Freshman Shaka Taylor has 26 carries for 72 yards. The Wolves have four new starters along the offensive line and collectively the group has given up eight sacks this season.
The Prairie Wolves' defense is giving up 49 points and 516 yards per game in three games this season. Five starters return from last year's defense that ranked fourth in the NAIA in giving up 16 points per game. Senior All-American Phil Latimer, a two-time first team all-GPAC pick, anchors the defensive line with 10 tackles and one sack. David Jennings joins Latimer along the d-line after missing most of the 2013 season due to an injury. Jenning has nine tackles and one sack this season. Kalen VandenBerg and Seth Wardyn both return as starters at linebacker and are among the GPAC leaders in tackles at 32 and 23, respectively. Wardyn earned second team all-GPAC honors last year.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders enter the weekend with a 2-0 record in the conference, 2-1 overall. They climbed to 16th in this week's NAIA coaches' poll after defeating then -#15 Dakota Wesleyan 35-7 on the road last week in Mitchell, S.D. Northwestern also has a win over Doane in conference play and last to Bacone (Okla.) in the first game of the year.
Kyle Achterhoff is in his sixth season as the Red Raiders' head coach and 17th overall year as a coach within the program. He is just the third head coach at Northwestern since 1967 and is 43-14 all-time heading into this weekend. Achterhoff returns 19 starters and 34 letterwinners off a 2013 team that finished GPAC play with a 7-2 record, 8-3 overall. They qualified for the postseason championship series for the second straight year, the first time since 1984-85 that Northwestern reached the postseason in back-to-back years. Northwestern lost to Missouri Valley in the first round.
Offensively, Northwestern returns six starters and is fifth in the GPAC in scoring (28.3) and eighth in total offense (300ypg). Sophomore Craig Bruinsma will make his third career start under center after serving as a back-up last year and in the first game this season. Bruinsma has completed 51% of his passes for 317 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Senior Ben Green, a first team all-GPAC pick last year, is the top receiver, ranking seventh in the GPAC with 14 catches for 162 yards and three scores. Junior tight end Levi Ettleman has five catches for 49 yards and a score. Both Jessie Riley and Paul Hutson return in the Red Raiders backfield and combine for nearly 400 yards. Riley leads the team with 201 yards on 59 carries while Hutson has 42 carries for 179 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. Both running backs are receiving threats as well, combining for 16 catches and over 150 yards. Four starters return along the offensive line, including two, Tyler Janota and Brandon Pekelder, who earned all-conference honors.
Nine starters on defense return from last year's squad and this year's group is one of the best in the NAIA. They are giving up 19.3 points and 233 yards per game and have 10 sacks in three games this season. Senior linebacker Greg Hegstad, an all-conference pick last year, leads the team with 26 tackles while fellow linebacker Brett Coston has 18.5 tackles. Junior Lawton DeJong leads the linemen with 15 tackles and 3.5 sacks while forcing two fumbles. DeJong was an all-conference pick last year. Sam Van Ginkel, a returning All-American, has six tackles and two sacks in two games this year. Junior Justin Wohlert ranks second in the NAIA with four interceptions, getting two in each of the last two games.
Up Next...Northwestern has its bye week next weekend and will next play Briar Cliff in a GPAC match-up on Oct. 11 at 11am.
# 6 | Quarterback
Junior from Norco, Calif.
# 7 | Defensive End
Junior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Junior from Logan, Iowa
# 82 | Tight End/Punter
Senior from Logan, Iowa