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Game Time...12th-ranked Northwestern travels to Seward, Neb. to play Concordia in a GPAC football match-up on Saturday, Oct. 25. Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is scheduled for 1pm. The Red Raiders are a perfect 4-0 in conference play, 4-1 overall. Concordia is 2-2 in the GPAC, 3-3 overall. Listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at the following link: Listen Now! or watch/listen to the game live via the Concordia broadcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern is 23-13 all-time against Concordia in a rivalry that began in 1960. The Red Raiders have won nine of the last 10 match-ups, including a 30-28 victory last year in Orange City, Iowa.
Last Year...The Red Raiders handed Concordia its first loss of the season with a narrow 30-28 victory in a conference match-up played in Orange City.
After the 14th-ranked Bulldogs grabbed a 22-16 lead with a Bryce Collins four-yard run early in the fourth quarter, Northwestern scored back-to-back touchdowns to take the lead for good. Jessie Riley scampered a career-long 69 yards for a touchdown and Paul Hutson scored from six yards out with 3:44 left to go to put NWC up 30-22. Concordia answered with a scoring drive of its own as Collins punched it in from one yard out to make it 30-28. The Bulldogs ensuing 2-point conversion, however, failed and Northwestern recovered the onside kick and ran the clock out to secure the win.
Northwestern totaled 23 first downs and 400 yards of offense, led by Riley (12-117-1 TD) and Hutson (27-116-2) who sparked a ground game that averaged nearly six yards per carry. Davis Bloemendaal completed 16-of-28 passes for a touchdown and one interception. Greg Hegstad led the Raider D with 12.5 tackles.
The Red Raiders opened up a quick 13-0 lead after the first quarter but Concordia responded with 14 points in the second to take a one-point advantage into halftime. Northwestern put the only points on the board in the third quarter with a 20-yard field goal, setting up the back-and-forth, high scoring final quarter.
Concordia totaled 26 first downs and 360 yards of total offense, led by Collins, who rushed for 110 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns. Von Thomas threw for 220 yards and a score while completing 20-of-34 passes.
Scouting Concordia...The Bulldogs are an even 2-2 in conference play and 3-3 overall. They have alternated wins/losses all season, losing to Nebraska Wesleyan 37-34 in overtime last weekend in Lincoln, Neb. They have wins over Sterling (Kan.), Midland (Neb.) and Dordt (Iowa) and losses to Hastings (Neb.) and Dakota State (S.D.).
Vance Winter is in sixth season as the head coach of the Concordia football program, hired in 2009 after a successful stint as the top assistant coach under the former long-time head coach Courtney Meyer. Winter returns 14 starters (8 offense, 6 defense) from a 2013 team that tied for fifth place in the GPAC with a 5-4 record, 7-4 overall. They earned votes in the final poll and were ranked as high as 14th after a 6-0 start to the season.
Concordia ranks third in the GPAC in both scoring and total offense, putting up 32 points and 437 yards per game. Senior quarterback Von Thomas returns for his third and final season as the Bulldogs starting quarterback after earning all-conference honors last year. Thomas ranks 10th in the NAIA in total offense, averaging over 290 yards per game. Equally effective as a rusher (73 carries, 468 yards) and passer (94-for-176, 1,277 yards), Thomas has accounted for 21 touchdowns this season (7 rush, 14 pass). He averages over six yards per rushing attempt and leads the second best rushing offense in the GPAC. Sophomore Bryce Collins, an all-conference pick last year, is the team's leading rusher, ranking 11th in the NAIA at 105 yards per game. Freshman Jared Garcia is the team's top receiver, ranking fifth in the GPAC with 29 catches for 411 yards and six touchdowns.Carey Harrison and Logan Otte have combined for 24 catches for nearly 300 yards and four scores. Senior Josh Powell, a second team all-GPAC pick in 2013, anchors an o-line that has given up nine sacks this season.
Defensively, Concordia is fourth in the GPAC in scoring (27.3ppg) and total defense (396ypg). They are fifth against the run (151ypg) and seventh against the pass (245ypg). Senior Kyle Rakow is the team's leading tackler, recording 44 stops and 3.5 sacks along the d-line. Defensive tackle Michael Gill has 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks and returns after earning all-conference honors last year. Nakeem Evans headlines the linebacker group with 40 tackles and one sack while Tarence Roby leads the team with two interceptions and has 35 tackles as the Bulldogs safety.
Northwestern News and Notes...Since losing to Bacone (Okla.) in its season opener, Northwestern has rattled off four straight wins, all in conference play. They have outscored opponents 98-17 during the four-game win streak, which includes back-to-back shutouts against Nebraska Wesleyan and Briar Cliff in their last two games. The Raider D has not been scored upon in 11 consecutive quarters, dating back to the first drive by DWU on Sept. 20.
Offensively, Northwestern averages 26 points per game, sixth best in the GPAC. They have one of the more balanced offenses in the conference, ranking fifth in rushing (161ypg) and ninth (165ypg) in passing. Sophomore quarterback Craig Bruinsma completes 50% of his passes (49-98) for 540 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions. Redshirt sophomore Braden Miltenberger has also played under center and has completed 57% of his passes for 260 yards and four scores. Ben Green is the top pass catching threat for NWC, ranking sixth in the GPAC with 25 catches for 367 yards and five touchdowns. Jessie Riley leads the Northwestern rushing attack, ranking ninth in the GPAC with 361 yards on 96 carries and two touchdowns. Paul Hutson totals 52 carries for 241 yards and five touchdowns, averaging nearly five yards per attempt.
The Raider D leads the NAIA in total defense, giving up 199 yards per contest. They are first in the GPAC in scoring (11.6) and passing defense (125ygp) while ranking second against the run (74ypg). Northwestern is also second in the NAIA with 20 sacks, averaging four per game, and have scored three defensive touchdowns this season. Greg Hegstad has a team-high 34.5 tackles to go with 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Fellow linebacker Brett Coston has 25.5 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception. Lawton DeJong (21 tackles) and Sam Van Ginkel (9.5 tackles) lead the GPAC in sacks, recording 4.5 and 5.5, respectively. The secondary is led by junior Justin Wohlert with a GPAC-leading six interceptions and 14 passes defended. Donavan Weldon has 11 tackles and two picks, one for a touchdown.
Up Next...Northwestern will host Dordt next Saturday for its Homecoming game. Kickoff on Saturday, Oct. 25 is scheduled for 1:30pm.
# 2 | Quarterback
Junior from Denver, Colo.
# 21 | Running Back
Senior from San Bernardino, Calif.
# 13 | Safety
Junior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
# 56 | Defensive Line
Senior from Orange City, Iowa
# 20 | Cornerback
Senior from Hartley, Iowa
# 6 | Quarterback
Junior from Norco, Calif.
# 7 | Defensive End
Junior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Junior from Logan, Iowa