Schedule note: Homecoming
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Game Time...Northwestern plays host to Dordt for its Homecoming game this weekend on Saturday, Oct. 25. Kickoff on Korver Field at DeValois Stadium is set for 1:30pm. Northwestern, ranked eighth in this week's NAIA coaches' poll, has won five straight and is 5-0 in the GPAC, 5-1 overall. Dordt has won two straight games, is 1-4 in the GPAC and 2-5 overall. Watch/listen live to the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or follow the live stats at the following link: Live Stats!
All-Time...Northwestern is 6-0 all-time against the Defenders in a rivalry that began in 2008.
Last Year...Northwestern scored the final 34 points in defeating Dordt 48-10 in a conference match-up played last year in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Leading 14-10 midway through the second quarter, Northwestern scored a pair of touchdowns over the final seven minutes to take a 28-10 halftime lead. The Red Raiders added two more scores in the third on a pair of touchdown passes from Davis Bloemendaal to Ben Green and then concluded the scoring on a long touchdown pass from Bloemendaal to Brice Byker.
Northwestern totaled 442 yards on offense, led by Bloemendaal who threw for 235 yards and five touchdowns. Paul Hutson was the top rusher, totaling 125 yards on 13 carries, scoring one touchdown. Isaiah Twitty totaled 7.5 tackles and registered three sacks for the Raider D.
Dordt churned out 272 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Zach Barker with 148 passing yards. Lenard Manuel rushed 12 times for 38 yards and a score while Vanoy Harris led the defense with 7.5 stops.
Scouting the Defenders...Dordt enters the weekend on a two-game win streak, earning wins over Trinity Bible (N.D.) and Nebraska Wesleyan the last two weeks. They defeated the Prairie Wolves 24-20 last week for their second ever conference win. Freshman Taylan Seaman threw for 216 yards and hooked up with receiver Jason Miller for an 82-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
Greg Youngblood is in his third season as the Defenders head coach, taking over the program in December of 2011, after a previous stint as the head of the Waldorf football program. He returns around 24 letterwinners of a 2013 team that finished 0-9 in the GPAC, 2-9 overall.
Five starters return for a Defenders offense that ranks 10th in the GPAC in scoring (15ppg), averaging 232 yards per game. Dordt features run-first attack that grinds out 167 yards per game, sixth best in the conference. Senior Daniel Fennig leads the team with 305 yards and averages an even four yards per carry. Seaman has rushed 72 times for 211 yards and two scores and Xavier Caffee leads the team with three rushing scores while totaling 186 yards. Seaman has completed 34% of his pass attempts for 523 yards and three touchdowns. Miller is the leading receiver, totaling 21 catches for 341 yards and two touchdowns. The Defenders' young offensive line, featuring three freshman starters, has given up just seven sacks.
Defensively, Dordt gives up 37 points and 441 yards per game, eighth best in the GPAC. Four starters return from 2013, led by junior linebacker Vanoy Harris who is second in the GPAC with 71 total stops. Safety Cole McClain is fourth in the conference with 68 tackles and freshman defensive lineman Ben Bajema leads the team with three sacks.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won five straight games and are one of two undefeated teams left in the GPAC, owning a 5-0 record, 5-1 overall. They have climbed to eighth in the current NAIA coaches' poll, marking the highest ranking since the 2008 season (Oct. 27 poll when Northwestern was 7-1).
Northwestern is scoring 26.3 points per game, sixth best in the GPAC. They feature one the more balanced offenses, averaging 167 yards rushing and 179 yards through the air. Sophomore Craig Bruinsma will be making his sixth career start under center and is coming off one of his best games in last week's road win over Concordia. Bruinsma completed 25-of-39 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown against the Bulldogs and has thrown for 789 total yards and five scores this season. Senior Ben Green ranks fifth in the GPAC with 32 receptions and ninth in yards (436) while scoring a team-high six touchdowns. Junior running back Jessie Riley, coming off his first 100-yard game of the year and third for his career, is seventh in the GPAC with 506 rushing yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Paul Hutson has 271 rushing yards and has reached the endzone five times.
The Raider D continues to rank among the NAIA's best heading into the weekend. They are second in scoring (13.2), fourth against the run (81ypg), seventh against the pass (136ypg) and first in total defense, giving up 217 yards per game. Northwestern leads the GPAC in turnover margin (+5) and has forced 21 this season. Five players have 20-or-more tackles, led by linebacker Greg Hegstad with 35.5 stops. The senior is seventh in the league with 3.5 sacks. Brett Coston (26), Lawton DeJong (24) and Caleb DeHaan (22) are also among the team's leading tacklers. DeJong and Sam Van Ginkel lead the GPAC with 5.5 sacks each and Justin Wohlert, the current NAIA defensive player of the week, leads the NAIA with nine interceptions.
Up Next...Northwestern heads to Hastings, Neb. for match-up against the Broncos on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1pm.
# 6 | Quarterback
Junior from Norco, Calif.
# 7 | Defensive End
Junior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Junior from Logan, Iowa