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Game Time...#8 Northwestern heads to Hastings, Neb. to play the Broncos in a GPAC football match-up on Saturday, Nov. 1. Kickoff on Lloyd Wilson Field is scheduled for 1pm. The Red Raiders have won six straight games and is one of two undefeated teams left in the GPAC at 6-0, 6-1 overall. Hastings is alone in fifth place in the GPAC with a 3-3 record, 4-3 overall. Watch/listen live to the game via the Hastings broadcast at this link: Watch Now! or listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern owns a 15-10 all-time advantage in the season series dating back to the 1986 season. The Red Raiders have won the last seven match-ups and are 8-2 over the last 10.
Last year...Davis Bloemendaal threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Brice Byker with two minutes left as Northwestern held off the Broncos' upset bid 31-28 in a game played on Nov. 2 in Orange City, Iowa.
Down 28-17 with 12 minutes left to play, Northwestern rallied with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to earn the win. Bloemendaal first hooked up with Theo Bartman for a 22-yard scoring strike with seven minutes to go to make it a one score game. He then found Byker for a long touchdown pass for the game winning score five minutes later.
Northwestern accounted for 471 yards of total offense, led by Bloemendaal who threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns despite being sacked seven times. Byker totaled seven catches for 118 yards and two scores while Bartman rushed for 56 yards and a score to go with his receiving TD. Isaiah Twitty led the Raider D with seven tackles and Court Ecklund totaled six stops and one sack.
Hastings gained 311 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Matt Overmiller with 232 passing yards and three scores. Nate Arlt rushed 17 times for 59 yards and one score and Austin Curlee had a team-high seven catches for 59 yards. Joel Grafel led the Broncos defense with 10.5 tackles and three sacks.
Scouting Hastings...The Broncos stand alone in the middle of the conference standings, in fifth place with a 3-3 record, 4-3 overall. They have wins over Kansas Wesleyan, Concordia, Briar Cliff and Midland and losses to Doane, Dakota Wesleyan and Morningside. Hastings is 2-1 over its last three games.
Tony Harper is in his fourth season as the Broncos head coach and returns 16 starters off a 2013 team that finished ninth in the conference with a 1-8 record, 2-8 overall.
The Broncos boast one of the top offenses in the NAIA, ranking eighth in scoring (41ppg) and sixth in yards (466ypg). They return eight starters and feature a balanced attack, averaging 205 rushing yards and 260 passing yards. Quarterback Matt Overmiller returns as the Broncos starter under center and ranks third in the GPAC with 227 yards of total offense. He has completed 57% of his pass attempts for 1,592 yards and 12 touchdowns before leaving the last game with an injury. Ramiro Flores leads the ground game with 112 carries for 556 yards and nine touchdowns, ranking third in the GPAC in scoring. Overmiller has 294 rushing yards for three scores and Jake Fowler has seven rushing touchdowns. Austin Curlee leads the Broncos receivers with 34 catches for 461 yards and four touchdowns while his teammate, Noah Housh, has 20 receptions for 497 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 25 yards per catch. Both players rank among the top 10 in the conference in both yards and receptions. Tanner Paxton anchors the offensive line, returning as a starter after earning first team all-league honors.
Defensively, Hastings has eight starters back and is near the bottom of the league in scoring (39.4ppg) and total defense, giving up over 500 yards per game. They are last in the GPAC with five sacks. Erik Wylie leads the team with 60 stops and returns after earning second team all-league honors. Wylie has three of the team's five sacks. Kelly McBride has 51 tackles while both Tyler Harris and Jacob Tarr have 40 tackles.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won six straight games all have climbed all the way up to eighth in the latest NAIA coaches' poll, the highest ranking since the 2008 season. Northwestern is one of two teams left unbeaten in conference play, owning a 6-0 record, 6-1 overall.
Northwestern has the third highest scoring offense in the GPAC, averaging 29 points per game. They are seventh in total yards (350), ranking sixth in rush (165) and eighth in pass (185). Sophomore Craig Bruinsma will make his seventh start under center for the Red Raiders and has completed 56% of his passes for 991 yards and nine touchdowns. Ben Green is his top receiving target, ranking fifth in the GPAC with 37 catches for 494 yards and eight touchdowns. Jessie Riley has 20 receptions for 179 yards and a score while Landon Johnson has 17 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns. Riley leads the NWC rushing attack with 131 carries for 601 yards, fifth most in the GPAC, and three touchdowns. Paul Hutson has 63 carries for 294 yards and six scores.
Defensively, the Red Raiders continue to be one of the NAIA's best, giving up 13.7 points and 217 yards per game. They are fifth in the NAIA against the run (92ypg) and third against the pass (125ypg). The Raider D also leads the GPAC with 26 sacks and has forced 24 turnovers. Senior Greg Hegstad leads the team with 42 tackles and is fifth in the GPAC with 4.5 sacks. Brett Coston (30) and Caleb DeHaan (27) are also among the leading tacklers. Lawton DeJong leads the conference with 6.5 sacks and his teammate, Sam Van Ginkel, is second with 5.5. Justin Wohlert leads the NAIA with nine interceptions and 17 passes defended.
Up Next...Northwestern will play its second straight road game next week as they head to Sioux City, Iowa, to play top-ranked Morningside.
# 6 | Quarterback
Senior from Norco, Calif.
# 7 | Defensive End
Senior from Rock Valley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Senior from Logan, Iowa
# 83 | Wide Receiver
Senior from Littleton , Colo.