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Game Time...Northwestern College heads to Sioux City, Iowa, to play Morningside on Saturday, Nov. 8 in a match-up of top 10 teams. Both teams are tied for first with 7-0 conference records. Seventh-ranked Northwestern has won seven straight games and is 7-1 overall while Morningside, ranked first in the last seven coaches' polls, is a perfect 8-0 overall. Listen live to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now! or watch/listen live and follow the stats via the Morningside website at this link: Watch/Listen Now!
All-Time...This will be the 23rd meeting between the two rivals with Morningside owning a slim 12-10 lead over Northwestern. The Mustangs have won eight of the past 10 games against NWC but the Red Raiders earned a 38-28 home win last season.
Last Year...19th-ranked Northwestern used a big first half to upset top-ranked Morningside 38-28 last year in front of a packed DeValois Stadium.
With the score tied at seven, Northwestern scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 28-7 halftime lead. Morningside responded with a big third quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns to make it a one score game (28-21). The Red Raiders added to their lead with a 34-yard field goal by Julian Dittmann and scored again on a one-yard run by Theo Bartman to put the hosts up 38-21. Morningside answered with a quick touchdown drive of its own when Ryan Kasdorf connected with Kyle Schuck for a 28-yard scoring pass with five minutes left. The Mustangs immediately got the ball back after recovering an onside kick at the Northwestern 43-yard line. The Raider D came up with two big stops, forcing a turnover on downs and later, forcing a fumble, to clinch the win.
Northwestern totaled 20 first downs and 322 yards of total offense, led by Bartman who rushed 33 times for 123 yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah Twitty led the defensive effort with 10 tackles, one forced fumble and a sack.
Morningside totaled 512 yards of offense but had five turnovers. Kasdorf completed 21-of-33 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Wegher had 20 carries for 82 yards and two scores.
Scouting Morningside...The top-ranked Mustangs are the only undefeated team left in the NAIA, owning a perfect 8-0 overall record. They are tied with Northwestern for first in the GPAC at 7-0 and had their closest game of the season in its 44-21 home win over Concordia last weekend. Morningside has outscored its opponents by an average of 51 points per game (64ppg-13.1ppg).
Steve Ryan is in his 13th season as the Morningside head coach and has guided the Mustangs to 10 consecutive NAIA Championship Series. Ryan is 109-33 during his tenure and has brought Morningside to the national quarterfinals eight times over the last 10 years. Ryan returns 12 starters and 75 players off a 2013 team that won the GPAC regular season championship with an 8-1 record, 11-2 overall.
Five starters return for a Morningside offense that ranks first in the NAIA in scoring (64ppg), total yards (697ypg) and rushing (377ypg). They are fourth in the nation in passing yards (320ypg). Senior Ryan Kasdorf returns under center after earning all-conference honors last year. Kasdorf has completed 73% of his passes for 2,266 yards and 21 touchdowns while also rushing for 155 yards and four scores. Despite losing 2013 NAIA player of the year in wide receiver Kyle Schuck due to graduation, the Mustangs receiving corps has six players with at least 14 catches and 200 receiving yards. Senior Devin Thomas leads the GPAC with 969 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while also doubling as the team's top punt returner, with 12 returns for 174 yards. Jason Vander Kooi has 20 catches for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Brandon Wegher, who starred for Division I Iowa several season ago, leads the NAIA with 1,493 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, averaging 187 yards per game. The Mustangs offensive line has two starters return and has given up just two sacks all year.
Defensively, Morningside has six starters back from last year and this year's unit is second in the NAIA in points (13.1) and third in total defense (244ypg). They have been especially stingy against the run, giving up 75ypg, best in the NAIA. Junior Zac Schleuger leads the Mustangs with 72 total stops which includes 20.5 tackles for a loss. Both Luke Gibbs and Darrius McMullen have a team-best 4.5 sacks an anchor the d-line. Logan Gibbs returns as a starter and has 54 stops and two fumble recoveries at linebacker.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won seven straight games since losing to Bacone in the 2014 season opener. They have climbed all the way up to seventh in this week's NAIA coaches' poll and are tied with Morningside for first place in the GPAC with a 7-0 record, 7-1 overall.
Northwestern is fourth in the GPAC in scoring, averaging 28 points per game. They feature a balanced offense, averaging 172 yards rushing and 179 yards passing. Sophomore Braden Miltenberger will make his third career start under center for NWC and first since the season-opener against Bacone. Miltenberger has completed 56% of his pass attempts for 380 yards and six touchdowns. He also has rushed for 124 yards on 31 carries. Ben Green ranks fourth in the GPAC in both receptions (39) and yards (541) and has eight touchdowns this season. Jessie Riley leads the team in rushing, totaling 669 yards on 150 carries and three scores. He ranks sixth in the GPAC with 83.6 yards per game. Paul Hutson has 78 carries for 402 yards and a team-best six rushing touchdowns and Brady Timmer has 37 carries for 151 yards and three scores. The Red Raiders o-line has given up 18 sacks this season.
The Raider D leads the NAIA in scoring, giving up 12.9 points per game. They are second in the nation against the pass (117ypg), fifth against the run (88ypg) and give up 204 yards per game. Northwestern is second in the nation with 32 sacks. Greg Hegstad leads the team with 53 tackles and 7.5 sacks, ranking 11th in the NAIA in the later. Brett Coston has 33.5 total stops and Lawton DeJong has seven sacks along the d-line. Justin Wohlert leads the NAIA with nine interceptions and 19 passes defended.
Up Next...Northwestern will close the regular season at home against Midland on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 1pm.
# 10 | Linebacker
Junior from Fort Myers, Fla.
# 43 | Running Back
Senior from Edgerton, Minn.
# 44 | Linebacker
Senior from Sanborn, Iowa
# 85 | Wide Receiver
Senior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 2 | Quarterback
Sophomore from Denver, Colo.
# 21 | Running Back
Junior from San Bernardino, Calif.
# 56 | Defensive Line
Junior from Orange City, Iowa
# 20 | Cornerback
Junior from Hartley, Iowa
# 22 | Running Back
Sophomore from Logan, Iowa
# 93 | Kicker
Sophomore from Zehdenick, Germany