Wesleyan falls to Northwestern 41-13By the time Dakota Wesleyan University sent its punter to the field three times, the Tigers were in a deep hole against one of the conference’s best.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
By the time Dakota Wesleyan University sent its punter to the field three times, the Tigers were in a deep hole against one of the conference’s best.
Northwestern and its impressive running back duo jumped out to a 20-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game, leading to a 41-13 win over DWU Saturday night on a cold, wet evening at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.
The No. 16-ranked Red Raiders, who are in second place in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, handed the Tigers their first home loss of the year. The defeat dropped No. 25 DWU to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in GPAC play this season.
“They were ready to play,” DWU offensive lineman Skyler Eriksen said. “Right away, they got on top of us quick and we had a tough time recovering.”
The loss also kills any hopes of a playoff berth for the Tigers, who are now in a three-way tie for third in the league. DWU suffered a lopsided loss to defending conference champion Morningside two weeks ago and saw the same type of defeat Saturday evening.
“I think we’ve matured a lot in the last two weeks,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “Even though we took a loss here, and it’s a tough one and it stings, I think our guys have really bought into what we want to do. It’s unfortunate we had to lose the game.”
Wesleyan’s first score came with 3:20 left in the first half while trailing 27-0. The Red Raiders’ Brandon Smith had two first-quarter touchdowns and added another to open the second quarter. The three TDs by the senior running back were in addition to NWU’s 24-yard touchdown pass three minutes, 50 seconds into the game.
“Our offense plays its best when we get going right away,” NWU coach Kyle Achterhoff said. “When we come out and get in our rhythm, that’s the key for us.”
But the Tigers found the end zone when quarterback Jon Bane hit Josh Endres on fourth-and-5 for a scrambling, 26-yard touchdown pass.
Endres was one of the main highlights for DWU’s offense with the receiving touchdown. He also had 34 carries for 117 yards rushing.
After the Tigers’ touchdown, NWU’s Theo Bartman scored on a 66-yard touchdown run one minute, 48 seconds before halftime that gave the Red Raiders a 34-6 lead at the break.
Bartman scored again midway through the third quarter on a 16-yard touchdown run. He finished with 12 carries for 105 yards, while Smith had 14 carries for 163 yards. They combined for five of NWU’s six TDs.
“We’re very blessed to have two very talented backs,” Achterhoff said. “They feed off each other. They’ve very unselfish.”
With 8:44 left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers’ other touchdown came when linebacker Jeff Maassen picked up a fumble on an option play and returned it three yards to reach the end zone.
Despite trailing by a large margin in the fourth quarter, Cimpl said he was proud of the way his defense continued to play hard in the final minutes.
“(Maassen) just made a play,” Cimpl said. “Those are things we can build on.”
DWU had three first downs in the first half and finished with 188 yards of total offense to NWU’s 488. Bane was 8-of-29 passing with an interception, the touchdown to Endres and 92 yards. Tight end Derek Carlson caught three passes for 59 yards.
The Tigers play at Nebraska Wesleyan at 1 p.m. Saturday in its final road game of the year.
NOTES: DWU had nine penalties for 103 yards, while NWU had four penalties for 69 yards. Both teams had three personal fouls. … Northwestern had seven fumbles in the game and lost four. … Brady Bonte led DWU’s defense with 11 tackles, but Maassen had a stand-out performance besides his touchdown. He also had a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and seven tackles.
Northwestern 41, Dakota Wesleyan 13
NW: Eli Groenendyk 24 pass from Davis Bloemendaal (Kick blocked)
NW: Brandon Smith 38 run (Mike O’Brien kick)
NW: Smith 50 run (O’Brien kick)
NW: Smith 38 run (O’Brien kick)
DWU: Josh Endres 26 pass from Jon Bane (Kick failed)
NW: Theo Bartman 66 run (O’Brien kick)
NW: Bartman 16 run (O’Brien kick)
DWU: Jeff Maassen 3 fumble recovery (Porter kick)
Passing — DWU: Jon Bane 8-29-1-92; NW: Davis Bloemendaal 11-18-0-133.
Rushing — Josh Endres 34-117; Andre Lopez 1-4; Arthur Brown 4-(-5); Jon Bane 4-(-20). NW: Brandon Smith 14-163; Theo Bartman 12-105; Davis Bloemendaal 5-22; Derek Feddema 2-8; Brady Timmer 4-4; Marcus Altena 1-2; Dre Gentry 1-1.
Receiving: DWU — Derek Carlson 3-59; Josh Endres 3-29; Michal Brown 1-3; Arthur Brown 1-1. NWU — Theo Bartman 4-58; Eli Groenendyk 2-34; Brice Byker 2-11; Tyler Walker 1-14; Brandon Smith 1-9; Jacey Hoegh 1-7.
Defensive: DWU — Brady Bonte 11 tackles; Jeff Maassen, seven tackles, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, touchdown; Eric Gruis five tackles, fumble recovery; Craig Henglefelt fumble recovery.