DWU, Nebraska Wesleyan clash today in GPAC football matchupWhen the Dakota Wesleyan University football team takes the field against Nebraska Wesleyan, there may finally be an answer to an age-old question: Does good offense beat good defense or is it the other way around?
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
When the Dakota Wesleyan University football team takes the field against Nebraska Wesleyan, there may finally be an answer to an age-old question: Does good offense beat good defense or is it the other way around?
The Tigers (5-3 overall, 4-3 conference) play their final road game of the year at 1 p.m. today in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup against NWU (4-4, 3-4 conference) in Lincoln, Neb.
The Prairie Wolves have a tough defense led by a stout front four that ranks second in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and is only allowing 64 yards on the ground per game.
The battle between the Dakota Wesleyan rush offense and the Nebraska Wesleyan rush defense is considered to be the marquee matchup of the game.
The Tigers’ rushing attack is led by senior back Josh Endres, who has amassed 1,104 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, averaging 138 yards per game this season.
“The battle between our defense and their offense is worth the admission, it is really the marquee matchup in the game and their running back Josh Endres is really good,” NWU head coach Brian Keller said. “Any time you can make a team one dimensional that helps, but if you look at their team, even if you stop the run, they have a good quarterback in (Jon) Bane, who in my opinion is the best pure throwing quarterback in the conference.”
Bane is shredding opposing defenses to the tune of 1,699 yards passing and 16 touchdowns.
In order for Nebraska Wesleyan to shut down the Dakota Wesleyan offense, it will rely on big performance from first team all-GPAC linebacker Brett Kaczor, who has recorded 70 tackles, eight tackles for loss and one sack.
“I think their run defense is very good and they are one of the first four-man fronts we are going to see, so they pose some problems for us there because it is a little bit different schematically than we are use to,” DWU head coach Ross Cimpl said. “I think we have a good scheme and offensive line, and with Josh (Endres) back there we have some things that we need to be able to do to make those guys work laterally.”
While Kaczor will be looking to get his hands on Endres in hopes of stopping the run, sophomore defensive lineman Phil Latimer — who is leading the Prairie Wolves in sacks and tackles for loss with 11.5 and six respectively — will be looking to get his paws on Bane.
Another factor that could determine the outcome of the game is field position, which makes special teams and ball security very important.
Both teams have good punters who average more than 40 yards per kick in Kelby Vandenberg and Derek Carlson who can change the game with one flick of the leg.
“For us, field position, the kicking game and our return game are going to be very, very important,” Cimpl said.