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DWU outlasts Midland 20-17 on record setting night

FREMONT, Neb. –— Dakota Wesleyan University quarterback Jon Bane found Anthony Muilenburg for a 17-yard touchdown with 38 seconds left to top Great Plains Athletic Conference foe Midland University 20-17 on a historic day for the Tigers Saturday in Fremont, Neb.

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The Tigers (5-3, 4-2 GPAC) trailed 17-7 at the half, Bane delivered two second-half touchdown passes and the DWU defense kept Midland off the board in the second half to secure the win.

“We did a self-evaluation and at halftime we came out and did a better job of getting off the field and didn’t turn the ball over,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said.

Star running back Francois Barnaud set a new single-season rushing record with three regular-season games remaining for the Tigers. Barnaud rushed 27 times for 257 yards to bring his season total to 1,377 yards.

“It’s pretty incredible and the thing Fran does well is he trusts the blocking scheme,” Cimpl said. “Very rarely is he trying to make a guy miss in the backfield and that’s a credit to our offensive line.”

The Belle Fourche native moved to the top of the DWU rushing list, passing his predecessor Josh Endres, who set the record last season with 1,302 yards.

Also leaving a stamp on the DWU record books Saturday was All-American wide receiver Anthony Muilenburg, who entered the game with 203 careers catches, just three receptions shy of the school’s all-time mark. Muilenberg caught six passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns, bringing his career total to 209 receptions and securing the record held by Bubba Slaba at 206 receptions.

“He really made a decision after that first game and knew he was back,” Cimpl said about Muilenburg.

The Tigers had to hold on at the end, after Muilenburg’s late go-ahead score. Midland drove into range for a 50-yard field goal attempt with 2 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. But the attempt by Midland’s Anthony Wood fell well short and DWU secured its third-consecutive road victory.

The Tigers now sit in a five-way tie for second place in the GPAC behind No. 1 Morningside.

After falling behind 7-0 early in the first quarter, Bane found Muilenburg for a 24-yard touchdown to cap off an 88-yard drive to draw DWU even at 7-7.

The Warriors would score 10–unanswered points in the second quarter to go into the break up 17-7, but Midland would not score again on the Tiger defense.

“We just executed a lot better in the second half in terms of our pressure and against the run game,” Cimpl said.

On the opening drive of the second half Bane hit Cody Duerksen from 26 yards out for a score to pull the tigers within three.

With just over two minutes left in the game, the Tigers drove 64 yards in less than 90 seconds to tie the game with Muilenburg’s second receiving score.

Bane finished with 149 yards on 13-of-30 passing. The senior threw three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Leading the DWU defense was Anthony Cervantes, who finished with 12 tackles and one sack. Adam Bormann racked up 11 tackles, while Jeff Massen finished with 10 tackles and one interception.

Midland was led on offense by quarterback Michael Karls with 119 yards passing and another 82 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown.

DWU will return home for its next two games. The Tigers play Nebraska Wesleyan University at 1 p.m Saturday at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.