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'Nightmare' third quarter stymies Homecoming game for DWU football against Concordia

DWU went 2-for-11 on third downs against Concordia, dropping to 0-6 on the season.

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Concordia's Korrell Koehlmoos runs the ball as Dakota Wesleyan's Grayson Hanson tries to make a tackle during an NAIA football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Critical situations proved to be Dakota Wesleyan’s Achilles' heel once again.

The Tigers scored one touchdown in three redzone trips and went 2-for-11 on third downs in a 20-12 loss to Concordia in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup during the Tigers’ Blue and White Days contest on Saturday afternoon.

While DWU struggled on third downs, Concordia didn’t, converting 13 of its 20 chances — a key contributor to the loss, according to DWU coach Ross Cimpl.

“They were extremely efficient on third downs, we were the exact opposite,” Cimpl said following the loss. “Those are critical situations. … We have to get better there.”

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Dakota Wesleyan lines up on defense while Concordia lines up on offense during an NAIA football game on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

The game swung in the third quarter. After DWU took a 3-0 lead to the half, the Bulldogs scored on their first three drives of the second half, opening up a 20-3 lead. Despite a blocked extra point that the Tigers returned for a safety to make it 20-5, Cimpl described the third quarter as a “nightmare.”

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“Offensively, not being able to stay on the field, and defensively not being able to get off the field, and that’s ultimately what it came down to,” he said of the third quarter after the game.

The Tigers scored in the fourth quarter on a Jamin Arend 4-yard run, but failed to crack the scoreboard after that. Arend, who finished the day with 125 yards on 17 rushes, became the 11th player in DWU history to rush for 2,000 yards during the game.

“Everybody knows the run game is going to go through Jamin, that's not a surprise,” Cimpl said of his running back. “That’s not a secret, I’m not afraid of saying that.”

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Dakota Wesleyan running back Jamin Arend (left) takes the handoff from quarterback Connor Drake (right) during an NAIA football game against Concordia on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Joe Quintal Field.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

Connor Drake once again got the start for the Tigers at quarterback despite Austin Lee dressing for the game. Cimpl said after the game that Lee is still recovering from an injury to his throwing shoulder that he suffered against Dordt, and he didn’t want to rush his starter back. Drake finished the game 13-for-20 for 148 yards through the air with an interception.

Conversely, Concordia thrived through the air. Starting quarterback D.J. McGarvie went 26-for-40 through the air for 255 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He connected with Korrell Koehlmoos 15 times for 115 yards and all three scores.

“If you have to live and die by the pass game and you're being efficient and moving the ball, that wears down the defense pretty quickly, especially if you can’t get pressure,” Cimpl said of Concordia’s aerial attack.

Concordia also had Nebraska transfer Austin Jablonski line up at quarterback, which he’s done all season. He threw just one pass and was utilized mainly as a rusher out of the quarterback position, carrying the ball four times for 26 yards. He also added six catches for 95 yards as a wide receiver.

“(Jablonski is) a big body and at that point, you're going truly 11-on-11 when the quarterback’s an actual runner,” Cimpl said of the two-quarterback attack.

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DWU (0-6, 0-5 GPAC) will try to pick up its first win of the season against Doane on the road on Saturday, Oct. 8. Concordia (1-3, 1-3 GPAC) is back home to take on Jamestown on Oct. 8.

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at zlambert@mitchellrepublic.com or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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