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DWU falls to Northwestern in GPAC battle

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Dakota Wesleyan University freshman quarterback Kiel Nelson carries the ball Saturday night to start the second quarter of the Tigers' game against Northwestern at Joe Quintal Field. (Ellen Bardash / Republic)

Northwestern (Iowa) came into Saturday’s contest with Dakota Wesleyan University ranked No. 10 in the nation, and proved why with a 52-7 win over the Tigers at Joe Quintal Field.

The Red Raiders relied on their experienced backfield as quarterback Tyson Kooima went 18 of 27 for 314 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Senior running back Jacob Kalogonis added 25 carries for 137 yards.

“They’re extremely talented and if you give those guys a little space, they’ll make you pay for it,” DWU coach Ross Cimpl said. “Ultimately, I thought that was the storyline of the game for them. Big plays on offense and defensively, we weren’t able to slow those guys down very much.”

The big plays for Northwestern began on the opening kickoff as Garrett Sayler returned the ball to the DWU 35-yard line. Three plays later, Kalogonis scored from one yard out to give the Red Raiders a 7-0 lead.

After the ensuing kickoff the Tigers were facing a 3rd-and-9 from their own 21 when Mitchell native Kiel Nelson hit TreVyon McDaniel on a screen pass. McDaniel raced 79 yards for a touchdown to tie the contest at 7-all.

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Canova native and DWU starting running back Luke Loudenburg was hurt early in the game and was replaced by McDaniel and Chayden Fitzsimmons.

“Both those guys are young, and their role increased just today,” Cimpl said. “It’s good to see those guys out there playing and hopefully we can use that (to) teach them whatever they weren’t doing well and whatever they did well even better.”

After that big play, it was all Northwestern as the Red Raiders took a 31-7 lead into halftime.

The Tiger defense made a couple of stops in the third quarter and a blocked punt gave them the ball at the Northwestern 8-yard line. Three running plays moved the ball to the Red Raider 1-yard line, but on fourth down Northwestern came up big and held the Tigers out of the endzone.

Nelson led the Tiger attack with 9 of 21 passing for 206 yards. DWU ran the ball 36 times for 94 yards, finishing with 300 total yards.

“We still have to clean up some drops on the perimeter,” Cimpl said. “It’s timing and it’s knowing where a guy is going to be at and knowing where the ball is going to be.”

Eathan Gaulke led the Tiger defense with nine tackles, followed by Jackson Diede with eight.

“I thought our offense responded well after last week and having a tough game,” Cimpl said. “We’ve got to put it all together. Our kids played hard but ultimately they (Northwestern) don’t make mistakes and when you do, they’ll make you pay for it.”

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The Tigers travel to Sioux Center, Iowa, Saturday to take on Dordt University (Iowa).

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