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DWU hosts Tabor College in college football contest

Tabor College is not only a new team on Dakota Wesleyan University's schedule, but the Bluejays seem like a brand new squad. No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan hosts No. 8 Tabor College at 1 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. It's the first ever me...

Tabor College is not only a new team on Dakota Wesleyan University's schedule, but the Bluejays seem like a brand new squad.

No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan hosts No. 8 Tabor College at 1 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. It's the first ever meeting between the two programs in football.

The Bluejays were hit hard by graduation last season and have several new players in starting roles this season. Tabor graduated 20 seniors from last season's 11-2 season.

"We just need to try to find ourselves and find our chemistry," Tabor coach Mike Gardner said. "That's really what I am using this game to try to gauge. Because we have a lot of guys that are going to be playing their first football game at Tabor and we replaced a lot from last year."

The Tigers are still cautious and foresee the Bluejays doing similar things from last season.

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"We are anticipating the scheme to be the same," DWU linebacker Adam Bormann said. "They have got the same coaches. Personnel-wise, they have a lot of good linemen coming back. They always have fast, big fullbacks. They are going to have some dudes out there. So we are going to be ready."

Despite the newness surrounding Tabor, DWU coach Ross Cimpl said the Bluejays present a tough challenge for the Tigers.

"It is a measuring stick and it is an opportunity for our guys to compete and be competitive," Cimpl said. "That is ultimately what we are trying to do, we have to be competitive in those games if our ultimate goal is to be in the playoffs and winning playoff games. Here is a team that has been doing that and they are coming to our place to play."

The Tigers not only have the home field advantage, but also have one game under their belt. DWU lost to Dakota State 34-30 in last Friday's season opener at Joe Quintal Field. Today's game is the season opener for Tabor.

"Anytime you are able to play a game and have that experience, it does nothing but help your kids and I have always felt like you make a lot of improvements from that first game to that second game anyway," Gardner said.

The Bluejays may have new personnel at key spots, but they will may still look to run the ball this season. Tabor ranked fifth nationally in rushing yards and scored 47 rushing touchdowns last season.

"We know the general knowledge of who they are, what they are trying to do and maybe the philosophy of they like to run the football," Cimpl said. "They want to control the clock. They want to play great defense and that is going to be a challenge for us on all those things."

So for the second week in a row, DWU's defense will be tested. The Tigers gave up 512 yards of total offense last week against Dakota State.

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"Defensively, this week is huge with assignment football," Bormann said. "They are running the triple option. So we just need everybody doing their job and taking care of all the options they have."

DWU's offense will try to duplicate last week's performance. The Tigers had 414 yards of total offense and quarterback Dillon Turner passed for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

"Defensively, we have to be able to tackle," Gardner said. "You go into a first game and if you haven't hit anybody else other than yourself, it is always a concern to me how we are going to be able to tackle and how we are going to be able to cover and how we are going to be able to do different things like that. It is going to be a test for us just to see where we are at."

No. 8 Tabor College (0-0) at No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan (0-1)

When/Where: 1 p.m. today at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell.

Last meeting: Today is the first meeting between Dakota Wesleyan and Tabor in football.

Coaches: DWU's Ross Cimpl, fifth year; Tabor's Mike Gardner, ninth year.

Notes: DWU and Tabor were both ranked in the preseason NAIA poll. The first poll of the regular season will be released on Sept. 12. . . . Today's game is part of the second annual Great Plains Athletic Conference/Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Challenge. The GPAC went 8-1 against the KCAC schools last season. The challenge games will all be played at GPAC sites this season. . . . Today's game is the NAIA Game of the Week. . . . DWU wide receiver Dustin Livingston caught six passes for a career-high 141 yards in last week's game against Dakota State. . . . Tabor College qualified for the NAIA playoffs for the first time in school history last season. The Bluejays lost to GPAC member Morningside College 51-6 in the quarterfinal round. Tabor defeated Doane University, of the GPAC, in the first round.

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Dakota Wesleyan University Projected Starters

(Position, name, year, height, weight, hometown)

Offense

QB: Dillon Turner, jr., 6-1, 220, Salem, Ark.

RB: John Fabrizius, jr., 6-1, 215, Casper, Wyo.

WR: Hayden Adams, jr., 6-2, 190, Villa Park, Ill.

WR: Dustin Livingston, sr., 6-1, 190, Irene.

FB: Payne Ahrens, so., 6-4, 225, Gretna, Neb.

TE: Tyler Fortuna, jr., 6-5, 235, Gillette, Wyo.

LT: Trevor Wietzema, so., 6-3, 285, Worthington, Minn.

LG: Ben Gannon, so., 6-0, 270, San Pablo, Calif.

C: Levi Rozeboom, so., 6-2, 265, Inwood, Iowa.

RG: Damon Macleary, jr., 6-1, 260, Cheyenne, Wyo.

RT: Cody Cook, so., 6-3, 260, Harrisburg.

Defense

DL: Brady Mudder, sr., 6-3, 230, Garretson

DL: Cohl Ratermann, sr., 6-5, 315, Colome

DL: Zack Clement, so., 6-4, 230, Hartwick, Iowa

LB: Collin Helget, so., 6-1, 205, New Ulm, Minn.

LB: Austin Van Poole, jr., 5-10, 215, Yuba City, Calif.

LB: Adam Bormann, sr., 6-0, 230, Stickney

LB: Dillon Rork, so., 6-3, 210, Grand Island, Neb.

CB: Matt Jensen, sr., 5-11, 170, Viborg

S: Trey DeCroock, so., 6-2, 190, Sioux Falls

S: Charlie LaRoche, jr., 5-11, 200, Lower Brule

CB: Bailey Schriever, so., 6-1, 155, Harrisburg

Special Teams

K: Chase Murphy, fr., 6-2, 180, Kearney, Neb.

P: Enrique Cajero, fr., 6-1, 195, Kimball, Neb.

H: Luke Stephens, sr., 6-2, 175, Chico, Calif.

LS: Brady Mudder, sr., 6-3, 230, Garretson

KR/PR: Dustin Livingston, sr., 6-1, 190, Irene.

Tabor College Projected Starters

(Position, name, year, height, weight, hometown)

Offense

QB: Trey Schmidt, jr., 6-2, 205, Goessel, Kan.

RB: Jonah McKee, sr., 5-5, 165, Halstead, Kan.

RB: Cody Coleman, sr., 5-10, 180, Fort Worth, Texas

WR: Darius Stallworth, sr., 6-5, 230, Moss Point, Miss.

WR: Charles Beale, jr., 5-10, 195, Arden, N.C.

LT: Jose Licon, sr., 6-2, 295, Hugoton, Kan.

LG: Spencer Baalman, jr., 6-2, 295, Wichita, Kan.

C: Zach Andrew, sr., 5-10, 280, Hilo, Hawaii

RG: Robbie Gallinis, jr., 6-1, 265, Gilbert, Ariz.

RT: Josh Davidson, jr., 6-4, 305, Hillsboro, Kan.

Defense

DE: Evan Sprayberry, so., 6-2, 210, Moore, Okla.

DT: Dimitri Bowie, jr., 6-2, 265, Arp, Texas

DT: Mike Andrews, sr., 5-11, 218, DeSoto, Texas

DE: Taylor Ratzlaff, sr., 6-3, 230, Wichita, Kan.

LB: Alex Neuschafer, sr., 6-0, 240, Cimarron, Kan.

LB: Chris Colquitt, so., 5-10, 195, Houston, Texas

LB: Maurice Payne, sr., 6-0, 209, San Diego, Calif.

CB: Sean Kelley, jr., 5-11, 190, Greenwood, Ind.

S: Adrian Brown, sr., 5-10, 170, Olive Branch, Miss.

S: Tim Clapp, jr., 6-2, 190, Brooklyn, N.Y.

CB: Kevin Golden, jr., 6-2, 185, Los Angeles, Calif.

Special Teams

P: Trey Geiger, sr., 6-0, 195, Olathe, Kan.

K: Jared Slavens, sr., 5-9, 160, Piedmont, Okla.

LS: Omar Galvan, jr., 6-0, 220, Windsor, Calif.

KR: Zach Johnson, jr., 6-1, 180, Tracy, Calif.

PR: Charles Beale, jr., 5-10, 195, Arden, N.C.

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