SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Special teams were anything but special for Dakota Wesleyan University on Saturday.
The Tigers saw Briar Cliff block two punts, a dropped snap that led to a safety on another and a kickoff return to start the second half, costing them a total of 23 points.
Special teams blunders, along with an offense generated three first downs, resulted in Briar Cliff handing DWU its first shutout since 2012 in a 47-0 win in Great Plains Athletic Conference action.
“It’s hard enough to play defense for an entire game and not give up points,” DWU head coach Ross Cimpl said. “But when you’re having 23 points that are essentially when the defense isn’t on the field, those are ridiculous things. … An area that was a positive for us, was a big Achilles’ heel.”
After a scoreless first quarter, DWU punter Tate Gale took a snap in his own end zone and a host of Charger rushers engulfed him. Not only did Gale suffer a game-ending injury on the play, but Briar Cliff (2-1, 1-0 GPAC) pounced on the loose ball for the game’s first touchdown.
On the ensuing possession, quarterback Kiel Nelson stepped in to punt and it was once again blocked, setting up an 18-yard scoring strike from Jonathan Santos to Khamir Davenport.
The special teams woes continued in the second half when Markel Roby returned the second half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Tiger backup punter Zach Collins also dropped a snap in his own end zone and was forced to cover the ball for a safety in the fourth quarter.
“On the first one, I just saw a lot of bodies going toward our punter,” Cimpl said. “On the other one, we were trying to do a quick kick and they were able to block that one with our offense on the field. That’s just a lack of execution.”
While the special teams made its share of miscues, the offense proved anemic throughout the game. Briar Cliff limited DWU (1-2, 0-1 GPAC) to 40 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, including an interception of Nelson that Robert Robinson returned eight yards for a touchdown.
Nelson went 1 of 13 for 14 yards and two interceptions and was eventually relieved by backup Zachary Lester in the third quarter. Lester did not any more luck, finishing 3 of 8 for 14 yards.
“Briar Cliff just dominated the line of scrimmage -- whether that was in the run game or the pass game,” Cimpl said.
Santos finished 14 of 18 for 216 yards and a touchdown, while Jordan Williams ran for 99 yards on 24 attempts against a DWU defense that surrendered 2.9 yards per attempt.
Canova native Luke Loundenburg had 54 yards on 16 carries for the Tigers, while Tyler Wagner made four of his seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Dakota Wesleyan returns home to face No. 11 Northwestern at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Joe Quintal Field.
Briar Cliff hosts Doane on Saturday.
BC: Team 0 blocked punt (Nick Manthana kick)
BC: Khamir Davenport 18 pass from Jonathan Santos (Manthana kick)
BC: Manthana 20 field goal
BC: Markel Roby 94 kick return (Manthana kick)
BC: Robert Robinson 8 interception return (Manthana kick)
BC: Stanton Lee 7 run (Manthana kick)
BC: Asi Tupua safety
BC: Lee 7 run (Manthana kick)
PASSING (C-A-INT-YDS): DWU: Kiel Nelson 1-13-2-14, Zachary Lester 3-8-0-14; BC: Jonathan Santos 14-18-0-216.
RUSHING (ATT-YDS): DWU: Luke Loudenburg 16-54, Chayden Fitzsimmons 4-9, TreVyon McDaniel 3-4, Zachary Lester 1-(-2), Team 1-(-8), Tate Gale 1-(-13), Kiel Nelson 4-(-32), Totals 30-12; BC: Jordan Williams 24-99, Stanton Lee 20-43, LaDarrian Bowman 1-2, Jonathan Santos 3-(-4), Totals 48-140.
RECEIVING (REC-YDS): DWU: Preston Emerson 2-19, Chayden Fitzsimmons 1-6, Garrett Determan 1-3; BC: Khamir Davenport 5-69, Tyler French 2-65, Harrison Johnson 2-28, Jordan Williams 2-(-1), Kobe Johnson 1-50, Jalen Cook 1-14, Stanton Lee 1-(-9).