Looking for first GPAC win: Tigers take on Jimmies in Jamestown
Dakota Wesleyan University football enters today's matchup against the University of Jamestown on a six-game losing streak, though has lost by seven points or less in three of its last four games. As a result, the 1 p.m. affair in Jamestown, Nort...
Dakota Wesleyan University football enters today's matchup against the University of Jamestown on a six-game losing streak, though has lost by seven points or less in three of its last four games. As a result, the 1 p.m. affair in Jamestown, North Dakota, pits the bottom-two teams in the Great Plains Athletic Conference against each other.
DWU is 1-7 overall and still looking for its first conference win, while Jamestown is 2-6 overall and 1-5 in GPAC play.
Line of scrimmage play
DWU coach Ross Cimpl said line of scrimmage play is a key in this game. The Tigers' offensive line had its up-and-downs last week as Canova native Luke Loudenburg topped 100 rushing yards for the second time this season but Shaye Slaughter was sacked three times.
Defensively, it's about stopping Jamestown's physical run game that features multiple backs. Jimmy Hatch (480 yards, four touchdowns) and Allen Jevning (352) lead the Jimmies' run game, though Tanner Mathern (202) also has two touchdowns.
"They're a team that wants to run the football," Cimpl said. "... Based on how physical they are and the type of run game they want to have, they're not going to have a running back who can take 30 carries in that type of offense, and that's what you're seeing."
Getting into the backfield
Last week, DWU got into the backfield early and often. It recorded 10 tackles for loss, forced and recovered five fumbles and sacked the quarterback once. Kimball native Eathen Gaulke played a big part in DWU's successful day as he forced three fumbles and had the team's only sack.
"He's the definition of a guy last year who was thinking about what he supposed to do," Cimpl said. "And now he knows what he's supposed to do and reacting."
A better understanding of the defense and reacting instead of thinking has led to the defense's recent success, according to Cimpl. The Tigers' 22 sacks are the second most in the conference this season, including eight in its past three games.
DWU has a chance to do the same this week as the only teams to allow more sacks per game than Jamestown is itself and Concordia.
"I think our D-Line and linebackers have done a nice job of getting off the football and creating confusion for offenses up front," Cimpl said.
A close game
While DWU is 1-7 this season, four of its losses have come by single-digits, which gives this team confidence. Cimpl said the Tigers have chalked up their close losses to 10 plays which could have "potentially changed the outcome" if they didn't happen.
"It's really about us fine-tuning and eliminating those critical errors, whether it's offensively, defensively or special teams, and hopefully we're able to make progress," Cimpl said.
Two of Jamestown's losses have come by single-digits, too, which is why Cimpl thinks this game will go down to the wire.
"They're in the same conversation as us in the fact that they probably look at one or two plays each game, and they (have) maybe four to six wins," Cimpl said. "I think they're a quality team that haven't had a break or two in certain games and it gives them the record they have."