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Ranked foes run continues for DWU football

The onslaught of nationally ranked opponents continues today for the Dakota Wesleyan University football team. The DWU football team plays at No. 17 Northwestern College at 7 p.m. today in Orange City, Iowa, in a Great Plains Athletic Conference ...

The onslaught of nationally ranked opponents continues today for the Dakota Wesleyan University football team.

The DWU football team plays at No. 17 Northwestern College at 7 p.m. today in Orange City, Iowa, in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game. It's the fourth straight game against a top-25 team for DWU, which is coming off a 76-21 defeat against No. 4 Morningside College last week that coach Ross Cimpl characterized as both disappointing and frustrating.

"It's something that we have to unfortunately learn the hard way and move forward," said Cimpl, whose team is playing for its playoff lives.

Today, the Tigers (4-3, 2-2 GPAC) play a surprising Northwestern (5-1, 3-1 GPAC) team that was picked No. 5 in the preseason conference poll, but is now in contention for a playoff spot.

"It's been really exciting getting off to a fast start and we were hopeful going into the season," Northwestern coach Matt McCarty said. "We knew we were going to be really young at some key positions. We didn't really know how well we would play at those positions. I think some of our young guys have really exceeded our expectations so far."

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That includes true freshman quarterback Tyson Kooima, who has passed for 1,658 yards and rushed for 422 yards. He's scored 20 total touchdowns.

"He's a kid that can run the football and extend plays, but they are also going to design runs for him," Cimpl said.

The Red Raiders are No. 11 in the NAIA in total offense with 493.3 yards per game. DWU's defense, meanwhile, just gave up 733 yards of offense last week and is allowing 509.9 yards per game, third-worst in the country (86th out of 88 teams in NAIA football).

The Red Raiders also have running back Jacob Kalogonis (679 rushing yards and nine touchdowns), wide receiver Levi TeBrink (481 receiving yards and two touchdowns) and tight end J.C. Koerselman (346 receiving yards and two touchdowns).

"They have got playmakers all over the field," DWU safety Charlie LaRoche said. "They have got a lot of speed. It is going to be a challenge for us to tackle those guys and get them on the ground and force their quarterback to make some mistakes."

That's the same focus for Northwestern when facing quarterback Dillon Turner and DWU's high-powered offense. The DWU offense is No. 2 in total offense with 585.9 yards per game.

Turner is tops in the nation in total offense (396.6) and receiver Hayden Adams leads the nation with 893 receiving yards. Luke Loudenburg leads the Tigers with 656 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

"Their offense is just explosive," McCarty said. "Dillon Turner is probably the best dual-threat quarterback that our conference has seen. He is just an outstanding quarterback and they run the football really well and Hayden Adams is just dynamic on the edge. Their offense definitely concerns you. They can put up points and they can put up points in a hurry."

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