Searching for answers: DWU’s mistakes continue to happen
Different Saturday, same story. Dakota Wesleyan University fell 50-23 to Dordt College on homecoming Saturday at Joe Quintal Field, giving the Tigers their fifth straight loss. It drops DWU to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in Great Plains Athletic Conferen...
Different Saturday, same story.
Dakota Wesleyan University fell 50-23 to Dordt College on homecoming Saturday at Joe Quintal Field, giving the Tigers their fifth straight loss. It drops DWU to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in Great Plains Athletic Conference play, which guarantees them their first losing season since 2009.
However, the issues that haunted DWU on Saturday aren't new. It's been the same problems all season.
Even though DWU head coach Ross Cimpl felt his team "ran the ball better," Luke Loudenburg's 3.6 yards per carry is still a far cry from his six yards per carry against Dakota State in the season opener or the 6.1 yards per carry he averaged last season. Shaye Slaughter's three turnovers-which gives him 11 on the season-and a completion rate less than 50 percent for the fifth time this season needs to improve, as well.
It all contributes to the Tigers' inability to sustain and finish long drives, which is why it ranks 64th out of 90 NAIA teams in scoring offense (21.9 points per game).
During its losing streak, DWU has just two touchdown drives of three plays or more and none in the past three games. Even its 13-play, 91-yard drive to start the game on Saturday resulted in a 25-yard field goal.
"(We need to) focus on us," Slaughter said. "Not getting too high when we're on those highs and not getting too low when the lows happen."
The defense has a big-play problem, too. It has given up 13 touchdowns of 20-plus yards and nine of at least 48 yards, including 49 and 63-yard touchdowns against Dordt.
"We knew what coverages they were going to be in and what ways we want to attack them," Dordt quarterback Brock Lamle said. "We had some good matchups out there."
With this being a continuous problem, how does DWU solve it?
"Good question, I don't know. We have to figure it out," Cimpl said.
When DWU doesn't give up long scores, it struggles to get off the field. DWU allows a 41.4 third-down conversion rate, but Dordt exceeded that mark, converting 11 of 17 third downs (65 percent). The Defenders also converted both fourth-down attempts as teams convert 52.4 percent of fourth downs against the Tigers.
Dordt head coach Joel Penner felt his team put itself in position to be successful as it faced third-and-four or fewer on nine of 18 third-down attempts.
"(Dordt) didn't get into situations where they had to throw it," Cimpl said. "They were in third-and-medium just about every time, and it's hard to bring pressure in those situations. We were always a step late on our third-down play calls, and that's on me."
Lamle said Dordt's option is hard to stop due to its many playmakers, which was seen as the Defenders rushed for 228 yards. Even though Keithen Drury was held to 2.7 yards per carry on 35 attempts, Lamle still rushed for 47 yards (6.7 average) and Levi Schoonhoven gained 35 yards (5 average).
"Anytime you play a team that runs the option, it's a tough team to scheme for," Emmanuel Christopher said. "They can get the ball from so many different spots. They can throw it, they can run it on every play, so it's tough to play any team that runs a triple option."
The competition only gets tougher at 1 p.m. Saturday as DWU plays Midland University, a team receiving top-25 votes, in Fremont, Nebraska.