MITCHELL, S.D. – For the second week in a row, the Dakota Wesleyan University football team is home to the reigning Great Plains Athletic Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Week.
Last week, sophomore linebacker Anthony Cervantes earned the honor after recording nine tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception for a touchdown in the season opener against Dakota State University. This week, senior defensive back Dustin Bergmeier is the recipient of the weekly award, it was announced Monday afternoon by the league.
Bergmeier, an Omaha, Neb., native who transferred to DWU from the University of Sioux Falls prior to the 2011 season, earned the honor for the second time in his career after tying a school record and helping keep the Concordia University offense off the field in a close 26-23 DWU win Saturday in Seward, Neb. He also earned the award last year after the team’s first game of the season.
Saturday afternoon, Bergmeier became the sixth Tiger football player in school history to record three interceptions in a game when he recorded three of DWU’s four interceptions against Bulldog quarterback Von Thomas. Two of the interceptions came on back-to-back Concordia possessions in the second quarter, and the third came in the fourth quarter of the game. The last time a Dakota Wesleyan football player had three interceptions in a game was in 2008 when Eric Adolph completed the feat. Jon Hilton (1973), Jeff Larson (1988), Brandon Mozley (1995) and Todd Sprang (1997) have also snagged three interceptions in a game.
Bergmeier – who also had 2.5 tackles and one pass breakup – currently leads the NAIA with his three interceptions so far this season. He is also third in the nation with an average 2.5 passes defended per game.
As well as learning of Bergmeier’s honor, the Tigers also made the jump into the top 25 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll Monday afternoon. Dakota Wesleyan makes its 2012 debut in the polls at No. 22 after being unranked in the preseason poll. This is the first time the Tigers have made the polls since the Oct. 24, 2011 poll. Dakota Wesleyan is one of six GPAC teams in the poll. Morningside improved to No. 4, Doane is No. 16, Northwestern tied for 17th and Hastings and Midland both received votes.
The Tigers are back at home this Saturday, Sept. 15, when they host Briar Cliff University at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.