MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team opened the 2012 season with a win at home against nonconference rival Dakota State University last weekend, and Saturday afternoon the Tigers are on the road to open the Great Plains Athletic Conference season against Concordia University.
The two teams square off at 1 p.m. at Bulldog Field in Seward, Neb. The Tigers have won the last two meetings between the two teams, including DWU’s first-ever shutout of a GPAC opponent with a 56-0 win in 2010.
Dakota Wesleyan (1-0) is coming off a 40-14 win against the Trojans last weekend. The game started out looking like a track meet with 14 points scored in the first 29 seconds of the game and 41 points in the first quarter alone, but DWU was able to settle down and control the pace of the game after an eventful first quarter.
The Tigers’ running game – specifically senior running back Josh Endres – was on display Saturday night. Endres ran for 213 total yards, 183 of which came in the first quarter. He scored three touchdowns, including scoring runs of 69 and 75 yards. DWU ran for 241 total yards and held Dakota State to just 74 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Jon Bane also had a solid night, throwing for 211 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Receivers Arthur Brown and Michael Brown both scored the first touchdowns of their Tiger careers. Arthur Brown caught an 11-yard pass in the first quarter and Michael Brown caught a 60-yard touchdown strike from the junior quarterback with 29 seconds gone from the fourth quarter.
The Tiger defense had a solid night, and was led by sophomore linebacker Anthony Cervantes. He led the team with nine tackles, including a game-high 4.5 tackles for a loss of 22 yards and 1.5 sacks. He also returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown to end the scoring late in the game. Cervantes was named the league’s defensive player-of-the-week after his big performance against DSU. Freshman Brady Bonte also had a good night for the Tigers, recording nine tackles, including 1.5 for a loss, and one sack. The DWU defense sacked DSU quarterback Brandon Large five times.
Concordia enters Saturday’s game coming off a loss to No. 23 Benedictine College, but the Bulldogs were in the game the entire way and lost 45-37 a year after losing 45-0 to the same team. Concordia got within eight late in the game on a 56-yard punt return by Derek Blessing, but Benedictine recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. A high-powered Bulldog offense, led by sophomore quarterback Von Thomas, acquired 157 yards through the air and 138 more on the ground.
Thomas threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for 69 yards and Concordia’s only rushing touchdown. Kicker Kenny Zoeller had a solid night, going 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts with a long of 40 yards. The Bulldog defense gave up 207 yards on the ground and 200 passing yards.
Last year when Dakota Wesleyan and Concordia met at Joe Quintal Field, the Tigers scored 27 second-quarter points and added 14 more in the fourth quarter. Concordia out-rushed the Tigers 142 yards to 96, but Dakota Wesleyan threw for 297 yards to the Bulldogs’ 97.
For fans that can’t make the trip to Seward, live audio is available online at www.kmit.com or locally at 105.9 FM. The game will also be webcast live by Concordia University at http://www.cune.edu/athletics/sports-information-office/concordia-sports-network/.