HASTINGS, Neb. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team scored 27 second-half points to try and overcome a 14-point halftime deficit Saturday afternoon, but ultimately came up short in a 40-30 loss to Hastings College in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game in Hastings, Neb.
The loss is the first of the season for the Tigers, who are 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the GPAC and ranked No. 22 in the NAIA. Hastings improved to 4-0 overall and in the league. The Broncos received votes in the NAIA coaches’ poll released earlier this week.
Despite the loss, junior quarterback Jon Bane threw for a career-high 457 yards and set school records for individual and team passing yards in a game. The previous record was 448, set in 2003 by Mike Kieffer.
The Broncos scored 14 points in seven seconds in the first quarter. Hastings received the opening kickoff and didn’t give up the ball for more than seven minutes while it drove down the field and scored on a four-yard pass from quarterback John Dostal to Kendal Ferguson. The Tigers finally got the ball on the kickoff, but DWU quarterback Jon Bane’s pass was picked off by Alex Gildon and returned 29 yards for a touchdown.
The Tigers were forced to punt on their next two possessions, and Hastings started the second quarter by driving to the DWU 18-yard line. The Tiger defense forced the Broncos to settle for a 34-yard field goal to put Hastings up 17-0. Dakota Wesleyan had a chance at a touchdown late in the second when it used a 41-yard pass from Bane to Michael Brown to drive to the Hastings six-yard line, but the Tigers failed to capitalize and settled for a 23-yard field goal by Dan Porter instead.
Passes from Bane to Brown and Dimitri Fahey helped set the Tigers up for a six-yard touchdown pass from Bane to Derek Carlson to start the third quarter and get DWU within seven, 17-10. Hastings responded with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Dostal to Nick Blunt, but the Tigers scored again on a 24-yard pass from Bane to Arthur Brown to keep it a seven-point game, 24-17, with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
The Broncos strengthened their lead two minutes later on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Dostal to Zane Anstine to go up 31-17, and that’s where the score would stay heading into the final quarter. The Tigers had another opportunity to score when they drove to the Hastings 11-yard line, but couldn’t find the end zone.
The Broncos made it a 20-point game on their first drive of the fourth on a 53-yard pass from Dostal to Blunt, but DWU answered with a 33-yard touchdown strike from Bane to Carlson to make it 37-23 with just over 10 minutes to play. DWU made it a seven-point game on a one-yard touchdown run by Bane with 4:31 left in the game, but Hastings scored on a 26-yard field goal after recovering the Tigers’ onside kick. Bane was intercepted on the Tigers’ final drive to end the game.
Dakota Wesleyan was held to 92 rushing yards by the Broncos, but Bane threw for 457 yards. The Tigers had 549 yards of total offense while Hastings had 523 – 209 on the ground and 314 through the air. Josh Endres ran for 99 yards and was the only Tiger besides Bane to run the ball. Bane went 24-for-50 for 457 yards and three touchdowns. Arthur Brown caught seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and Michael Brown caught five passes for 109 yards.
Brady Bonte led the Tiger defense with 11 tackles, including on for a loss. Matt McManus added 10 tackles and Mike Barnaud finished with eight.
Dakota Wesleyan returns home Saturday, Oct. 6, when it hosts Dordt College in its annual Blue and White Days game. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.