MITCHELL, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan University sophomore quarterback Joey Olson got the first start of his college career and scored his first rushing touchdown as a Tiger to help DWU improve to 3-0 with a 24-13 win against Briar Cliff University Saturday afternoon at Joe Quintal Field.
This marks the third straight year the Tigers have started the season 3-0. In 2010 DWU made it to 3-0 before suffering its first loss, and last season the Tigers picked up five wins to start the season before losing for the first time. Dakota Wesleyan is now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
Olson, starting in place of junior quarterback Jon Bane, scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper late in the second quarter to put the Tigers ahead 17-13 – a lead they would never give up. He also threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Derek Carlson in the fourth quarter to help put the game away.
It was the Tigers who got on the board first against the Chargers when they marched down to the Briar Cliff 11-yard line after the opening kickoff. Two incomplete passes and a run for no gain brought up fourth down, and Dan Porter kicked a 27-yard field goal – his first as a Tiger – to put DWU up 3-0 early in the game. The Chargers took a 7-3 lead with five minutes left in the first on a four-yard pass from PJ Quiroga to Bryce Harshman, and made it 13-3 to start the second quarter on a short touchdown pass from Quiroga to Harshman.
Dakota Wesleyan scored its first touchdown of the game on its next drive when Josh Endres scored from five yards out. The Tigers took the lead for good on their next possession when they drove to the Briar Cliff one-yard line and Olson was able to drive the ball into the end zone on a keeper.
The Tigers looked to increase their lead right away in the second half when Arthur Brown returned a BCU punt 58 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back because of an illegal block. Neither team scored in the third, but Dakota Wesleyan took advantage of a short Charger punt early in the fourth and scored on a 31-yard pass from Olson to Carlson with 13:08 left in the game to help seal the win.
Olson finished the day 13-for-28 for 172 yards. He threw one touchdown and one interception. Brown caught five passes for 78 yards, and Carlson finished with three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Junior Michael Brown also caught three passes for 30 yards. Endres continued his hot streak with 198 rushing yards. He now has 577 rushing yards in just three games played in his senior season. He carried the ball 36 times and scored once.
As a team, Dakota Wesleyan rushed for 204 yards while holding Briar Cliff to just 68. The Chargers threw for 208 yards and DWU threw for 172, but the Tigers had 376 yards of total offense to Briar Cliff’s 276. Quiroga threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Becker caught five passes for 63 yards. Jared Williams led BCU’s run game with 59 yards in 21 carries.
Senior linebacker Mike Barnaud paced the Dakota Wesleyan defense Saturday with 10.5 tackles, including seven solo tackles. Brady Bonte added 6.5 tackles, including one tackle for a loss and one interception return for 23 yards. Josh Thompson finished with six tackles, two pass breakups and a forced fumble and Anthony Cervantes had 4.5 tackles and one sack for a loss of 11 yards.
Dakota Wesleyan has a bye on Sept. 22, and returns to action Saturday, Sept. 29, when it travels to Hastings, Neb., to take on Hastings College. The Tigers’ next home game is Saturday, Oct. 6, when it plays Dordt College for its annual Blue and White Days game.