MITCHELL, S.D. – The Northwestern College rushing duo of Brandon Smith and Theo Bartman proved to be too much for the Dakota Wesleyan University football team Saturday night. The pair combined for 268 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the No. 16 Red Raiders beat No. 25 DWU 41-13 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup at Joe Quintal Field.
The win pushed Northwestern into a tie for second in the conference with Hastings with a 7-2 overall mark and a 5-2 record in the league. Dakota Wesleyan fell back into fourth with a 4-3 league mark and a 5-3 overall record. The Tigers are tied with both Doane and Concordia with identical 4-3 records, but DWU beat both teams earlier this season.
The Red Raiders forced Dakota Wesleyan to punt on each of its first three possessions while scoring on their first three drives of the game. Northwestern scored its first touchdown of the game on a 24-yard pass from Davis Bloemendaal to Eli Groenendyk. After a DWU punt, Smith ran for a 38 yard touchdown on the first play of the Red Raiders’ drive to make it 13-0, and he followed that up with a 50-yard touchdown run three minutes later.
Craig Henglefelt recovered a Northwestern fumble on the Raiders’ 35-yard line and the Tigers were able to drive down to the Northwestern one-yard line, but Dan Porter missed a short field-goal attempt, and the Raiders led 20-0 after one quarter. DWU was forced to punt in its first possession of the second quarter, but the Raiders fumbled the punt return and DWU recovered on the Northwestern 37-yard line. The Tigers drove to the 14-yard line, but a 31-yard field goal was blocked by Northwestern.
Matt Tuttle blocked a 31-yard field-goal attempt by Northwestern on its ensuing possession, but the Red Raiders scored again a few minutes later when Smith ran for a 38-yard touchdown to go up 27-0. The Tigers got on the board with 3:20 left in the half on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jon Bane to Josh Endres, but Northwestern answered with a 66-yard touchdown run by Bartman to make it 34-6 with just under two minutes left in the half.
A short punt by Derek Carlson midway through the third quarter gave Northwestern the ball on the Tiger 16-yard line, and Bartman ran for a touchdown on the Raiders’ first play of the series to put Northwestern up 41-6. The Tigers scored their final points of the game with just over a minute to play when Jeff Maassen recovered a Northwestern fumble and ran it back three yards for a touchdown.
Dakota Wesleyan had 188 yards of offense to Northwestern’s 418. The Raiders ran for 285 yards and threw for 133 more. Josh Endres ran for 117 yards to pace the Tigers. He is 20 yards away from the school’s career rushing record of 3,151 yards. Bane was 8-for-29 for 92 yards and an interception. Carlson caught three passes for 59 yards. Brady Bonte led the defense with 13 tackles and Maassen had nine, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack.
Smith ran for 163 yards and Bartman added 105 for Northwestern. Bloemendaal threw for 133 yards, and Bartman also caught four passes for 58 yards.
Dakota Wesleyan is on the road one last time Saturday, Nov. 3, when it travels to Lincoln, Neb., to take on Nebraska Wesleyan University.