MITCHELL, S.D. – Last week, the Dakota Wesleyan University football team gave up more than 600 yards of total offense for the second straight week when it fell 63-7 to No. 4 Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.
This week, the Tigers look to get back in the win column and back on track defensively when they host Doane College in a battle of the Tigers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Joe Quintal Field. Doane is currently No. 20 in the NAIA and Dakota Wesleyan is receiving votes.
Both teams enter Saturday’s game coming off a loss to Morningside as Doane was idle after losing 28-3 to the Mustangs on Oct. 6. The loss is much fresher for the DWU Tigers, who had just 127 yards of total offense against the Mustangs on Oct. 13. The Tigers ran for 46 yards and threw for 81 more while Morningside threw for 452 yards and ran for 192. The previous week, Dakota Wesleyan gave up 691 yards of total offense, but picked up a 45-31 win over Dordt College on homecoming.
Dakota Wesleyan and Doane both head into Saturday with 4-2 overall records and 3-2 marks in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The two Tiger teams are a part of a four-way tie for third place in the GPAC, and a win for either team would not only help solidify a top spot in the conference, but also keep them in the running for an NAIA playoff berth.
On paper, the two teams are very similar offensively. DWU is fifth (28.7) and Doane sixth (26.3) in scoring offense, but the DWU Tigers are fourth (409.3) while Doane is seventh (351.8) in total offense. Dakota Wesleyan is sixth in rushing offense (149.5) and Doane is seventh (124), and the hometown Tigers are third (259.8) and Doane is fifth (227.8) in pass offense.
Individually, DWU holds an offensive edge with the top rusher and passer in the league in running back Josh Endres and quarterback Jon Bane. Endres leads the league in rushing per game (143.8) and Bane is first in passing (277.4) and third in total offense (280.2). Doane quarterback Jeff Weander is fifth in passing (212.3), but Tyrone Curry is third in the league with an average 81.3 receiving yards per game. Clayton Moore leads the Doane Tiger running game with 52.4 yards per game.
Doane holds the edge in most defensive categories as the DWU Tigers are last in the league in pass defense and total defense after giving up 1,335 yards of offense in the last two games combined, but Dakota Wesleyan is hoping to change that this week. Senior linebacker Mike Barnaud is second in the GPAC in tackles per game (12) and teammate Brady Bonte is fourth (10.7). Junior defensive back Josh Thompson is fifth in the NAIA in passes defended per game (1.7).
Doane is fourth in scoring defense (21.5) and total defense (326) and fifth in both rush (122.2) and pass (203.8) defense, and boasts the league’s leading tackler in Jeremy Wallace (13.3). Doane gave up 155 rushing yards to Morningside on Oct. 6, but just 191 passing yards.
For those that can’t make it to Quintal Field for Saturday’s game, the action can be heard live locally at 105.9 FM or live online at www.kmit.com. A live webcast will also be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dwuathletics.