MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team wraps up the school’s homecoming week with its annual Blue and White Days game Saturday. The Tigers, on the heels of their first loss of the season, host Dordt College as they try to end homecoming with a win and get back on track heading into the second half of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.
DWU, which is 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and ranked No. 25 in the NAIA, picked up its first loss of the year last week at Hastings College. The Tigers failed to capitalize on several opportunities and scored just three first-half points. DWU scored 27 second-half points, but couldn’t overcome a 14-point halftime deficit and fell 40-30 to the Broncos in Hastings, Neb.
DWU’s running game, which has been the Tigers’ main weapon so far this season, was held nearly silent against the Broncos. DWU rushed for just 102 yards – 99 of which came from senior Josh Endres. That marked the first time this season Endres has run for less than 160 yards in a game.
The Tigers made up for a lack of rushing yards with 457 passing yards Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Jon Bane set school records for team and individual passing yards in a game and went 24-for-50 with three touchdowns. Arthur Brown and Michael Brown both recorded more than 100 receiving yards, Arthur Brown caught a pass for a touchdown and Derek Carlson had two touchdown catches.
DWU gave up 209 yards on the ground and 314 through the air against Hastings despite big games from Brady Bonte and Matt McManus. Bonte had 11 total tackles and McManus chipped in with 11. The Tigers look to stop Dordt from dominating the running game Saturday. The Defenders, who have struggled to put points on the board this season, have the second-best running game in the GPAC heading into Saturday. The Defenders average 201.4 yards per game on the ground and have nine rushing touchdowns.
Trai Pickney leads the Defenders’ rushing game with 50.6 yards per game and three touchdowns, but Courtney Samuel is right behind at 46 yards per game. Lenard Manuel (39.2) and Daniel Fennig (30) also average at least 30 yards per game on the ground, and two more players average at least 25 rushing yards per game.
The Tigers will look to take advantage of the Dordt defense, which is near the bottom of the league in several categories. The Defenders are last in the GPAC in scoring defense (34.8) and total defense (433.8) and are ninth in run defense (204.6). Dordt is also giving up 229.2 yards through the air per game.
Those that can’t make it out to Joe Quintal Field for the game can listen live at 105.9 FM locally or online at www.kmit.com. There will also be a live webcast available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/dwuathletics. There will be a tailgate before the game starting at 11 a.m. in the parking lot by the stadium. Food will be served by Aramark, and the cost is $5 per plate. DWU students with a meal plan eat for free. Everyone is welcome to attend the tailgate.