Tigers end 2012 against Midland

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MITCHELL, S.D. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team wraps up its 2012 season Saturday afternoon when it hosts Midland University in a Great Plains Athletic Conference contest at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.

The Tigers are trying to end the season with a winning record for the second straight year and avoid ending the season on a three-game losing streak. Heading into Saturday, DWU (5-4, 4-4) is coming off losses to Northwestern College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. The Tigers were shut out 17-0 last week in Lincoln, Neb.

Saturday is also senior and parent day for Dakota Wesleyan, and the final collegiate game for 14 DWU football players. Seven of those athletes have been with the Tiger football program for at least four seasons, and five more have been at DWU at least three seasons.

Junior quarterback Jon Bane became the school’s all-time leading passer in last week’s loss. He now has 6,684 passing yards in nearly three seasons with the Tigers. Bane is also 183 yards away from becoming the career total offense leader. He has 6,783 yards, and the record is 6,866. Senior running back Josh Endres is on the verge of setting two records. He is four yards away from becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher with 3,148 yards in nearly four seasons. He also needs 175 yards to break the single-season rushing record of 1,296. Endres enters Saturday’s game with 1,121 rushing yards this season.

Dakota Wesleyan is looking to get its running game back on track this week after being held to just eight yards on the ground against Nebraska Wesleyan. The Tigers, who have the fourth-best pass offense in the GPAC, threw for 248 yards, but were held out of the end zone. Midland – which is 4-5 overall and 3-5 in the league – will try to stop DWU’s aerial attack. The Warriors have the fourth-best pass defense in the GPAC and are giving up an average 190.4 yards per game through the air. The Tigers average 243 passing yards per game.

The Warriors are fifth in the GPAC in run offense, and have three players with at least 285 rushing yards this season. Kene Martin is Midland’s leading rusher with 458 yards, Dominic Blood has 347 rushing yards and quarterback Mike Karls has run for 285 yards and a team-high five touchdowns. He has also thrown for 732 yards and three touchdowns.

Leading the way for the Tiger defense is senior linebacker Mike Barnaud, who is third in the GPAC with 91 total tackles. He is averaging just over 10 tackles per game. Clete Vrbka is the Warriors’ defensive leader and is sixth in the conference with 83 total tackles and 9.2 tackles per game. Midland is fifth in the GPAC in scoring defense, giving up 22.3 points per game. The Tigers are seventh at 29.6 points per game.

For those who can’t be at Joe Quintal Field Saturday afternoon, the game can be heard live locally on 105.9 FM or online at www.kmit.com. There will also be a live webcast available here at www.ustream.tv/channel/DWUAthletics.