Dakota Wesleyan Beats Midland For First Time in Six Years

Mitchell, S.D. – Dakota Wesleyan football picked up a big one-point victory of (RV) Midland 33-32. This was the first win against the Warriors since 9/30/17. The Tigers again mounted a big comeback, trailing by as much as 13 midway through the third quarter. DWU got a monster performance out of Kiel Nelson who had a season-high 10 catches for 118 yards and a career-high three scores. Jamin Arend went over 100 yards from scrimmage and got the one-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Austin Lee stepped up and delivered for his team with 229 yards and four touchdowns on the day. On the defensive side of the ball Ethan Engen was all over the stat sheet with his game high seven tackles, an interception, and even blocked an extra point which proved to be the difference in a one-point game. Jaiden Walton had four tackles, one being a sack that shut down a Midland drive late in the game when the Tigers needed it most. The difference in this one was on third and fourth down. Dakota Wesleyan was 10-16 (63%) on third down and 2-2 (100%) on fourth, compared to Midland going 5-11 (45%) on third and 1-2 (50%) on fourth. DWU improves to 3-1 (2-1 GPAC) on the season while the Warriors were handed their first loss, dropping to 3-1 (2-1 GPAC).


The Tigers made the plays when they needed them late in the ballgame to claim the one-point victory and hand the Warriors their first loss of the season. Both teams opened the action with punts but then each responded with touchdown scoring drives. For the Tigers they went 10 plays, 74 yards and 5:00 to tie it up at seven. Dakota Wesleyan used a steady attack of both the run and passing game to keep the Warriors defense guessing. Arend and Nelson were responsible for all but six of the 74 yards during the drive and it was capped off with a 15-yard strike to Nelson from Lee. On the ensuing Midland drive the Warriors were moving the ball well but stalled out and were forced to punt in Tiger territory but pinned the Tigers at the six. DWU went three and out and were forced to punt. MID got a big return on the punt that set them up at the DWU 25. Midland only used two plays to find the endzone, but only put the six up when the holder mishandled the snap resulting in a failed attempt and 13-7 Midland lead.

The Tigers on offense couldn’t pick up a first down on their next drive and punted the ball back to the Warriors. Again, Midland got a big return setting them up in great field position at the DWU 37. This time it took the Warriors three plays to find the endzone and converted the extra point to go up 20-7 with 5:50 left in the half. DWU responded in a big way on their ensuing drive, going nine plays for 65 yards and capped off with another Nelson/Lee connection from 16 yards outs to bring the Tigers within seven. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at that seven-point margin. With just under 30 seconds left in the half and the Warriors at their own 40 it looked as though the Tigers were going to head to the locker room just down a score and receiving the ball out of half, but that was when Midland quarterback, Garrison Beach found receiver Tariq Brown on the hash down the middle of the field. Brown made a tackler miss and pulled away from the DWU secondary taking it 60 yards to the house. The extra point was blocked by Engen though, keeping it at 26-13 heading to half.

The Tigers punted out of half but quickly got the ball back when Engen intercepted a middle screen pass, setting the offense up at the MID 38. Two plays later, on third and ten, Lee found Wyatt VanDenTop deep down the middle for a 38 touchdown, putting the Tigers within six after the converted extra point. On the defensive side of the ball on the next Warriors drive, Walton came up with his massive nine-yard sack which totally shut down any kind of Midland drive, resulting in a punt. DWU claimed their first lead of the game on the next drive, going nine plays for 71 yards and taking 4:53. The drive was capped off by Lee throwing a jump ball to Nelson who came down with it from 15 yards out. The highlight of the drive was when Lee dropped back to pass and couldn’t find an opener receiver on third and five and scrambled 14 yards to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.

The Warriors quickly responded and retook the lead, 32-27 after a failed two-point conversion. Dakota Wesleyan faced a five-point deficit and had the ball with 10:19 left in the game. The Tigers mounted what might be one of their best drives in the Cimpl era when they went a staggering 15 plays for 73 yards and chewed up 9:00 off the clock during the drive, leaving Midland with no timeouts and little to no time to mount any comeback. The drive was a heavy dose of Arend who came up just short of 3,000 career rushing yards. Lee also found and made the smart decisions and protected the ball when he needed to. With third and one on the MID one-yard line, Lee handed the ball to Arend who would not be denied the endzone and leaped over the pile giving DWU a 33-32 lead after a failed two-point conversion. The defense held strong and forced a turnover on downs to seal the win.

Head-to-Head (Midland University)

  • DWU is now 16-21 all-time against the MID
  • Dakota Wesleyan lost last season matchup 22-13.

Up Next

  • Dakota Wesleyan football hits the road to face Concordia University Saturday, September 23 with kickoff set for 1 PM.