Crete, Neb. – The Dakota Wesleyan Tigers faced a 10-0 hole heading into the fourth quarter but walked out of Crete with a 17-10 victory completing the 10-point comeback. Dakota Wesleyan leaned on the run game in Senior running back Jamin Arend late who had 28 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown. The big spark came from sophomore cornerback, Landon Ruesink who intercepted a Doane pass near the DWU sideline and returned it 41 yards to the house. Victor Kniesche was all over the place for the Tiger defense with his career-high 12 tackles. Grayson Hanson did it all with his six total tackles and interception and Cody Winslow was causing issues in the Doane pass game all day with his 2.0 sacks. Dakota Wesleyan improved to 2-1 (1-1 GPAC) while Doane is still looking for that first win at 0-3 (0-2 GPAC).
Dakota Wesleyan forced some key turnovers at key times to complete the 10-point comeback and throw up 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter alone. The first three quarters was a struggle for the Tigers offense, being kept off the scoreboard. DWU moved the ball at times but couldn’t execute when they needed to on third down (15%). Dakota Wesleyan had a couple chances to get on the board in the first three quarters with field goal opportunities, but both missed the target leaving it scoreless. Out of the gate the DWU Tigers forced a turnover when Grayson Hanson stepped in front of a pass, setting the offense up in prime position. Austin Lee and company picked up a first down, but then stalled out near the goal line and had to settle for a short yardage field goal. The attempt would miss wide right leaving it at 0-0.
Next two drives both resulted in punts for each respective team, showing that defense for both sides showed up to play. Doane on their ensuing drive attempted a 47-yard field goal but theirs too would miss keeping it scoreless. On the ensuing DWU drive the Tigers faced a fourth and one, and looking to go for it got a costly false start penalty resulting in Cimpl to go with his punting unit. Doane finally got on the board halfway through the second quarter when they knocked home a 44-yard field goal. The DWU offense continued to struggle to find their stride, moving the ball at times but failing to execute on third down. Doane put the first touchdown on the board right before half, making it 10-0 at the halfway mark.
Dakota Wesleyan received the ball out of the locker room and was looking to get the offense going. After a quick first down pickup, the Tigers stalled out and were forced to punt it away. Doane to this point was doing a good job of keeping Arend quiet in the run game and limiting the big strikes through the air that DWU has leaned on in the first two games. On the ensuing Doane drive the Tigers were facing third and six when Cody Winslow came up with a big sack for Dakota Wesleyan forcing a punt and giving the ball back to DWU. The rest of the quarter would have bright moments here and there but penalties and dropped passes stopped any kind of drive or threat resulting in a scoreless quarter for both teams.
The fourth quarter was now or never for the DWU offense and team. Facing a fourth and short, again DWU got a costly false start penalty pushing them back to a fourth and seven. A furious Cimpl called timeout and rallied his team together to re-focus everyone and go over the crucial fourth down play. They would convert when Lee found Logan Feuerbach over the middle who made an amazing full extension high pointed grab to keep the drive alive. The momentum ended there when the Tigers failed to convert with goal to go and again settled for a short yardage field that Jaxon Patrick this time converted. DWU trailed 10-3 with 12:24 left in the game.
On the ensuing drive, the tables turned when Landon Ruesink intercepted Kirwan’s pass and returned it 41 yards to the house. The game, looking like it was going to be a 10-10 tie took a turn when the PAT try was missed leaving DWU trailing 10-9. Doane on the next drive handed the ball off seven straight times to Wynn but ended up punting giving DWU the ball back. Dakota Wesleyan, needing their best drive of the game did just that when they mounted a 11 play, 85 yard, 7:10 touchdown drive that was capped off by Arend punching it in from three yards out. Lee on the two-point conversion connected with Kiel Nelson in the flat giving DWU a 17-10 lead with under two minutes to go. Doane on the ensuing drive faced fourth and thirteen with 10 seconds left. Kirwan lobbed a jump ball in the endzone that would fall to the ground, but a flag would appear calling DWU for pass interference giving Doane one last shot from the 17. Again, Kirwan looked to his left throwing a jump ball for DeRiso, but DWU had him blanketed and the ball fell to the ground for a 17-10 Dakota Wesleyan comeback win.
Head-to-Head (Doane University)
- DWU is now 14-24-1 all-time against the DOA
- Dakota Wesleyan fell in last year’s matchup 16-13 at Doane.
- Dakota Wesleyan football returns to Mitchell for Blue & White Days (Homecoming) against the Midland Warriors. The game is set for Saturday, September 16 with kickoff at 1 PM.