In their toughest matchup of the season, the 12th-ranked Northwestern Red Raiders fought hard, but could not defeat the number one team in the nation, falling to the University of Sioux Falls Cougars 14-49.
“We need to get back to playing hard nose physical defense,” said Head Coach Kyle Achterhoff. “We let them take it to us Saturday, but we need to be the aggressors and create big plays.”
NW was able to get on the scoreboard early in the second quarter on a 3-yard scamper by junior Taylor Malm.
The Cougars put 35 unanswered points on the board, including a 69-yard pass and a kick-off returned for a touchdown.
“We did some good things in the first half, but we needed to relax and just play hard in the second half,” Achterhoff said.
The Raiders scored their second touchdown with 6:19 to play on 1-yard burst by freshman Brandon Smith to make the final score 14-49.
The Raiders allowed 462 total yards while totaling 226 yards of their own, including 191 yards on the ground.
“Offensively, we played really well,” Achterhoff said. “We ran the ball against the best defense in the nation, and, if we wouldn’t have made a couple of small mistakes, we could have scored 28 points.”
After this loss, NW will travel to Mitchell, SD, to finish out the season against Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday, Nov. 7.
“Dakota Wesleyan is a team that has struggled, but they knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so we will be ready to play Saturday,” Achterhoff said. “They throw the ball really well, so we’ll have to be ready to defend the pass.”
This GPAC game is the finale to the regular season and could decide if the Raiders continue their season into the playoffs.
“We are not ready to be done playing, so we will play hard on Saturday against Dakota Wesleyan,” Achterhoff said. “Hopefully we will get a win and then we will have to wait to see what will happen with rankings to see if we make the playoffs.”