Northwestern’s Red Raiders kicked off the season with a 35-3 win over Dordt College on Saturday.
“We played hard and got the job done,“ said head coach Kyle Achterhoff. “I’m proud of how we played.”
The Raider offense accumulated 320 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. Junior running back Taylor Malm was attributed with 145 yards and 3 touchdowns on his own.
Through the air, junior quarterback Ryan Morgan went 14-28 and 137 yards while spreading the ball around to seven different players.
“We learned a lot as the game went on,” said Achterhoff. “Once we got into the second half, most of the first game jitters were gone.”
The offense was not the only side firing on all cylinders. The defense, led by senior Grant Hegstad, limited the Defenders to only 105 yards of total offense and also managed 3 fumbles and an interception.
Hegstad finished the game with eight tackles, four of which were for loss, and a sack. For both his individual efforts and his leadership, Hegstad was named GPAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Alongside Hegstad, Sophomore Austin Rozeboom racked up four tackles, two for loss, and also recovered a fumble.
However, starting out with a large-margin victory is only the beginning of the Raider’s season.
When asked about what they learned from the game, Achterhoff said, “We need to work on consistency and finishing drives, and, with that, we need to work on taking care of the ball.”
Each week, the team takes a step closer to the ultimate goal of making the playoffs and winning the conference.
“I’m excited to see these guys grow,” says Achterhoff. “We have a lot of athletic talent. I’m excited to see it put into action.”
The 23rd ranked Raiders head to Sioux City to play 5th ranked Morningside on Saturday.