Now ranked 23rd in the nation, the Red Raiders may be in need of a miracle to crawl their way back into the playoff picture.
After a 17-27 loss to the Dakota Wesleyan Tigers on Korver Field on Saturday, it seems Northwestern’s season may be left with only three games.
Being the number one total defense in the nation, the Red Raiders played well on Saturday. Arguably the best they have all year.
In the fourth quarter, the win slipped through their fingers. The Tigers then began to put points on their end of the scoreboard and continued to build momentum. While everything went in their favor, Northwestern was unable to answer back and the game came to an end.
The Red Raider defense gave up 282 yards. Leading the defense with nine tackles and a forced fumble was junior defensive end Samuel Van Ginkel. Senior linebackers Andrew Powell and Aric Waltz were key performers as well. Powell recorded nine tackles and one sack while Waltz recorded five tackles and two sacks.
Offensively, NW totaled 223 yards. Leading the Red Raider offense was junior quarterback Craig Bruinsma, who was good for 20 of his 39 pass attempts. Two of his attempts were intercepted and one was returned for a Dakota Wesleyan touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Senior wide receiver Samuel Rall continued his best season yet with eight receptions for 70 yards. T.J. Spykstra had a career-high of 92 receiving yards in six receptions. Although the Red Raiders’ run game was unsuccessful, senior running back Jessie Riley III found the end zone twice with 14 rushes for 36 yards.
The football season may have an ending date set on it, but the Red Raiders are not giving up. They continue to practice hard, no matter the weather and are determined to improve in every aspect of the game.
“It is definitely frustrating knowing that our seniors only have three games left, but this a great group I have been blessed to play with,” senior free safety Jacob Zylstra said. “We know what needs to happen and believe we can still end on a good note. There is still unfinished business and we’re well aware of that.”
Tomorrow, Oct. 31, NW will head to Vermillion, South Dakota, to seek their fifth victory of the year against the Briar Cliff Chargers. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be played at the University of South Dakota in the Dakota Dome.