The Red Raiders captured a 30-14 win over Nebraska Wesleyan last Saturday, Sept. 18, to improve their record to 2-1. After the game, Northwestern moved up from 21st to 18th in the NAIA national rankings.
Sophomore Brandon Smith scored the first touchdown of the game on a three-yard run to end a 67-yard, ten-play Raider drive at the beginning of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Prairie Wolves returned an interception to the endzone to tie the game, but the Raiders answered with a 22-yard touchdown run by senior Taylor Malm on their next possession. Malm again found the endzone after a nine-play, 74-yard drive. Malm’s touchdown was a one-yard run on fourth-and-goal. NWU snuck in another score to end the half with NW leading 21-14.
The Prairie Wolves came out of the locker room with a vengeance and pushed ahead to NW’s two-yard line on the opening drive of the second half. The Raider defense came up big as senior T.J. Lensch forced a fumble that was recovered by sophomore Stanley Fleming.
In the fourth quarter, Malm scored his third touchdown on an 80-yard run. After a punt by freshman Davis Bloemendaal placed NWU at their own four-yard line, the Raider defense forced a three-and-out. Freshman Theo Bartman then blocked the Prairie Wolves’ punt out of the end zone to earn a safety and close out the scoring at 30-14.
The Raiders gained 415 total yards while holding the Prairie Wolves to 211. Malm led the offense with 274 total yards, including 200 rushing yards on 24 carries with three touchdowns. Smith added 38 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown and senior Kevin Vander Schaaf gained 40 yards on six carries.
Junior Jayme Rozeboom completed 12 of 18 passes for 126 yards. His top targets were Malm, who had four catches for 35 yards, and sophomore Tyler Walker, who had three catches for 53 yards.
Lensch had seven solo tackles, forced a fumble and broke up a pass to lead the defense. Senior Austin Rozeboom had a total of 8.5 tackles, while sophomore Aaron Jansen totaled 4.5.
Next up, the Raiders will take on Briar Cliff in Sioux City on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 1 p.m.