The Northwestern football team cruised past the Defenders of Dordt College with a final score of 46-17 in last Saturday’s homecoming game at Korver Field. The Raiders remain unbeaten in the GPAC, and improved to a 6-1 record overall this season.
The Raiders got on the board early when sophomore quarterback Craig Bruinsma connected with sophomore receiver Landon Johnson for a 30-yard touchdown pass to give the home team an early lead. Junior linebacker Caleb De Haan helped set up the next score after intercepting a Defender pass and retiring it 24 yards to the opponent’s seven-yard line. The very next play, the Raiders increased their lead to 13-0 with a short pass from Bruinsma to senior receiver Ben Green in the corner of the end-zone.
With less than five minutes to go in the first quarter, Dordt was able to put their first points on the board after an 83-yard scoring drive to put the opposing team within six points. Late in the second quarter, Bruinsma and Green connected a second time from the four-yard line to give NW a 20-7 advantage. The Raiders would score one more time just before the half when junior running back Jessie Riley caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Bruinsma with just one-second left on the clock.
“It’s always nice when your offense can put up a lot of points and be dominant like they were,” De Jong said. “They played well as a group and kept the opposing defense on their toes.”
Sophomore kicker Julian Dittman was able to put three more points on the board on the first drive after halftime with a successful 32-yard field goal attempt. A NW fumble allowed Dordt to record their second score of the contest with a one-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. The Raiders answered quickly with an unexpected 18-yard touchdown pass from Green to Johnson early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore running back Paul Hutson was able to reach pay dirt in just four plays after a Defender fumble to increase the Raider lead to 44-14.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Dordt put their final points of the contest on the board after converting on a 46-yard field goal attempt. The Raider defense recorded the team’s final points when junior linebacker Aric Waltz sacked the Defender in their own end zone for a safety.
“One thing the defense did well was meeting goals,” said junior defensive lineman Lawton De Jong. “Every week we have goals and if we can meet our goals then we believe that gives us a really good chance to win the game. We met a lot of our goals for the game. Another thing was stepping up in bad positions. Turnovers and big plays happen, and there were a few times we were put in tough situations, and we did a good job of stepping up and keeping points off the board.”
NW remains in the eighth-ranked spot in the NAIA for the second week in a row.
“I think the highlight of the game for me would be seeing how many fans we had there,” De Jong said. “Knowing that the stands were full of alumni is really cool because it shows how much they love Raider football It makes me feel pretty special that I get the opportunity to be part of this family. I think the highlight for the team was getting a big win in front of all those people.”
The Raiders head out on the road this week to face the Broncos of Hastings College. The game time is set for 1 p.m. in Hastings, Neb.