Many alumni gathered on Oct. 3 to witness a rivalry showdown between the Northwestern Red Raiders and the Morningside Mustangs. The audience’s energy radiated throughout Korver Stadium, but support from 3,000 fans did not earn NW a win.
The Red Raiders came away Saturday with a 27-7 loss.
The first half consisted of a defensive showdown. The Red Raiders’ defense held the high-scoring Mustangs to only two field goals until junior quarterback Jonathan Kodama threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown to give the Mustangs a 13-0 lead going into halftime.
The defense continued to hold the Mustangs in the third quarter. Then a ball intercepted by senior defensive back Justin Wohlert was ruled a touchdown by a GPAC official. Morningside’s offense had now scored 13 points while NW remained scoreless. The Mustang’s defensive touchdown put them ahead 20-0.
Only averaging one yard per carry, the NW offense was unable to get much started. Senior wide receiver Sam Rall continued to get open as he averaged over one score per game. Rall recorded seven catches, totaling 143 yards, and also a touchdown late in the game against the Mustangs. Rall has been the Red Raiders’ primary target, especially with senior wide receiver Dominique Williams being sidelined while recovering from two cracked ribs and a partially collapsed lung.
Defensively, the Red Raiders gave the Mustangs’ offense their toughest game so far this year. Senior linebacker Andrew Powell and senior safety Caleb DeHaan recorded 6.5 tackles while senior free safety Jake Zylstra recorded another 5 tackles. Wohlert recorded his first interception of the season.
The Mustangs sealed the game in the fourth quarter with six minutes remaining on a 65-yard touchdown pass. The Red Raiders came up short with a final score of 27-7.
The Mustangs handed NW their second straight loss putting them at 2-2 in the GPAC. That loss dropped the Red Raiders five spots in coaches’ polls, ranking them at No. 20.
“These [losses] can be turned into strengths,” Wohlert said. “Strengthening and developing our faith in what is still attainable and to be accomplished.”
Although the Red Raiders still hold a winning record, the road to the playoffs will not be easy.
With a bye week following the loss, NW plans to prepare to redeem themselves from previous losses. The team’s next game will be Oct. 17 at Hastings.