The Northwestern football team is living up to the high expectations that were set in front of them to begin the season. Through the first three games, NW remains undefeated, beating their opponents by a combined score of 125-39. The source of NW’s success has come on both sides of the ball, as the 8th-ranked Raiders are 9th in the country in total offense, and 11th overall in scoring defense. NW is looking to continue their winning streak back at Korver Field against Jamestown for their homecoming game tomorrow, Saturday the 28th at 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 marked the first game of the new season, as the Raiders faced Valley City State at home. After going scoreless in the first quarter, NW junior quarterback Tyson Kooima threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Cade Moser to break the drought.
The Raiders continued to find ways to score through the air, on the ground and through defensive turnovers. NW junior Shane Solberg ended the first half with a 94-yard interception brought back to the end zone to bring the home team’s lead to 28-0 at halftime. The Raiders expanded their lead in the second half, defeating the Vikings 47-7. NW finished the game with 429 yards of offense, and in addition to the impressive offense, the Raider defense finished with four sacks, along with five tackles each from Tanner Machacek, Ryan Cougill, Tanner Oleson and Drake Brezina.
NW has been on the road the last two weeks, traveling to face Midland and Dakota Wesleyan in weeks two and three, respectively. The Raiders needed a rally to defeat Midland, trailing 25-17 with seven minutes remaining in the contest. Kooima went 4 out of 4 during a late 72-yard drive, connecting with Solberg to bring the game within two. After a failed two-point conversion for NW, the Raider defense forced a 3-and-out to regain possession at their own 20-yard line.
After an 8-play drive, junior kicker Braxton Williams was set up for a game-winning field goal from 22 yards out, allowing NW to sneak away with a 26-25 win. In week three, NW shook off a quick start from the Tigers to earn a 52-7 win. It was a day to remember for the Raider offense, as Kooima moved up to 4th place all-time in career passing yards, Solberg moved to 2nd place in receiving yards, and senior running back Jacob Kalagonis finished with 137 rushing yards to place him in fourth place in school history. Senior line backer Tanner Machacek led the way on defense with 11 tackles, and junior defensive line Carter Van Gorp finished with a career-high of nine tackles.