Northwestern College defeated Concordia by the score of 26-6 on Saturday afternoon in GPAC football. The Red Raiders improved to 7-2 overall and in conference play with the victory. The loss dropped Concordia to 4-6 overall and 3-6 in GPAC play.
Early in the first quarter, Northwestern used a huge play on special teams to take a 7-0 lead. Concordia’s offensive drive was stalled following a bobbled pitch. The Bulldogs were forced to punt, and the Raiders blocked the kick. Northwestern's David Butler recovered the blocked kick in the end zone, and the Raiders took the early advantage.
Northwestern took advantage of a short field to increase its lead late in the first quarter. The Raiders got the ball back inside Bulldog territory. Northwestern was unable to convert a first down, but James Rodriguez connected on a 49-yard field goal for a 10-0 Northwestern lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, Northwestern safety Jon Gerber picked off a Cohl Tufford (Richardson, Texas) pass attempt. The Red Raiders were back in business once again deep in Concordia territory. The Bulldog defense managed to hold the Raiders out of the end zone. However, a 23-yard field goal by Rodriguez pushed the lead to 13-0.
The Raiders put together a long scoring drive down the stretch in the first half. Northwestern used a solid rushing attack to move the ball deep into Bulldog territory. Another field goal by Rodriguez increased the Northwestern lead to 16-0.
Concordia tried to put some points on the board before halftime. However, Tufford fumbled following a sack. It was the second turnover of the game for the Bulldogs, and Northwestern took a 16-0 lead into the halftime break. Concordia finished with just three first downs in the opening half. The Raiders totaled 145 yards of total offense compared to just 35 yards for the Bulldogs in the first half.
The Bulldogs tried to take advantage of good field position early in the second half. Concordia moved fairly deep into Northwestern territory, but Kenny Zoeller (Spring, Texas) missed a field goal to keep the score 16-0.
Late in the third quarter, Concordia returned the favor with a big play on special teams to finally get on the board. The Bulldogs blocked a Northwestern punt, and Jordan Brockman (Lincoln, Neb.) returned it for an easy score, making the score 16-6. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good.
Northwestern quickly responded on its next drive. Quarterback Davis Bloemendaal broke a long run to set the Raiders up inside the Bulldog five yard line. Brandon Smith found the end zone from two yards out, and the host Raiders grabbed a 23-6 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game.
Rodriguez hit his fourth field goal of the game for Northwestern with just over six minutes remaining in the contest for the final points of the game. The Raiders settled for the 26-6 victory.
Concordia managed just five first downs and 85 yards of total offense in the game. The Bulldogs turned the ball over twice and were just 2-of-12 on third down conversions. Northwestern totaled 338 yards of total offense with 269 of those yards coming on the ground.
Brandon Smith carried the ball 18 times for 75 yards to lead Northwestern offensively in the win. Taylor Malm added 19 carries for 56 yards on the day.
Ben Klein (Dallas, Texas) had seven solo tackles, and Jerrod Fleming (Houston, Texas) added six solo stops for Concordia defensively.
Concordia travels to No. 1 Sioux Falls next Saturday.