Brandon Smith scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the overtime period to give 15th-ranked Northwestern College a 33-27 win over Nebraska Wesleyan in overtime on Saturday (Sept. 29) in GPAC football action at Abel Stadium .
NWU sent the game to overtime as Aaron Lorraine connected on a 39-yard field goal with 0:43 seconds left in regulation. The Prairie Wolves defense then recorded a pair of quarterback sacks to stop the Red Raiders scoring threat after they had driven down to the NWU 32 yard line.
The Prairie Wolves got the ball to start the overtime period but were unable to convert as a nine yard quarterback sack put the Prairie Wolves out of field goal range. Northwestern needed just four plays on their possession to convert and defeat NWU for the 13th straight season.
Nebraska Wesleyan falls to 1-4 overall, 0-4 in GPAC while the 15th-ranked Red Raiders improve to 4-1, 2-1 GPAC.
The game started off terrible for NWU as they fumbled on their first play of the game giving the Red Raiders prime field position. Smith scored the first of three TDs on a 3-yard run to put Northwestern up 6-0 as NWU blocked the PAT.
NWU answered with a 13-play, 70 yard drive that was capped off by a 32-yard field goal from Lorraine. The Prairie Wolves forced Northwestern into three turnovers in the first quarter, but came up with just three points as Northwestern led 13-3 at the end of one quarter.
Another 13 play drive for the Prairie Wolves pulled them within one point as Jordan Delbaugh leaped over the pile from 1-yard out for a touchdown to make the score 13-10 with 8:55 left in the first half. That would remain the halftime score.
On the first drive of the third quarter Northwestern marched right down the field in 28 yards after a long kickoff return and Davis Bloemendaal hit Tyler Walker for a 7-yard TD pass to put the Red Raiders back up 10 points.
It was the Prairie Wolves defense that responded next. Linebacker Brett Kaczor busted through the line and forced a fumble on Theo Bartman that was picked up by Cody Eiler and returned 15 yards for a touchdown. Without hesitation, the Red Raiders needed only four plays to score their next touchdown as Bloemendaal hit Smith on a screen pass that he ran 39 yards for a touchdown.
NWU trailed 27-17 to start the fourth quarter, but Tyler Francis marched the Prairie Wolves down the field competing four passes and capping the drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown.
After two key stops by the Prairie Wolves defense, the NWU offense had one last shot as they took over on their own 29 yard line. Francis completed five passes and got NWU to the 22-yard line where Lorraine hit the field goal to send the game to overtime.
Francis took over in the first quarter and finished 19-38 for 164 yards with no interceptions. He also rushed the ball 15 times with 50 positive yards, but had a net of -2 as he was sacked seven times.
Jordan Delbaugh caught eight passes for 66 yards and had a rushing touchdown. NWU was limited to just 22 rushing yards on 39 carries.
The NWU defense held the top-ranked rushing offense of Northwestern to 110 yards, over 100 less than their season average. Bloemendaal completed 16-28 for 250 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Brandon Reeves led NWU with 13 tackles while Brett Kaczor had a huge game with 12 tackles, 3.0 tackles-for-loss, 1 forced fumble, 1 quarterback sack and an interception.