Midland defensive back Nick Carlson intercepted a Nate Hauptman pass with under two minutes to play as the Prairie Wolves were driving for the game-winning score to seal a 7-3 Midland victory over Nebraska Wesleyan University in the GPAC football opener on Saturday (Sept. 8) at Memorial Field in Fremont, Neb.
Hauptman, attempting to throw the ball out of bounds, was intercepted for the third time in the game as Carlson tiptoed the sideline to seal the victory.
Midland scored on a 73-yard drive in the second quarter to take the 7-0 lead. That was the only bright spot for the Warrior offense under first year head coach Josh Gehring. MU's hurry-up no huddle offense was no match for the Prairie Wolves defense.
NWU defense limited Midland to 92 total yards in the game, with 73 coming on one dive. The Prairie Wolves held the Warriors to just 19 yards on the other 15 drivex.
The Prairie Wolves offense had their chances in the game but never could convert. NWU missed two field goals in the game and did not take advantage of several red zone opportunities, including a dropped pass in the end zone that would have given NWU the lead.
The lone score for the Prairie Wolves was a 22-yard field goal by Aaron Lorraine with 1:12 left in the first half. The score was set up by a blocked punt from Phil Latimer at the Midland seven yard line.
Nebraska Wesleyan started their final drive at their own 46 yard line with 3:21 to play. Dalton Thyfault made a diving catch for one first down and the Prairie Wolves used a defensive holding penalty for another first down to get to the 31-yard line. From there, Hauptman was flushed out of the pocket and attempted to throw the ball away, but it went into the hands of Carlson.
Hauptman finished 14-36 for 93 yards with three interceptions. The NWU rushing attack had 117 total yards led by Dustin Bryant with 38 yards on 14 carries. Dalton Thyfault and Jordan Delbaugh both caught five passes.
Brett Kaczor led the strong NWU defense 12 total tackles and 2.0 tackles for loss. Cody Eiler had an interception and 100 return yards.
Midland was limited to 32 rush yards on 37 attempts, while two different quarterbacks combined to go 6-20 in the air.
NWU will now have to bounce back next Saturday when they host nationally-ranked Morningside College in a night game at Abel Stadium starting at 6 pm.