We move into week number three of GPAC Football and all ten schools are in action again this week with all the games in the conference. B. Lynn Fouts breaks down the games in this week's GPAC/VSN Football Preview.
Several close games highlighted the first full week of the conference season on week two with Midland grabbing six turnovers in route to a 7-3 win over Nebraska Wesleyan. Dakota Wesleyan stopped Concordia in the final 21 seconds to preserve their 26-23 win and Briar Cliff let a late lead slip away in a 24-17 loss to Graceland. Morningside, Hastings and Doane took comfortable wins away from the weekend. The schedule hands us some interesting match-ups this Saturday as it will be all league contests.
In the 1pm games, Briar Cliff heads to South Dakota to visit Dakota Wesleyan which slid into the ratings at #22 this week. The Chargers will try to slow down the Tigers attack which features the league's top rusher and scorer, Josh Endres and also the top receiver in Arthur Brown. BCU counters with quarterback Keith Van Egdom (200ypg) and running back Jared Williams who ranks third in the league. Both defenses should be challenged all day in this one at Joe Quintal Field.
Dordt heads to Fremont to play Midland and the Defenders showed improvement on the defensive side as they played Hastings tough in a 20-7 loss. More will be expected of the offense in the way of scoring since their ground game averages over 200 ypg. Midland was opportunistic on defense last weekend, but I expect the offense will unwind a little more in game two. The Warriors mustered only 92 total yards, just 32 on the ground. The home team can't expect as many turnovers as last week as they play in conference game number two.
#17 Northwestern has little time to lick its wounds as #16 Doane comes calling in a huge game for both squads. Backed up in its own territory the majority of the first half, the Red Raiders had only 65 yards at the break. The Northwestern offense will need to get established early as the Tigers have built 28-0 leads in its first two wins and coasted from there. Doane quarterback Jeff Weander has done a remarkable job as a starter, throwing for three touchdowns in both games. To offset the Doane passing game, look for NWC to run the ball early and often. Last year Doane nipped the Raiders in Crete, this should be as competitive as it gets this week at Korver Field.
Morningside treks to Nebraska Wesleyan for a game under the lights seeking to avenge last year's only regular season loss. The Prairie Wolves dispatched the Mustangs 30-23 in Sioux City and now seek to even the series at four wins apiece since they became conference rivals. Quarterback Joel Nixon has Morningside ranked 4th in the latest NAIA poll, managing an offense that averages more than 40 ppg and has no turnovers in two games. To support the offense the Mustang defense has allowed just 14 points in the first two games. NWU had tough going against Midland, losing the ball on six turnovers including in the final minutes of a 7-3 loss. The Wolves defense held the Warriors under 100 yards of offense. Again, defenses will prevail this week at Abel Stadium.
Concordia, possibly the most improved GPAC team, heads out west to Hastings in search of win number one. The Bulldogs have rung up 60 points in the first two games, but fell a little short each time. Coach Winters' squad won this contest last year 10-0. The way Concordia is playing in 2012, expect more shootouts than shutouts. Hastings started the season in good fashion with quarterback John Dostal tossing for almost 300 yards. The defense gave up a late score, otherwise the Broncos look strong on both sides of the ball. Concordia will have to be ready for their first road game of the campaign as they venture out of Seward.