It's week five of GPAC football as we close out the month of September. There are four league games and one non-conference contest on the docket this Saturday. B. Lynn Fouts breaks down the games on the GPAC Football Preview for Week Five from VSN.
In golf, they call Saturday moving day; trying to get in position for a run at the tournament. A few more questions were answered last week, but the league will shake out even more this weekend. With several key games on tap, some teams will be in position to make that run at the conference crown, but only if they come out on top.
Concordia, fresh off their first win of the season, heads out of the conference to South Dakota to play Dakota State. The Bulldogs exploded for 38 first half points in route to a 52-14 victory. They are led by quarterback Von Thomas who is 3rd in the league in total offense and directs the second highest scoring team at 34 points per game. The defense has been stretched at times this fall, but is coming off their best game of the season. They'll need to be prepared for the Trojans signal caller Brandon Large ranked 21st in the NAIA in passing.
Briar Cliff travels to Sioux Center to play Dordt on Parents Weekend. Both teams have been challenged on defense, but Briar Cliff has shown more ability to score this year. Charger quarterback PJ Quiroga is completing almost 60% of his throws and RB Jared Williams is still a load. The Defenders counter with their own run game, 3rd in the league, behind five rushers all averaging between 25 and 42 yards per game.
#15 Northwestern at Nebraska Wesleyan has signaled some very close games during the GPAC years, ever since they shared the inaugural crown in 2000. The Red Raiders have positioned themselves to make a run for the post season but there is little margin for error. With just four losses the past two seasons, they've just missed the cut. Defensive tackle Jordan Carlson was the defensive player of the week and leads the 8th best NAIA defense allowing just 248 yards per game. The offense has been held under 28 points only once. Nebraska Wesleyan is the 6th best against the run in the NAIA but 65th against the pass.
Doane is on the road at Midland to keep their title hopes alive. The Tigers are coming off an emotional win over NWU and must keep their eye off next week's contest with Morningside in Crete. Quarterback Jeff Weander has thrown for ten scores and will need to keep the yardage going against a physical Warrior defense, (Midland allowed only 10 points in its two wins). The Tiger defense has been solid by Jeremy Wallace at linebacker. Midland quarterback Lee Horky will need his best game to keep the Warriors as Doane averages over 30 points an outing.
Dakota Wesleyan visits Hastings in the only match up of undefeated teams in the league. This game was voted on the Play NAIA Facebook page as the "NAIA Game of the Week." With Morningside idle this week, the winner will share the lead as we near the halfway point in the campaign. Dakota Wesleyan may have Jonathan Bane back after he missed a game for concussion. The Tigers will definitely have running back Josh Endres, the top NAIA rusher this fall by almost 50 yards a game. The Tiger defense has allowed less than 17 points per game and seems capable after losing so many starters from 2011. The Broncos counter with John Dostal at quarterback, second in the GPAC to only Joel Nixon in most passing categories and running back Keenen Ballage. Hastings also had to replace several senior defensive standouts from a year ago and have done well, allowing 19 points per contest. With the similar statistics between the two, (both average about 30 points a piece), this should be a closely contested game.
#4 Morningside is idle
-B. Lynn Fouts