Northwestern drops Dickinson State to begin NAIA Playoffs
Red Raiders advance with 49-7 victory
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The No. 3-ranked Northwestern College football team (10-1, 10-1 GPAC) won their third-straight National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football Championship Series (FCS) First Round game Saturday afternoon with a 49-7 win over No. 17-ranked Dickinson State University (N.D.) (8-3, 6-0 NSAA) on a cold and windy day at De Valois Stadium.
“With Jalyn (Gramstad) and Konner (McQuillan), our offensive line played outstanding today! Konner ran with great bursts, running at a different speed out there,” noted head coach Matt McCarty. “Jalyn was able to create some huge plays with his legs.”
Aided by four-straight three-and-outs by the Red Raider defense, Northwestern was able to jump out to a fast 35-0 lead. The Raiders, in turn, scoring touchdowns on their first five offensive possessions. “The game couldn’t have started any better for us,” said McCarty. “Had them into the wind and our defense did a great job of forcing three and outs, getting the ball back to our offense quickly.” The first quarter was highlighted by two rushing scores by Jalyn Gramstad (So., Lester, Iowa) and Konner McQuillan (Jr., Leavenworth, Kan.). With under a minute in the first quarter, Gramstad would find Cade Moser (Sr., Rock Valley, Iowa) from 47-yards out to take a commanding lead.
A botched Blue Hawk punt set up a very short field for the Red Raiders to begin the second quarter, as the DSU punt was returned more yards (8) then the punt went (7). A two-play nine-yard drive saw Gramstad scamper for his second score of the day would ensue. Later, Gramstad again for the third time on the day, would find the end zone with a 44-yard sprint down the far sideline to make it 35-0 Red Raiders.
After the Gramstad touchdown run, the Red Raider defense got in on some action, forcing the first Dickinson State turnover of the day. A pass looking to be picked off in the air, then appearing to be brought in by the Blue Hawk receiver, eventually was safely cradled in the arms of Morris Hofer (Jr., Onida, S.D.) in one of the most acrobatic interceptions of the season.
“Hofer’s interception was one of the best effort plays I’ve ever seen,” noted McCarty. “But that’s Morris, he plays with a high motor and has played super disruptive defense all year long!”
A Dickinson State touchdown late in the half would be their lone score of the day, as Northwestern took a 35-7 lead into the locker room.
The scoring would slow down in the second half, as the Raider play calling shifted to a more run-heavy approach to work the game clock. In the first possession of the third quarter, Logan Meyer (So., Alvord, Iowa) would find the end zone, capping of a 13-play, 75-yard drive that melted eight minutes off the clock.
The final Raider score came early in the fourth quarter, as Moser would bring down his second touchdown grab of the game, making it 49-7 late. Late in the fourth quarter, on the final drive for the Blue Hawks, Nate Rice (Jr., Sioux City, Iowa) sealed the deal and kept the Blue Hawks off the board with a pick in the end zone. The interception led to the Red Raiders kneeling out the rest of the clock, walking off the field with the 49-7 victory.
- The Red Raiders won their second-straight game, and second overall in the FCS, over Dickinson State this afternoon.
- For the 10th-straight game, Northwestern held their opponent to 10 points or less (10); improving to 321-29-5 (.904) all-time.
- The Raiders held the Blue Hawks to just 206 yards of total offense, with just 25 rushing yards.
- Jalyn Gramstad erupted for five total touchdowns (two passing, three rushing) on the day, throwing for 201 yards and rushing for 97 more (298 total yards combined).
- Gramstad was awarded the Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance.
- He now sits fourth in program history for rushing touchdowns in a single season (19).
- Konner McQuillan led the team with 124 yards and one touchdown, with a long of 22 yards.
- He notches his seventh-career, and third of the season, 100-yard rushing game today.
- Morris Hofer led the defense with a very disruptive game…four tackles, two TFLs, and an interception.
- The performance garnered him the Defensive Player of the Game and the Scooter’s Player of the Game honors.
- There was a three-way tie for the team lead in tackles with 6: Cody Moser, Parker Fryar, and Tanner Oleson.
- The Raider defense had six TFLs and two sacks, while forcing one turnover.
Up Next: The Red Raiders advance to the Quarterfinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS) for the third-straight year. Northwestern will host Marian University (Ind.) for the second-straight season in the Quarterfinals with kickoff from Korver Field at De Valois Stadium slated for noon (12:00 p.m.) on the campus of Northwestern College.
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