Northwestern football team ranked #1 in NAIA after a pair of wins over Bulldogs to start season

Red Raiders beat FCS Drake in OT Saturday for 15th straight win
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:30 PM CDT
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ORANGE CITY, IA. (Dakota News Now) -After an overtime comeback win on the road at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I FCS Drake on Saturday, the Northwestern College football team (2-0, 1-0 GPAC) holds onto the No. 1 ranking in the first poll of the 2023 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Coaches’ Poll, the league office announced today. The Red Raiders picked up all 18 first-place votes.

The Red Raiders have picked up right where they left off in 2022, picking up wins in the first two games and extending their win-streak to 15-straight games. Both wins this season have come against schools with the nickname Bulldogs in Concordia (Neb.) (48-35) and Drake (27-24 (OT)). Northwestern has now been ranked inside the top-5 for the 26th-straight poll.

The offense continues to be one of the best in the NAIA. Northwestern enters this week sixth in the nation in passing with 266.0 yards per game. Additionally, the Red Raiders are second nationally in first downs per contest (29.5).

Within the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Northwestern leads the league in rushing offense with their 266.0 yards per game and 7.6 yards per rush average. The passing attack of 225.5 yards per game sits third in the GPAC, while the four passing scores sits second among teams with just two games played this year.

Northwestern sits No. 1 and No. 3 in individual rushing leaders in the league, as reigning GPAC Offensive Player of the Week Jalyn Gramstad (Jr., Lester, Iowa) sits third with his 102.5 rushing yards per game. Konner McQuillan (Sr., Leavenworth, Kan.) has been a workhorse out of the backfield, leading the league with his 137.5 rushing yards per game. McQuillan had a career day in Week 1 against Concordia (Neb.), following that performance up with the game-tying score (TD reception) and game-winning (rushing) score in overtime against Drake.

In the wide receiver league conversation, senior Michael Storey (Spencer, Iowa) leads the GPAC in receiving yards per game at 120.0 yards per game, being one of two receivers to average 100 receiving yards a game. His three touchdowns sits in a two-way tie for second.

The NAIA top-5 sees the same five as the preseason poll, just with a slightly different arrangement. Previously No. 2-ranked Keiser (Fla.) (1-1) dropped to No. 4 after falling to an NCAA Division II foe. Grand View slid up to No. 2, followed by Morningside at No. 3. Indiana Wesleyan remains at No. 5, despite also picking up a win over an NCAA FCS team in Valparaiso (Ind.) on Saturday.

Story courtesy Northwestern Athletics