Dakota Wesleyan outlasts Concordia to reach 4-1

Tigers win on the road 16-12
Tigers reach 4-1 with 16-12 victory
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 11:23 PM CDT
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SEWARD, NE (Dakota News Now) - Dakota Wesleyan football improved to 4-1 on the season with their nail bitter 16-12 victory over the Bulldogs. This broke a two-game skid for the Tigers head-to-head with Concordia with the last win dating back in 2020. Austin Lee turned in another solid performance with his 231 yards and two scores. Kiel Nelson carried over his 100-yard performance against Midland last week with another one with his six catches for 101. Defensivley the Tigers were led again by Ethan Engen who had nine tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Game Notes

  • Jamin Arend surpassed the 3,000 career rush yards milestone.
  • Austin Lee had his second straight multi-touchdown game and third of the season.
  • Maxwell Raab catches his first career touchdown.
  • Five Tigers recorded double digit tackles (Eide, Stevenson, Hanson, Ruesink, Kniesche)


The Tigers entered today’s game riding a two-game skid against the Bulldogs. DWU, coming off their convincing 33-32 homecoming win over (RV) Midland looked poised to end that skid and ruin Concordia homecoming just like Concordia did last year during the Tigers homecoming with the 20-12 loss. Jamin Arend entered the game needing just 28 rush yards to enter the 3,000-career club which on paper didn’t look like a problem against the second to last ranked Bulldog defense against the run.

Bulldogs won the toss and elected to receive the ball instead of the popular decision to defer. Looking to strike first the Bulldogs got a quick first down on the first play from scrimmage but wouldn’t mount much after that facing a fourth and four and being forced to punt. Dakota Wesleyan on offense looked to get Arend going early with a dump down to him and rush for nine-yards between the two plays to set up a third and one. The Tigers got a killer false start penalty though that derailed the drive and forced a punt. On defense DWU continued their bend but don’t break method forcing another Bulldog punt after a few first downs being picked up. Hunter Cordell came up with a big tackle for a loss on third down to highlight the drive for the Tiger defense.

On the ensuing Dakota Wesleyan drive the Tigers really started finding their rhythm. However, it was clear the Bulldogs were going to force Dakota Wesleyan to do it through the air and not let Arend beat them on the ground leaving minimal running room for the star running back. Austin Lee, coming off his stellar game against Midland was more than ready for the challenge leading a 11 play, 78 yard, six-minute drive that did stall out at the end and forced head coach Ross Cimpl to call on Jaxon Patrick for a chip-shot 19-yard field goal. With the converted field goal, the Tigers went up 3-0 with just under two minutes left in the first.

Concordia, with the ball on the DWU 39 and facing a fourth and five elected to go for it. The decision didn’t pay off as Romeon Greve and Ethan Engen got home to sack the quarterback and force a turnover on downs giving the ball back to Lee and company. Lee didn’t spoil the efforts, getting back on the scoreboard this time with a 12-yard touchdown strike to Preston Nedved. Lee led a six-play, 53-yard drive to put DWU up 10-0 after the converted extra point. Again, on the ensuing CON drive the Tigers bent but didn’t break, forcing Concordia into a fourth and long situation and forcing their hand to punt the ball away in a short field situation.

On the next DWU drive the Tigers got two quick first downs and Arend, who to this point has had a hard time finding running room, cracked off his longest run at 12 yards and closed the gap to 10 more yards for 3,000. The threat ended there, forcing a punt. Concordia got on the scoreboard right before half with a short yardage field goal making it 10-3 heading to the locker room with the Tigers to receive the ball out of half.

Out of the locker room and with the ball, Arend wasted no time surpassing the 3,000 career rushing mark with his 25-yard burst. Arend now joins elite company as just the sixth Tiger to reach 3,000 career rushing yards. The Tigers kept rolling with that momentum and came away with points again when Lee connected with Maxwell Raab from 10-yards out, giving DWU a 16-3 advantage after a blocked extra point. Concordia connected on two big chunk plays on their ensuing drive, putting them in Tiger territory but the Tiger defense held strong again forcing the Bulldogs to attempt a 37-yard field goal. The attempt fell short leaving it at 16-3.

DWU punted on their next drive and Concordia found the endzone for the first time to narrow the Tiger lead to 16-10 early in the fourth quarter. After another Dakota Wesleyan punt, the Bulldogs had the ball and a chance to take the lead. After a quick first down, Ethan Engen brought the CON drive to a screeching halt with his second sack of the game. On the ensuing Tiger drive Lee connected with Nelson for a 43-yard gain to put DWU in Bulldog territory. The threat ended there with Dakota Wesleyan going for it on fourth down and turning it over on downs giving Concordia the ball with just under eight minutes left in the game. CON almost turning the ball over on their next drive was forced to punt after a questionable third and nine run call that went nowhere thanks to a great play from Victor Kniesche.

Dakota Wesleyan was looking to put the game on ice when Lee’s pass was deflected off Nelson and intercepted by the Concordia linebacker. The Bulldogs with the ball drove all the way down the field but faced yet another fourth and two at the Tiger three-yard line. Like all game the defense held strong and didn’t break, stuffing the QB keeper run to force a turnover on downs with less than :30 seconds in the game. The game basically over got interesting though when Concordia got a safety giving them the ball back with seconds left on the clock and down by four. Nothing would come of the chance for a 16-12 final.

Head-to-Head (Concordia University)

  • DWU is now 11-13 all-time against CON
  • Dakota Wesleyan lost last season matchup 20-12.

Up Next

  • Dakota Wesleyan football finishes their two-game road trip with a matchup against Mount Marty Saturday, September 30 at 6 p.m.