Dordt drubs Ottawa to win first NAIA playoff game in program history

Defenders win 35-7 and advance to take on #1 Northwestern
Defenders win 35-7
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 1:48 AM CST
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SIOUX CENTER, IA (Dakota News Now) - No.14 Dordt University earned its first ever postseason win as they rolled past Ottawa (Kan.) 35-7 in a NAIA Football Championship Series - First Round match-up played today on the Defenders home field, Open Space Park.

The Defenders improve to 9-2 and advance to the NAIA FCS second round where they play No.1 Northwestern (Iowa) on Saturday, Nov.15.

Dordt rushed for 350 yards and a season-high five touchdowns, four by Brendan Pieper, behind a Defenders offensive line that controlled the line of scrimmage. Defensively, Dordt held a dangerous Ottawa offense down, limiting the Braves to just 4/14 on third down and two red-zone possessions.

First Quarter:

  • both teams were forced to punt on their first offensive series
  • following a booming Blade Koons punt of 63 yards that sent Ottawa back to its down 27-yard line to start a drive, the Braves used a big-play to score their lone touchdown as Wynton Ruth scored on a 73-yard run on the first play of the drive
  • with the Defenders offense struggling to move the ball early, Koons continued to flip the field position in Dordt’s favor as he pinned Ottawa back to the 11-yard run
  • Dordt’s defense forced Ottawa into a 3-and-Out and the Braves punt was short, setting up the Defenders with good field position near midfield to start their next drive
  • The Defenders offense capitalized with their best drive of the quarter as Pieper scored on a 13-yard run to cap a six-play, 48-yard drive and tied the score at 7-7

Second Quarter:

  • with Ottawa’s on the move at the start of the second quarter, the Defenders stopped the Braves on a critical fourth down at Dordt’s 31-yard line
  • the Defenders responded with their second consecutive scoring drive, going 69 yards on six plays and finished off with a Pieper 22-yard run to give Dordt the lead for good, 14-7
  • following another Ottawa punt, Dordt pushed its lead to 21-7 as they went on their best scoring drive of the game, a 14-play, 86-yard drive that used up over six minutes of clock; Pieper reached the endzone for the third time, running it in from seven yards out with 1:25 left in the first half
  • Ottawa failed to convert on a 36-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half as Dordt led 21-7 going into halftime

Third Quarter:

  • the Braves’ had the ball to start the third quarter and began a 15-play, 47-yard drive that used up nearly seven minutes but were unable to score as the Defenders made a key fourth down stop
  • taking over at their own 32-yard line, Dordt extended its lead to 28-7 when Pieper scored his fourth touchdown with a two-yard run to finish off a 10-play, 68-yard drive
  • this drive by the Defenders was their only possession of the third quarter
  • Ottawa ended the third quarter at the Dordt 47-yard yard line after picking up a pair of first downs

Fourth Quarter:

  • Dordt’s defense came up with a big fourth down stop, ending a promising 14-play, 62-yard drive at the Defenders 13-yard line
  • the Defenders put the game away on their next possession with a Nick Wellen 10-yard touchdown run, completing a five-play, 87-yard drive
  • Ottawa picked up one first down on its final drive before they had to punt
  • Dordt’s offense took over with 4:45 left and was able to pick up a couple of first downs to end the game

By the Numbers, Team:

  • after punting on its first three possessions, Dordt’s offense scored on five of its final seven drives, the lone exceptions are the drives at the end of each half where time ran out and the outcome in hand
  • Dordt totaled 424 yards; 350 rushing, 74 passing
  • Ottawa totaled 389 yards; 219 rushing, 170 passing
  • Dordt converted 50% on third down (6/12); Ottawa 29% (4/14)
  • time of possession favored Dordt; 32:25 - 27:35
  • neither team committed a turnover
  • both teams registered a quarterback sack
  • this was the first meeting between the two teams
  • Ottawa, from the Kansas Collegiate Conference, ends the season with a 6-6 record

Individual Leaders:

  • Brendan Pieper led the Defenders offense with 20 carries for 110 yards and a career-high four touchdowns
  • this was Pieper’s third, 100-yard game this season, and third in his last four games
  • Kolson Kruse accounted for 160 yards, 74 passing and 86 rushing
  • Preston McCoy (4 carries, 65 yards) and Nick Wellen (9 carries, 64 yards) also carried the ball effectively
  • Eli Boldan and Kaden Harken each had one catch
  • Tyler Wieringa and Ian McDonald shared team-high honors with 10 tackles
  • this was Wieringa’s second game with 10 or more tackles this season
  • McDonald has four career double-digit tackle games, two this season
  • Daniel Jungling and Grant Hixson totaled eight tackles each
  • Kaleb Weyenberg registered the Defenders lone quarterback sack
  • Wynton Ruth led Ottawa with 16 carries for 130 yards and the Braves only touchdown
  • Billy Maples completed 13-of-29 passes for 170 yards and rushed for 69 yards