Tyler Francis tied the school record with his 28th pass completion on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brooks Erhart in the fourth quarter to seal a 16-6 victory over Concordia University on homecoming Saturday (Oct. 20) at Abel Stadium in Lincoln.
NWU snaps Concordia’s four-game winning streak and gets their second consecutive victory as the Prairie Wolves improve to 3-4 overall and 2-4 in GPAC play.
Concordia (4-4, 3-3 GPAC) got the first points of the game in the second quarter as the two teams were both held without points in the first quarter. Von Thomas hit Colten Quinabo on a 39 pass down the middle to put the Bulldogs up 6-0 at the 10:22 mark. The ensuing PAT was blocked by Jordan Delbaugh who pitched the ball to Cody Eiler for the return but a penalty negated the defensive PAT.
The Prairie Wolves then mounted their first scoring drive after an 18-yard punt return by Eiler gave NWU the ball at their 47-yard line. Francis completed four passes and Dustin Bryant capped the drive with a 3-yard TD run. The Prairie Wolves PAT was also blocked to keep the score 6-6 at halftime.
On Concordia’s first possession of the second half, Cody Eiler made the first of his three interceptions at the Bulldog 41-yard line to put NWU in Concordia territory. An 18-yard completion to Ryan Larsen got NWU inside the 20-yard line but a fumble on third down would set up a field goal. Aaron Lorraine connected on his fourth straight field goal as he made a 27-yard attempt to put NWU up 9-6.
The defensive battle continued through the third quarter before the Bulldogs mounted their biggest scoring threat to close the quarter and into the fourth. With the ball at the four-yard line quarterback Von Thomas threw the ball into the end zone. Michael Huettner tipped the pass and Eiler intercepted it to end the threat.
After a NWU punt Concordia took over again, but once more their drive was ended by another Eiler interception at the 45 yard line. From there, the Prairie Wolves would go on the game-winning drive. A 19-yard scramble by Francis put NWU inside the 30. A Bulldog facemask penalty got the ball inside the 10-yard line. On third and goal, Francis hit Erhart on a corner route just inside the pylon for the game-winning score.
Francis, who is now 2-0 as starting quarterback, finished 28-36 for 256 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He tied Jeff Lindquist for completions in a game (Lindquist was inducted into NWU Hall of Fame on Saturday).
Both Brooks Erhart and Jordan Delbaugh had seven receptions to lead the Prairie Wolves receivers as nine different players caught a pass for NWU. Dustin Bryant was the workhorse at running back as he rushed for 73 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Concordia was limited to 210 total yards, with just 38 yards on the ground. Von Thomas was 15-38 for 172 with a touchdowns, but threw three interceptions. He also led the team with 17 rush yards.
Russell Walton had seven tackles, a tackle-for-loss and four quarterback hurries to pace the NWU defense. Seth Wardyn also recorded seven tackles. Eiler had three intercpetions and now has six on the year.
NWU will be at Briar Cliff next Saturday going for their third straight win.