Well, folks, it is upon us. The football team's biggest test of the season thus far. I would venture to say that coaches and players have been looking at this game since the start of the season, as Morningside was picked to win the GPAC. And now it's finally here. Not only a top-15 showdown, but also a fight for the top of the conference. If DWU wins, they stay undefeated (obviously) and keep hold of first. If Morningside wins, there's a three-way tie for first with those two and Doane, which has a bye after picked up its first loss of the year to Morningside last week.
Should be a good game. Morningside is No. 8, we're No. 13. And it will be interesting to see where we stack up against the Mustangs. We've played the lower half of the conference to get to this point, and Morning has played some of the league's best. It beat Northwestern, Doane and Midland, and its lone conference loss was a 30-23 upset by Nebraska Wesleyan. The Mustangs beat Doane pretty handily, 31-16, but beat Midland by a point and Northwestern 21-10.
Stat-wise, the Tigers look pretty dominant on paper. DWU is at or near the top of the league in nearly every category, while the Mustangs are in the middle of the pack at best. But, again, Morningside has played some of the league's best, and the Tigers have had their way with most of their opponents thus far. One stat that really stands out to me is the Mustangs' pass defense -- they are ninth in the GPAC and giving up 232 yards per game through the air. That's good news for DWU, whose pass offense is absolutely dominating the league individually and team-wise.
Morningside has two young quarterbacks that shouldn't be taken lightly, including a freshman who came off the bench to throw for three touchdowns last week against Doane. We, however, counter that with a sophomore who has a strong arm and has made some excellent passes this season. We also have three receivers who are the best in the league. And one of those 'receivers' actually doubles as the league's best running back, so take that, Morningside!
For real, though -- it will be fun to see what we can do against this team. They don't seem to be the high-powered team they used to be, although they're still pretty darn good. We haven't beaten Morningside since 2002... in fact, we've lost pretty badly to them most years since, so hopefully there's no mental block going into the game.
I know it's pheasant opener tomorrow, but here's hoping we see all kinds of blaze orange intermixed with the blue and white cheering for the Tigers.
In other news... the DWU men's soccer team picked up its second win of the year against a team receiving votes in the NAIA this past week. The Tigers upset Dordt College 2-1 in double overtime thanks to a free kick by Hugo Gonzalez that slipped past Dordt's keeper. Another huge win for this team, which continues to impress. The Tigers are 4-2 in the league and in second place.
Holy women's golf team. The Tigers were a stroke behind Morningside after the first GPAC qualifier of the season, but won the second by 25 strokes to pull ahead by 24 in the overall standings. Twenty-five strokes! That's huge. Dani Bellet is in the individual lead by seven shots, and Jenna Winckler is second. Should be a fun spring season for the girls!
That's all for today. Hope to see everyone at Quintal tomorrow afternoon. Who ya rootin' for?!