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Mustangs Down Northwestern in Key GPAC Showdown

October 02, 2017
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By Dave Rebstock, Morningside (Iowa) Sports Information Director

ORANGE CITY, Iowa - Fourth-ranked Morningside (Iowa) scored touchdowns on its first four offensive possessions of the game and went on to crush No. 15 Northwestern (Iowa), 48-20, in Saturday’s GPAC showdown.

The victory left the Mustangs as the only undefeated team left in the GPAC standings with a 2-0 league mark. Morningside climbed to 5-0 overall.

Saturday’s triumph was a marked difference from a year ago when the Mustangs escaped a Northwestern upset bid with a 14-13 triumph in a contest where they failed to score a traditional offensive touchdown.

Scoring was not a problem for the Mustangs in this season’s contest as their four quick scores put an early damper on the Red Raiders’ Homecoming crowd.

Morningside marched 64 yards to a touchdown on its opening possession and capped the six-play drive when Trent Solsma found Connor Niles open for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 9:48 left in the first quarter.

The Mustangs’ first touchdown drive took only two minutes. Morningside was more methodical on its next possession when it marched 81 yards in 21 plays on a drive that took 7:24 off the clock. The drive ended on a one-yard touchdown run by Solsma that put the Mustangs up 14-0 with 13:52 left in the first half.

Morningside added two more first half touchdowns on a one-yard run by Bubba Jenkins and a five-yard run by Arnijae Ponder to take a 28-7 lead into the intermission.

The Mustangs made it 35-7 on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Solsma to Niles with 12:56 left in the third quarter.

A pair of one-yard touchdown runs by Northwestern quarterback Tyson Kooima and running back Jacob Kalogonis rallied the hosts within 35-20 with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.

Morningside crushed any further Red Raider comeback hopes on fourth quarter touchdown runs of nine and three yards by Jenkins to cap the game’s scoring.

Jenkins, a NCAA Division II All-American last season at Southwest Baptist who transferred to Morningside in the offseason, rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns in 36 attempts to go over the 100-yard mark for the fourth game in a row.

Solsma, one of the nation’s premier quarterbacks, finished with 20 completions in 33 pass attempts for 243 yards and two touchdowns.

Niles was Solsma’s favorite target with seven receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Chad Berg was next with five catches for 43 yards.

Morningside’s defense forced five turnovers with interceptions by Klayton Nordeen, Caden McDonald and Joel Katzer and fumble recoveries by Alex Paulson and Chase Nelson. The Mustangs converted four of the Northwestern miscues into touchdowns.

McDonald had a huge defensive performance for the winners with a team-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops, to go along with two quarterback sacks, an interception and a blocked PAT attempt.

Katzer was next with eight tackles, including seven solos, and an interception, while Xavier Spann had six solo tackles and a pair of pass breakups. Niklas Gustav had two tackles in the Red Raiders’ backfield for losses of nine yards, including a quarterback sack, to go along with a quarterback hurry.

Morningside will host No. 25 Dakota Wesleyan in a 1:30 p.m. game on Saturday, Oct. 7, for Homecoming 2017.

Championship Information

NAIA Football Championship
Sports Rules - Football