Article by Rick Schmuecker, Doane (Neb.) Assistant AD for Athletics Communications
The 2017 Doane Football season opened up on the road in the NAIA Game of the Week as the 11th-ranked Tigers took on No. 14 Sterling College (Kan.) in the GPAC/KCAC Challenge. The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 lead but would need a 4th quarter touchdown to pull out a 34-28 victory.
- Kyle Jensen (JR/Exeter, Neb.) came off the bench to record 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
- Tariq Mustafaa (SR/Cedar Hill, Texas) recorded seven tackles and intercepted a pass on Sterling's final possession of the game.
- Eric Haynes (Sterling) recorded only 15 yards on the ground but found the end zone three times to lead the Warriors.
First Quarter Notes
- On the 4th play of the game, Paul Lozano (SO/San Antonio, Texas) hit Jacob Cornelius (SR/Grand Island, Neb.) for a 65-yard touchdown. It was Lozano's first collegiate touchdown pass. Cornelius was making his return after missing all of
- Sterling took their first possession into Doane territory only to fumble the ball at the 19-yard line. Connor Hughes (JR/Nederland, Texas) recorded the fumble as Brysen Mach (SR/Crete, Neb.) made the hit to force the fumble.
- Cole Wiseman (SR/Sutton, Neb.) set up the next Tiger score as he returned a punt 23 yards down to the Sterling 32-yard line. Jensen scampered 32 yards on the first play of the drive to give Doane a 14-0 lead.
Second Quarter Notes
- On Doane's first possession of the 2nd quarter, they marched 83 yards on 11 plays. Jensen capped the drive with an 11-yard rushing touchdown. The key play
- Sterling received a spark on the ensuing kickoff as Maurice Rucker raced 79 yards and down to the Doane 11-yard line. The Warriors were able to convert a 3rd-and-4 for a first down. Haynes punched the ball in from the one-yard line for a touchdown.
- Following an exchange of punts, Doane was in prime position again as Wiseman had a 22-yard punt return to the Sterling 40-yard line. Lovell hit Bradley for 37 yards to open the drive and Najee Mustafaa (JR/Cedar Hill, Texas) recorded the final three yards for a touchdown and 28-7 lead.
- Wiseman had an interception on Sterling's final drive of the quarter and the Tigers ran out the clock to head into halftime.
Third Quarter Notes
- Sterling took the opening drive of the 3rd quarter 75 yards on 11 plays. Haynes scored from one-yard out and the PAT was missed, leaving Doane in front 28-13.
- The Warriors blocked a Doane punt and recovered it at the nine-yard line. Two plays later, Aaron Chisolm was in the end zone to pull Sterling within eight points, 28-20.
- Sterling blocked another punt in Doane territory and set-up at the 23-yard line with a chance to tie the game. On the second play, the Warriors went for the end zone only to have Doane's Chayton Crow (JR/Hershey, Neb.) pick off the pass and
Fourth Quarter Notes
- As the final quarter started, Sterling had pushed their way down to the Doane 25 following Lisby's interception. A 50-yard pass from Cedric Phillips to Darryl Terrell set-up the tying score. On 4th-and-Goal, Haynes punched the ball in from the one-yard line to pull within two points. Phillips found Eric Butler for a two-point conversion to tie the game at 28-all.
- Doane was able to slow some of the Warriors' momentum as they staged a 10-play drive. However, an intentional grounding call took the Tigers out of field goal range and they were forced to punt. Connor O'Toole (SO/Wilber, Neb.) dropped the ball at the Sterling-11.
- The Tiger defense forced the first 3-and-out since the latter part of the 2nd quarter by recording two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Doane took over near midfield following a punt.
- Doane hit four big plays as they went 53 yards for the go-ahead score. Drew Klein (SR/Papillion, Neb.) recorded runs of 10 and 8 yards with Jensen posting runs of 20 and 15 yards, the final one ending in the end zone. The PAT was blocked, leaving Doane with a six-point lead and 4:18 to play.
- Sterling had one last drive. The Tigers looked to have the drive stopped but a late hit on third down extended the Warrior drive. However, the Warriors' All-American quarterback would come out of the game. Butler took over behind center and on his second play, he
- The game was sealed by Jensen as he raced 44 yards on second down to record his first 100-yard rushing game. Doane was able to take a knee to claim the victory.
Behind the Numbers
- Doane rushed for 235 yards, an average of 5.3 per
- Behind Jansen's 142 yards was Najee Mustafaa with 62 yards and Klein with 42 yards. Sterling received 102 yards on the ground from Chisolm.
- Lozano threw for 73 yards on three completions and Lovell added six completions for 87 yards to pace the Tigers. Phillips completed 13 passes for 180 yards for the Warriors.
- Cornelius led the Doane receivers with 74 yards on two receptions while Bradley had 71 yards on three catches. Richard Newall picked up 52 yards on three
- Tariq Mustafaa, Seth Majerus (JR/Seward, Neb.) and Jordan Williams (SO/Omaha, Neb.) led Doane's defense with six solo tackles and one assist tackle apiece. Majerus recorded the Tigers' only sack of the game, a nine-yard loss. Mach added four solo and two assist tackles with Crow finishing with five solo tackles.
Next Time on the Gridiron
- Doane will play at home for the first time this year with a 4 PM kickoff against Friends University (Kan.) on September 9 at Papik Field.