CRETE, Neb. – The Dakota Wesleyan University football team seems to have Doane College's number lately.
Last season, the Tigers upset Doane, ranked No. 20 in the NAIA, 28-24 at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell, S.D. Saturday afternoon Dakota Wesleyan continued that tradition with another upset of the 20th-ranked Tigers, this time in Crete, Neb.
Dakota Wesleyan improved to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference with a 31-20 win over the Tigers. The win is the third straight for Dakota Wesleyan, which went 1-2 to start the season but has since gone 3-0.
Dakota Wesleyan, which was down 14-7 at halftime, used 17 fourth-quarter points to pull away from Doane. The Doane Tigers led 20-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but Anthony Muilenburg caught a 51-yard pass from Jon Bane with just over eight minutes to play to put the Tigers up one, 21-20. DWU made it a one-touchdown game with another touchdown pass from Bane, this one a 15-yard throw to Alex Robertson with 2:40 left to play.
The Tigers took advantage of an interception by Jared Van Winkle late in the game to pull ahead by two scores on a 30-yard field goal by Dan Porter. Van Winkle ran the interception down to the Doane 5-yard line, but a holding penalty on the Tiers brought the ball back to the 15. DWU failed to find the end zone, but Porter was able to connect on the field goal.
Both teams scored on their first drives of the game in the first quarter, starting with a three-yard pass from Phil Hamburger to Kellen Unvert to get Doane on the board just under nine minutes into the game. Dakota Wesleyan responded on a one-yard touchdown run by Francois Barnaud with four minutes left in the quarter, and the score stayed 7-7 to end the first.
Doane scored the only points of the second quarter on a 13-yard run by Nate Meier, but the Tigers tied the score in the third on a four-yard pass from Bane to Muilenburg. Earlier in the drive Dakota Wesleyan had the ball on the Doane 41-yard line on 4th-and-7, but ran a fake punt and Porter ran the ball 14 yards for a first down to keep the drive alive. Doane pulled ahead later in the quarter on a 33-yard run by Meier, but that's the last time the Tigers got on the board and the DWU defense made several key stops to help the Tigers pull off the upset.
Dakota Wesleyan finished with 421 yards of total offense to Doane's 386. DWU ran for 234 yards, led by 149 from Barnaud. Xavier Armijo also had 68 yards on the ground. Bane finished 18-for-29 for 187 yards and three touchdowns, and Muilenburg caught a game-high 10 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Robertson also had two catches for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Fielder paced the Tiger defense with 11 tackles. Matt McManus finished with eight and Brady Bonte added seven, including 2.5 for a loss of nine yards and one sack. Van Winkle finished with four tackles on top of his interception return and Matt Tuttle also had a tackle for a loss. The DWU defense gave up 252 rushing yards and 134 passing yards.
Dakota Wesleyan returns home Saturday, Oct. 19, and faces its second straight ranked opponent when it hosts top-ranked Morningside College at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field.