Offense came in all shapes and sizes for the No. 16 Dakota Wesleyan University football team as they took down Dordt College 42-37 in a Great Plains Athletic Conference showdown on Saturday in Sioux Center, Iowa.
With less than two minutes to play, the Tigers (4-2) were trailing 37-36, but that didn't stop elusive junior quarterback Dillon Turner (Salem, Ark.) from orchestrating a 12 play, 79-yard drive to put the Tigers in the driver's seat. Turner connected with Dustin Livingston (Irene, S.D.) on a 41-yard touchdown pass, putting the Defenders at bay.
The Tiger offense accumulated 721 yards of total offense, led by Turner who had 204 yards of rushing on 22 attempts and a touchdown. Through the air, the junior quarterback was just as impressive, completing 31-of-39 passes for 402 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Turner's 402 passing yards came just shy of Jon Bane's record of 457 passing yards, which was set in 2012.
DWU was the first on the scoreboard when Turner found Livingston on a 26-yard touchdown pass, late in the first quarter. Dordt scored less than a minute later, but the Tigers led 7-6 after a missed PAT try. With 14 seconds left in the first quarter, Chase Murphy (Kearney, Neb.) connected on a 32-yard field goal, putting the Tigers up 10-6. Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the second quarter as the Tigers led 16-14 heading into halftime.
At the start of the third quarter, Jonny Withrow (Kimball, Neb.) broke free on a 19-yard scamper, capping a five play, 65-yard drive. The Defenders answered with a touchdown early in the third quarter, cutting the Tiger lead to one. Later in the third, Turner put his foot on the gas pedal, connecting with senior Kodi Larson (Tyndall, S.D.) on a 31-yard touchdown pass. The Salem, Ark., native later found the end zone once more, ending a 13 play, 60-yard drive to put the Tigers in front, 36-22.
The Defenders didn't go down without a fight, scoring twice in the fourth quarter. The DWU defense held Dordt in check on the next drive, which led to the final touchdown of the afternoon when Turner found Livingston in the end zone, leading to victory formation for the Tigers.
Livingston finished with nine catches for 153 yards and two scores, while Hayden Adams (Villa Park, Ill.) added 13 catches for 153 yards. On the ground, Withrow pitched in 16 carries on 66 yards and two touchdowns. Nebraska natives, Dillon Rork (Grand Island, Neb.) and Nathan Dahl (Shelby, Neb.) led the DWU defense with 11 stops, combining for 5.5 tackles for loss. Trey DeCroock (Sioux Falls, S.D.) tallied nine tackles.
The Tigers (4-2, 2-1 GPAC) welcome Concordia University for a GPAC battle as part of a three-game home stand beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell, S.D.