Courtesy: Nebraska-Wesleyan Athletics
Lincoln, Neb . – Nebraska Wesleyan head coach Brian Keller recorded his 100th career victory as the Prairie Wolves defeated Hastings College, 43-14, on Senior Day Saturday (Nov. 16) to close out the 2013 football season in the 100th meeting between the long standing rivals.
NWU jumped out to an early 27-0 lead in the first quarter and cruised to the victory giving the Prairie Wolves a 6-4 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
The Prairie Wolves had a 20-0 lead before the crowd got settled into their seats, as NWU ran just four offensive plays but already had 20 points on the board. A blocked punt setup the first score giving NWU field position at the 37-yard line. Tyler Francis found Joey Jones for a 5-yard TD pass to open up the scoring.
Hastings marched down the field on their next possession, but were forced into a field goal attempt. Brandon Reeves blocked the field goal with Seth Wardyn picking up the ball and taking it 87 yards on a highlight reel return.
On the next Broncos possession, a 12-yard punt gave NWU the ball at the 24-yard line. Francis connected with Brooks Erhart on the very next play for another touchdown making the score 20-0 with 6:13 left in the first quarter.
NWU tacked on another score in the 1st quarter as Dustin Bryant got a 1-yard TD run on a 4th down play. The Prairie Wolves used the Broncos struggling special teams to set up that score as well. The Broncos forced a punt, but fumbled the return handing the ball to NWU at the 21-yard line.
Hastings got on the board in the second quarter as Matt Overmiller hit Joe Coenan for a 17-yard score. NWU scored a TD before the half with Francis finding tight end Nolan Clausen on a 19-yard play action pass making the score 34-7 at halftime.
The lone score in the 3rd quarter was another touchdown pass for Francis as he hit Connor Davis in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard catch.
Senior kicker Aaron Lorraine converted his 10th field goal of the season and 22nd of his career to rank 4th all-time at NWU in field goals. Hastings got another score late on a run by Jake Fowler.
Hastings actually outgained NWU 438-349 in total offense, but the Broncos had three turnovers and 108 yards in penalty yardage.
NWU ran for 211 yards led by senior Dustin Bryant with his fifth 100 yard game of the season. Bryant ran for 101 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown, and caught three passes for 27 yards. He closes his career 8th on the NWU all-time rushing charts with 1,684 yards.
Joey Jones added 64 yards and Joel Wiedel rushed for 35.
Tyler Francis was 11-17 for 138 yards with a career-high four touchdowns. Brooks Erhart and Nolan Clausen each caught two passes with a touchdown.
Defensively, senior John Hovendick led the way for the second straight week with 14 total tackles. Phil Latimer made eight stops with 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Seniors Spencer Fecht and Michael Huettner each had interceptions in their final year.
NWU finishes alone in 4th place in the GPAC standings.