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Tigers Push No. 15 Northwestern

Doane gave No. 15 Northwestern College everything they could handle in football action on Saturday afternoon in Crete but when the final seconds ticked off, the Red Raiders held off the Tigers, 31-23. The loss drops Doane to 2-5 on the year.

Northwestern jumped out to an opening lead with a field goal on their first possession of the game. On their second possession, they looked poised to score again but on a throw into the end zone, Tiger cornerback Byron Evans made an interception to end the drive.

However, on the Tigers first play following the interception by Evans, Jaremy Puthoff fumbled on a rushing attempt and the Red Raiders recovered. Northwestern took advantage and scored a touchdown to jump out on top, 10-0.

Tyler Davis took the kickoff from Northwestern and brought it to the Doane 40-yard line. Northwestern was also flagged for a facemask to allow the Tiger to start their possession at the Red Raider 45-yard line. The Tigers drove down to the eight-yard line and faced a fourth and four. The Red Raiders jumped the gun as Doane lined up to go for it on fourth down and the defensive off-sides by Northwestern gave the Tigers a first down. Puthoff took the next play in for a four-yard rushing touchdown.

Doane added a 24-yard field goal just before the half as they drove 73 yards on 12 plays in 1:50 to tie the game at 10-10 going into halftime.

Northwestern had the first possession in the second half and on their first play, Doane forced a fumble and Joe Knott recovered it at the Red Raider 37-yard line. Anthony Dunn completed a 15-yard pass to Tyrone Curry to take the Tigers down to the 22-yard line. On the next play, the Red Raiders broke through the Tiger offensive line and forced Dunn to try and throw away a pass in which he was called for intentional grounding.

With the ball placed at the 40-yard line, Doane reached into the playbook and called on Jeremiah Saffold to take a hand-off from his receiver position. Saffold not only took the hand-off, he dropped back and threw a 40-yard pass to Jesse Ver Velde for a touchdown to give the Tigers the lead 16-10 as the extra point was missed.

Doane's defense held Northwestern to a three-and-out on the next possession but on the short punt, it was ruled to have touched a Tiger player on the foot and the Red Raiders recovered. Northwestern took advantage and scored a go-ahead touchdown.

Northwestern tried an on-side kick but Doane was ready for it and recovered to take possession at the 50-yard line. However, Doane was unable to move the ball and forced to punt. The Red Raiders came back and scored another touchdown to extend their lead after three quarters to 24-16.

In the fourth quarter, Northwestern opened up play with another touchdown to go ahead by 15 points, 31-16. The drive ended on a one-yard run that saw Brandon Smith appear to get stopped and then on a final effort the ball popped out of his hands and Doane recovered. A late touchdown signal quieted the Tiger fans and players who thought the team had forced another turnover.

Doane was held off the board until late in the fourth quarter when they ran their two-minute offense. The drive ended as Dunn tried to hook up with Tyrone Curry in the end zone but the ball was deflected and landed in the hands of Jeremiah Saffold for a touchdown.

The Tigers tried the on-side kick and got a fumble from Northwestern but the Red Raiders were given possession and Doane's chances to knock off the ranked team were ended.

For the game, Northwestern held a small advantage in total yards, 446-402. Both team ran 75 plays on the day with the Red Raiders holding an 11 minute advantage in time of possession.

Dunn threw for 279 yards and a touchdown on 21 completions. Saffold was the leading receiver as he finished with seven catches for 81 yards. Curry picked up five receptions for 61 yards and Ver Velde had four catches for 86 yards.

Tim Reed led the ground game with 40 yards while Puthoff had 21 yards rushing.

The defense was led by Josh Milz' 10 total tackles and one pass break up that occurred in the end zone. Dalton Ryba added nine total tackles while Brady Roeder finished with eight. Cason Christensen was in on seven tackles and forced a fumble.

Doane will play their home finale on October 30 when they take on Nebraska Wesleyan University on Senior Day.