ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Despite a sluggish start in the first half, the No. 4-ranked Northwestern College football team (3-1, 3-1 GPAC) turned it on in the second half with 34 unanswered points to down Concordia University (Neb.) (0-3, 0-3 GPAC), thanks to the offensive spark from Jalyn Gramstad who threw his first-career touchdown pass and set three other new career-highs.
“I’m proud of how our team responded to some adversity. We found out a lot about our team today,” noted head football coach Matt McCarty. “They responded with a great (second) half of football.”
A frustrating first half for the Red Raiders culminated with four turnovers and no points on the scoreboard, as the Bulldogs would take a 10-0 lead into the halftime break. Four drives ended in a turnover, while the other three ended in punts. Concordia would convert two of the Raider turnovers into their 10 points, as a short two-play, 28-yard drive would be capped off by an Austin Jablonski scamper into the end zone for the first score of the afternoon
Despite the slow start, Northwestern would not be deterred and halftime adjustments would certainly be made in the Raider locker room. “We train for adversity. This is what we prepare for,” said McCarty to the team in the locker room. “We don’t need to do anything special – just get back to playing Raider football and do what we do.”
Straight from the start in the second half – thanks to a Concordia unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the half and enforced on the second half kickoff – it was all Red Raiders. Northwestern would play like Raider fans have come to expect at Korver Field at De Valois Stadium, scoring five unanswered touchdowns.
Gramstad (So., Lester, Iowa) capped off a three-play, 55-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to get Northwestern on the board (10-6). The very next possession, after a CUNE three-and-out, Gramstad marched the offense 62 yards on five plays (32-yard Gramstad touchdown scamper) to give the Raiders their first – and only – lead of the day (13-10). Near the end of the third, Gramstad would cap off a punishing 86-yard drive (six plays), taking all the air out of Concordia and making it 20-10.
Midway through the final frame, Gramstad would have his first-career touchdown toss with a beautifully thrown over-the-shoulder toss to Michael Storey (Sr., Spencer, Iowa) on the near side. The nail in the coffin would come with under a minute left on the clock, as Gramstad would scamper for his fourth touchdown run of the day, making it 34-10.
“Jalyn was a spark for us offensively today,” noted McCarty. “Concordia did a great job in the first half but I was really happy with how our entire offensive unit responded and played in the second half.”
Second-straight week the Northwestern offense notched 300+ rushing yards.
Third-straight week NWC has had 500+ total yards of offense.
Saturday was a career day for sophomore quarterback Jalyn Gramstad.
He set new career-highs in rushing yards (177), rushing touchdowns (4), passing yards (179).
He threw his first-career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Michael Storey.
With his four rushing touchdowns this afternoon, Gramstad now has eight rushing scores on the season.
It’s the first time a Raider has rushed for 4+ touchdowns since Theo Bartman in 2013 (vs. Morningside).
Tanner Schouten was Gramstad’s favorite target, grabbing four passes for 86 yards (team-high).
Parker Fryar led all tacklers – the only in double figures – with 16 tackles.
He was just two tackles away from cracking the program’s top-10 list for tackles in a game.
Tanner Oleson and Jacob Dragstra both recorded their first sacks of the season.
Fryar brought down his first interception of the season, the fourth different Raider to grab one this season.
The Raider defense had a total of four tackles for loss in the contest.
Back doing the kicking duties, Eli Stader was a perfect four-for-four on PATs and two kickbacks on six kickoffs.