Red Raider football unveils 2023 schedule

ORANGE CITY, Iowa –On the heels of the program’s first national title since 1983, the defending National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national champions, the Northwestern football program unveils their 2023 schedule, head coach Matt McCarty announced today.

This year’s slate features one non-conference game with the rest being a full Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) schedule. The season starts with Northwestern playing four of their first five games away from Orange City and the home fans. The schedule features five home contests and six road trips for McCarty and squad. The schedule features two programs ranked inside the NAIA top-25 poll at the conclusion of the 2022 season (Morningside and Dordt).

The Raiders are entering the eighth season under the direction of McCarty. In that span, Northwestern has posted a 79%-win percentage, including an 83% mark in GPAC play. McCarty has a record of 67-18. Last season, McCarty became the program’s third-winningest coach in program history, surpassing his predecessor Kyle Achterhoff who won 56 games on the sidelines.

The season is set to open on Saturday, September 2 when the Red Raiders will hit the road for Seward, Neb. to battle the Bulldogs of Concordia University (Neb.).

For the first time since 1997, the Red Raiders and the Bulldogs of Drake University will meet on the gridiron in Des Moines, Iowa inside Drake Stadium. It will be the fourth time that the two teams meet, with Drake holding a 2-1 series lead. The lone Northwestern win came back in 1996 in Orange City, though Drake squeaked out just a 27-20 win in Des Moines in 1997.

“We are excited for the opportunity to play at Drake in historic Drake Stadium in week two,” notes McCarty.“We know it will be a great test playing the Bulldogs early in the season.”

The home opener of the 2023 is slated for September 16 when the Doane Tigers come to town as the Raiders will celebrate senior day against the Tigers. The following week, NWC will play a night game in Yankton, S.D. against the Mount Marty Lancers on September 23 with a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. To conclude the first month of football for the season, Northwestern will travel to Fremont, Neb. to face the Midland Warriors on September 30.

The month of October commences with the first home game in three weeks, as the Raiders will play host to the Hastings College Broncos on October 7. It will also mark the weekend of Homecoming for Northwestern College.

“The GPAC will continue to be strong top to bottom in 2023,” said McCarty. “We know we will need to be ready to play our best week in and week out as we go through the season.”

On October 14, NWC will make their lone trip to Sioux City in the regular season to play the Briar Cliff Chargers. To wrap up the month of October, Northwestern will play host for back-to-back weeks for the only time during the season. The Dordt Defenders will make the short trip over to De Valois Stadium on October 21, followed by the Mustangs of Morningside on October 28.

The month of November will see the Red Raiders battle a pair of Dakota institutions, beginning with a trip to Mitchell, S.D. to face the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan on November 4. The regular season will come to a close on November 11 when the Jamestown Jimmies make the long trek down to Orange City.

For the second-straight season, Northwestern welcomes a new offensive coordinator. Josh Fakkema, a 2020 Northwestern football alum, takes over the reigns of the offense, replacing Jake Menage who departed for his alma mater (South Dakota State University) after the 2022 season.

Northwestern has competed in football since 1950, and became a 4-year institution in 1960*. Four of the five head coaches in Raider football history have won at least 70% of their games, as Northwestern became a power under legendary head coach Larry Korver (1967-1995). The Raiders have won 458 games in program history with 67 of those wins coming under McCarty.

9.2 at Concordia (Neb.)

9.9 at Drake

9.16 Doane [Senior Day]

9.23 at Mount Marty

9.30 at Midland

10.7 Hastings [Homecoming]

10.14 at Briar Cliff

10.21 Dordt

10.28 Morningside

11.4 at Dakota Wesleyan

11.11 Jamestown

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