SIOUX CITY, Iowa – With the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown by freshman Daniel Libolt (Chambers, Neb.), the Dakota Wesleyan University football team got off to a hot start Saturday. However, it was not enough as DWU dropped the Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup to Briar Cliff University, 20-13 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Libolt kicked off the game with a 92-yard kick off returned for a touchdown to give the Tigers (1-4, 0-3 GPAC) an early 7-0 lead. A few possessions later, Briar Cliff got on the scoreboard with a 93-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at seven.
With the ball in scoring position, Shaye Slaughter (Harrisburg, S.D.) was intercepted in the end zone to give the Chargers (4-1, 2-1 GPAC) the ball on their own 20 yard line. However, a few plays later, Bailey Schriever (Harrisburg, S.D.) tipped a screen pass into the air as Dillon Rork (Grand Island, Neb.) intercepted the pass to set up the Tiger offense on the BCU 15 yard line.
Tate Gale (Irene, S.D.) capped off the Tiger drive with a 30-yard field goal to give DWU a 10-7 lead. Later in the first half, the Chargers found the end zone on a touchdown pass to take a 13-10 lead following a missed PAT heading into halftime.
After forcing the Chargers to punt on the opening possession of the second half, DWU drove the length of the field to set up another Gale field goal. The Tigers capped off a 13-play drive with a 25-yard field goal to tie the game at 13.
Both defenses held strong throughout the remainder of the third quarter as neither team allowed another score. With 2:36 left to play, BCU scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass to take a 20-13 lead.
On the ensuing Tiger drive, DWU drove 29 yards to the Briar Cliff 29 yard line and failed a fourth-down attempt. However, two plays later Trey DeCroock (Sioux Falls, S.D.) forced a fumble that was recovered by the Tigers on their own 12 yard line. The late turnover was not enough as DWU fell to the Chargers on the road.
Slaughter finished 19-of-44 passing for 191 passing yards along with 45 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Luke Loudenburg (Canova, S.D.) chipped in 15 rushes for 34 yards, while Spencer Neugebauer (Mitchell, S.D.) snagged eight catches for 57 yards. Tyler Wagner (Webster, S.D.) led the charge defensively with 13 tackles and three tackles for loss. Mitch Johnson (Mitchell, S.D.) tallied 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while Rork recorded four tackles and two interceptions.
The Tigers battle Concordia University in a GPAC road contest at 1 p.m. on Oct. 6 in Seward, Neb.