Ninth-ranked Morningside handed No. 13 Doane College its first loss of the season with a 31-16 victory in Saturday’s Homecoming football game in Elwood Olsen Stadium. Dakota Wesleyan defeated Dordt 58-10 and is the lone remaining undefeated in GPAC Football for 2011.
The Mustangs never trailed en route to their fourth victory in five outings this season and improved to 3-1 in the GPAC to keep their hopes for a league title alive. Doane fell to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the GPAC. Dakota Wesleyan leads the GPAC at 4-0 and will host Morningside next Saturday in Mitchell, S.D.
Fred Jones rushed for 144 yards in 24 carries for his third 100-yard game of the season and freshman quarterback Kyle Nikkel came off the bench to complete 11 of 17 pass attempts for 165 yards and three touchdowns to grab the offensive headlines. Nikkel’s TD strikes were throws of 33 yards to Dillon Robinson, 14 yards to Charlie Murphy, and 26 yards to Kyle Schuck.
The Morningside defense held Doane to 287 yards total offense and set up the game’s first score when Colby Henderson intercepted a Anthony Dunn pass in the end zone late in the first quarter and returned the theft 95 yards to the Tigers’ five-yard line. The Mustangs were penalized five yards for sideline interference on the runback, but scored on the very next play on a 10-yard touchdown run by the freshman Robinson. Zach Maxey’s PAT gave the Mustangs a 7-0 lead with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Mustang quarterback Jordan Jacupke led the Mustangs on a 53-yard drive in the second quarter that featured a 21-yard pass to Colby Rohde and a 12-yard keeper by Jacupke. The drive set up a 38-yard field goal by Maxey that put the Mustangs on top 10-0 with eight minutes left in the first half.
Robinson broke loose for a 25-yard run and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Nikkel to complete a seven-play, 76 yard drive late in the second quarter that sent the Mustangs into the intermission with a 17-6 lead.
Doane closed within eight points on two occasions in the second half at 17-9 and 24-16, but the Mustangs answered each time with Nikkel’s touchdowns passes to Murphy and Schuck, the later which capped the scoring with 2:26 left in the game.
Taylor Johnson had eight solos and three assists to top the Mustangs’ tackle chart with 11 total tackles. Henderson and Marshall Barney were next with nine stops. All nine of Henderson’s tackles were solos, while Barney had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 10 yards. Henderson and Chris Tate each had interceptions, Marcus Smith had two quarterback sacks, Matt Jones had three quarterback hurries, and Ryan Klein had a pair of pass breakups.