Tyson Kooima threw for a career-high 377 yards in leading fourth-ranked Northwestern to a 40-28 win over Dordt in a Sioux Country Showdown Series event.
Northwestern remains unbeaten on the season, improving to 5-0 in the GPAC, 6-0 overall, heading into its bye week. Dordt drops to 2-2 in the conference, 3-2 overall.
Kooima completed 28-of-40 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns, surpassing his previous best of 316 yards against Concordia last season. The sophomore threw a pair of touchdown passes and also matched his career high with 95 rushing yards and two scores. Kooima accounted for the final three scores against the Defenders, passing for two and running the final touchdown in from 40 yards out on a crucial 4th down in the closing minutes. Kooima moved into 10th place all-time in career passing (4,404 yards) and career passing touchdowns (34).
Shane Solberg was Kooima’s preferred target this afternoon, setting career highs for receptions (13) and yards (186) while also catching the game-winner, a 41-yard strike with 8:58 left to go in the final. Solberg’s 13 catches is the most by a Red Raider for sure since the 1998 season and the 186 receiving yards is tied for the fifth most all-time.
The Raider D forced three turnovers, all three on interceptions, and held the Defenders’ offense to 311 yards, nearly 150 yards below their average per game. Bryce Van Beek nabbed two picks, giving the senior six for the season and 13 for his career, and Logan Richard totaled one interception.
Northwestern marched down the field on its opening drive, scoring on a Jacob Kalogonis four-yard run to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive that used up nearly seven minutes. Both teams threw interceptions and the Red Raiders missed on a 39-yard field goal attempt to keep the score 6-0 for the rest of the quarter.
The Defenders took the lead (7-6) early in the second quarter when Brock Lamle connected with Matthew Oh for a six-yard touchdown to finish off a nine-play, 78-yard drive. Following a Red Raider punt and missed field goal attempt by Dordt, Northwestern grabbed the lead back with a 12-play, 71-yard drive completed by Kooima on a three-yard keeper. Dordt running back Keithen Drury scored on a one-yard plunge to give the Defenders back the lead, 14-13, just before halftime.
Dordt scored again on its first drive of the third quarter when Lamle completed a six-yard pass to Levi Jungling to give the Defenders their largest lead, 21-13. Northwestern came right back with a scoring drive of its own with a one-yard run by Kalogonis and made good on a two-point conversion pass to Josh Fakkema to tie the game at 21.
Following a Defenders’ punt, Northwestern fumbled and Dordt safety Casey Byker recovered and ran it back five yards for a touchdown to put the visitors in front one last time, 28-21, with 6:52 left in the third. Once again, the Red Raider offense came right back, going 11 plays and 62 yards and scoring on a four-yard run by Kalogonis, his second touchdown of the game.
Tied at 28 heading into the fourth quarter, Northwestern went ahead for good on a beautiful 41-yard touchdown pass from Kooima to Solberg with just under nine minutes left to play. The Raider D stifled Dordt’s offense over the final 15+ minutes, forcing two turnovers, two punts and a turnover on downs on their final five possessions. Northwestern iced the game with a 40-yard run by Kooima on fourth-and-two with 1:13 left to go.
Northwestern totaled 524 yards of offense, 147 rushing and 377 through the air. Kalogonis totaled 21 carries for 47 yards and two scores, moving into a tie with Marty Guthmiller (1978-81) for fourth place all-time with 3,147 career rushing yards. The junior also moved into a tie for seventh place with 32 rushing touchdowns (Lee McKinstrey-1980-83). Kalogonis caught seven passes for 89 yards and a score. Canon Flores totaled four catches for 57 yards and Jared Nelson caught two passes for 32 yards.
Sean Powell led the Raider D with 11 tackles, including eight solo stops. Garrett Sayler was in on eight tackles and both Logan Richard and Justin Faber accounted for six tackles. Carter Van Gorp added three tackles and one quarterback sack.
Dordt was led by Keithen Drury with 21 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Lamle rushed for 41 yards completed 9-of-17 passes for two touchdowns and three interceptions. Levi Jungling was the top pass catcher with six receptions for 96 yards and a score.
Northwestern will have its bye next weekend and will play top-ranked Morningside on Oct. 20.