(1) Mustang football enters Morningside homecoming as the top team in the country for the second week straight as they prepare to face Doane on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1:30 p.m.
Morningside has an overall record of 14-2 against Doane since 2002. Morningside’s last victory over Doane was 41-10 in Crete, Neb. last November. Doane last topped Morningside in 2014 after scoring a touchdown in the final minute of play to defeat the Mustangs 49-48 in Crete.
Doane enters the contest with an overall record of 3-2, 2-2 in the GPAC. The Tigers lost their last two games, falling 19-22 against Hastings last week and losing 25-28 to Northwestern two weeks ago. Their wins came against Friends (57-3), Dordt (24-21), and Jamestown (44-13).
Doane’s defense has been stingy throughout the season. The Tigers currently rank in the top 15 for scoring defense (17.4 points per game), passing yards allowed (149.6 yards per game), and sacks (3.0). The secondary defense has generated seven interceptions in five games. Piloting the defensive effort for the Tigers are Chayton Crow and Nathan Williams. Crow leads the Tigers in tackles with 39 and Williams has posted three sacks.
On offense, the Tigers have taken a by-committee approach. Doane quarterback Jack Kalina has a completion percentage on the season of 61 percent and has 12 touchdowns to only four interceptions, averaging 217.4 yards of passing per game.
Morningside remains unbeaten after a win against Midland last Saturday, moving to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play. Morningside ranks first in the nation in total offense, accumulating 3,602 yards in six contests for an average of 600.3 yards per game. They are also first in the nation for passing offense, averaging 431.3 yards per game. The Mustangs rank second behind Kansas Wesleyan in scoring offense (58.0), fifth in the nation for total defense (240.5), and sixth in scoring defense (12.0). The team’s victories have come by scores of 77-21 over Midland, 65-0 over Hastings, 56-O over Briar Cliff, 66-13 over Dakota Wesleyan, 35-17 over Truman State, and 49-21 over William Penn.
Trent Solsma continues to lead the Mustangs offense, ranking first in the nation for passing offense (412.2 yards per game) and total offense (403 yards per game), passing for 2,473 yards and 32 touchdowns in total for the season,
A continued favorite target for Solsma, Connor Niles has tallied 16 touchdowns, 63 receptions and 1,224 receiving yards for the season, with 307 coming during last Saturday’s contest against Midland to set a new Morningside single game receiving record.
Several other Mustangs have been key to the Mustang offense. Arnijae Ponder leads the Mustangs in rushing with an average of 96.8 yards per game and has nine touchdowns total. Bo Els has 412 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Reid Jurgensmeier has 307 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
The Mustangs defense has also been stingy, pitching two straight shutouts earlier in the season and limiting their opposition to an average of just 12 points a game. They have also accumulated eight interceptions and 13 sacks. Joel Katzer leads the team in tackles with 46 along with one sack. Jacob Katzer and Klayton Nordeen each have 42 tackles, and Katzer has 1.5 sacks. Chase Nelson has 27 tackles and leads the team in sacks with three. Deion Clayborne has 25 tackles, Niklas Gustav has 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and Seth Maitlen has 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Saturday’s game is part of Morningside’s homecoming week festivities. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. at Elwood Olsen Stadium. New inductees into the M-Club Hall of Fame will be recognized at halftime, and the college’s annual Taste of Morningside event will be hosted at Mason Family Tennis Complex after the game.