DWU football gameday: Tigers get started with rival Dakota State under the lights

Aug. 25—MITCHELL — A fresh start and a big opportunity awaits the Dakota Wesleyan University football team on Saturday night, as they will host Dakota State for a season-opening matchup.

Here's what to know ahead of DWU's season debut:

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Joe Quintal Field.

Records (last year): DWU 3-8; DSU 6-4.

Coaches: DWU's Ross Cimpl, 59-59, 12th season; DSU's Josh Anderson, 57-92, 15th season.

All-time series: DWU leads 39-36.

Last meeting: Dakota State won 29-19 on Aug. 25, 2022 in Madison for the Trojans' sixth consecutive win in the series.

Notes: Tickets are $10 for adults and $3 for grades K-12. DWU students are free. ... The game will be televised on the Midco Sports Network.

About the Tigers: The Tigers offense ranked in the middle of the GPAC in yards per game in 2022 (sixth in rushing, seventh in passing) but looks to cash in on more offensive possessions to raise the 17.9 points per game it averaged last season. ... DWU returns first-team all-GPAC pick Jamin Arend, who rushed for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and combined with Garrett Mandolfo, DWU returns more than 1,500 rushing yards from 2022. ... Adam DeJong was a first-team all-GPAC player and got first-team All-America attention from the American Football Coaches Association after intercepting seven passes and running three back for touchdowns last season. ... Also back for DWU from the GPAC honorable mention squads last season is defensive lineman Ethan Engen and wide receiver Kiel Nelson. ... Defensively, DWU brings back 10 of its top-11 tacklers from last season, including linebackers Layton Eide and Grayson Hanson. ... The Tigers will debut their throwback Wesley the Tiger logo on Saturday night on their helmets. ... Saturday's game is one of two night games the Tigers have this season, including a 6 p.m. Sept. 30 contest at Mount Marty.

About the Trojans: DSU finished the season with four wins in its last five games in 2022 for a second-straight winning season. ... The Trojans' leading rusher was Tyce Ortman, a Canistota native, who returns for his junior season after scoring six touchdowns last season. ... Gregory product J.J. Beck, now a senior, is one of five all-conference returners for the Trojans after making 101 tackles at linebacker. ... With the closure of North Star Athletic Association schools Presentation and Iowa Wesleyan, DSU will play every member in their conference twice this season, home and away. ... Dakota State last season played in a number of low-scoring games, averaging 19.7 points per contest and allowing 20.5 per game.

Next: For DWU, the Tigers stay home to take on Hastings on Sept. 2 to open GPAC play, while Dakota State has a short week to host Wisconsin-La Crosse on Thursday, Aug. 31.

Other GPAC action this weekend:

Saturday, Aug. 26

No. 4 Morningside at No. 7 Benedictine (Kan.), 1 p.m.

Doane at Graceland (Iowa), 1 p.m.

Midland at Clarke (Iowa), 1 p.m.

Culver-Stockton (Mo.) at Mount Marty, 5 p.m.

Hastings at Peru State (Neb.), 6 p.m.

Briar Cliff at Waldorf (Iowa), 6 p.m.