The Northwestern College football team will be looking for a return trip to the national playoffs this season. The Red Raiders have plenty of experienced players returning from last year’s team that finished 9-3 and lost to eventual national champion Marian of Indiana in the opening round of the NAIA playoffs.
It was their first post-season appearance since 2006. Northwestern coach Kyle Achterhoff says they lost some tremendous players last year and have many of the holes to fill are up front on both sides of the ball. The Red Raiders lost three starters on the offensive line.
The key for this season may be the play of a defense that limited opponents to less than 17 points per game and a 29 percent conversion rate on third down last season. “We do play a very aggressive style of defense, so you are going to give up some plays now and then,” Achterhoff says. He says if they can play well on third down and get the team off the field, that will bode well for them.
Northwestern is ranked 13th nationally and is picked to finish second in an always tough Great Plains Athletic Conference race. He says Morningside is obviously the favorite in the league, but other teams have a lot of guys returning and every week should be competitive.
Northwestern opens on September seventh with a visit to Bacone College of Oklahoma.