Mark Adkins, Sports Information Director
SIOUX CITY – Connor Niles has caught a lot of touchdown passes.
None may mean more than a 30-yard toss early in the third quarter against Concordia University Saturday, Oct. 27. As the Sioux City native cleared the Bulldog defensive backfield and dove past the pylon into the east end zone at Elwood Olsen Stadium on a warm fall day, it marked the 60th time he’d hauled in a pay dirt pass. That number moved him past Southwest Minnesota State’s Alvin Ashley as the career scoring reception leader for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Niles’ 12-catch, 149-yard, two touchdown afternoon, in front of an appreciative crowd of home fans, also saw the senior tie former MC standouts Trae Johnson and Kyle Schuck for the single-season touchdown catch mark (21). His classmate and Dakota Dunes, S.D. native Trent Solsma, as has been the case throughout 2018, found holes in the opposing defense to the tune of 301 yards on 29 of 37 passing which included five scores, as head coach Steve Ryan’s team continued its unbeaten march with a 49-0 Great Plains Athletic Conference win over Concordia.
The Mustangs’ highlights didn’t stop with the terrific air duo. Sophomore running back Arjinae “AP” Ponder (Omaha, Neb.) reeled off his fifth straight 100-yard rushing effort with 19 carries for 121 yards as goes into the Maroon and White’s regular season home finale only 82 yards shy of 1,000; senior placekicker Jared Amundson (Sioux City, Iowa) connected successfully on seven extra point tries to push his conversion string to 119 in a row; and the defensive tandem of sophomore defensive lineman Nikolas Gustav (Hamburg, Germany) and senior defensive back Xavier Spann (Lakeland, Fla.) led an aggressive and opportunistic defense that turned over the visitors twice, picked up six sacks and surrendered only 26 yards of Bulldog total offense, as Gustav recorded seven tackles and one sack, and Spann finished with six tackles, an interception, forced a fumble and registered a break-up.
MC, moving to 9-0 overall and 7-0 in the GPAC, stretched its current conference win streak to 31 in a row and regular season victory skein to 27. They welcome Dordt College Saturday, Nov. 3, for a 1 p.m. kickoff which features a salute to seniors in the program along with the cheerleading and dance teams and marching band.