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Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan returns one of the most experienced group of players for the 2013 season with 10 starters back on offense and eight on defense. Tyler Francis returns to engineer the offense after playing in eight games last season. He will need to be more efficient if the offense is going to be as good as it can be. Francis completed nearly 60 percent of his passes last season but threw four interceptions to just seven touchdowns. If the passing game can improve for NWU it will open up room for Dustin Bryant, last year’s leading rusher. Bryant had almost half the Prairie Wolves rushing attempts last season and figures to get a heavy workload this season. With some experienced linemen paving the way his 63 yards per game should see an increase.

Defensively, the Prairie Wolves will miss the services of linebacker Brett Kaczor who had 30 more tackles than anyone else on the defensive unit. Seth Wardyn, Brandon Reeves and Phil Latmier look to give the Nebraska Wesleyan defense the leadership it needs to be successful. Nebraska Wesleyan had the second best defense in the conference last season (273.8 ypg) and the third best scoring defense (17.4 ppg). With the returning experience the Prairie Wolves should feel confident that it can once again have a defensive unit that will keep them in many games. 

Thoughts: Nebraska Wesleyan had an extremely challenging stretch of games last year to open conference play. After playing Midland to start league play the Prairie Wolves had Morningside, Doane and Northwestern in order. This year the challenge is very similar. After a non-conference home game against Tabor the Prairie Wolves will travel to Morningside, host Briar Cliff, head to Orange City and return home for Doane. Nebraska Wesleyan needs to get its offense going early and “steal” one of the three games against the top-tier teams. This could be a seven or eight win season for the team in Lincoln.