Tabor shuts out Nebraska Wesleyan, 36-0, in season opener

Tabor quarterback Simon McKee rushes for positive yardage in the third quarter during Tabor?s final scoring drive. McKee led the Bluejays in rushing with 17 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown.The Tabor College football team?s first outing of the 2014 season proved to be a successful and well-rounded one, as the Bluejays drummed visiting Nebraska Wesleyan, 36-0.

Leading Tabor?s powerful offensive attack?which put up 516 yards of total offense, compared with only 188 for NWU?was Bluejay quarterback Simon McKee.

The senior led the team in rushing as well as passing, accounting for 91 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and completing 8-of-12 passes for all 119 of Tabor?s passing yards and a score. NWU, meanwhile, managed 151 passing yards and 37 rushing yards.

It was a defensive effort as well for the Bluejays. Right from the start, Tabor held the Prairie Wolves to a field goal attempt from the Bluejay 11-yard line on the game?s opening drive. The kick hit the left upright and fell incomplete.

After a Tabor punt on its opening drive, Matt McElroy intercepted NWU quarterback Tyler Francis five plays into the drive. That led to Tabor?s first score, when D?Marco Smith punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to cap a five-play, 28-yard drive. Jared Slavens? kick made it 7-0 with 8:15 left in the opening quarter.

The Bluejays found the end zone a second time at the end of the first quarter on a 29-yard strike from McKee to Cody Coleman. The drive covered 88 yards in 13 plays. Slavens? kick was no good, extending Tabor?s lead to 13-0.

After the teams traded punts, the Prairie Wolves advanced to the Tabor 8-yard line and again threatened to score, but the Bluejay defense held, and a second NWU field goal attempt missed its mark.

The Bluejays, however, scored on their next two possessions. Tabor punched in a quick score in two plays thanks to a 39-yard run by Owen Cole that set up a 41-yard touchdown dash by Coleman. Slavens? kick missed its mark, but Tabor led 19-0.

The Bluejays extended the lead to 22-0 on a 29-yard field goal by Slavens, a margin that held to halftime.

After intermission, Donnell Davis forced and recovered a fumble on a Tabor punt to put the ball back in the hands of McKee and the Bluejays. Four plays later, Tabor was in the end zone again, this time on an 8-yard keeper by McKee. Slavens? kick extended the lead to 29-0.

The Bluejays added their final touchdown of the day on their next possession when Ben Bebermeyer found the end zone for an 18-yard score. Slavens? kick put the Bluejays in front, 36-0, with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

That capped scoring for the day. The Prairie Wolves netted only 12 yards of offense in the final quarter, and Tabor consumed the clock to preserve the lead and the win.

Coming?Tabor will travel to No. 7 Missouri Valley College Saturday for a 6 p.m. game in what will be the Vikings? season-opener.

For updated scores during Tabor football games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13

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