Six-touchdown day for Nebraska Wesleyan quarterback Jonathan Curti comes with school record

Nebraska Wesleyan's Jonathan Curti had 329 yards and a career-high six touchdowns with no interceptions in last Saturday’s 49-35 win over Westminster.

Jonathan Curti’s first start for Nebraska Wesleyan came two years ago, the 2017 season opener.

It didn’t go exactly as planned.

“The first game I started I threw five interceptions,” Curti said. “The first game I started this season, I threw six touchdowns. Things can flip.”

Yes, and things couldn’t have gone much better for Curti to open his senior year. He went 18 of 31 for 329 yards and a career-high six touchdowns with no interceptions in last Saturday’s 49-35 win over Westminster.

To top his day, Curti became Wesleyan’s career leader with 6,080 passing yards. The record was held by Tyler Francis, the Prairie Wolves’ quarterbacks coach the previous four years.

Curti bettered the record on his final pass of the day, a 31-yard touchdown to Derrick Curtis.

“It felt good. It felt better to get the win,” said Curti, who got a congratulatory text from Francis after the game. “Hopefully, that translates to Week 2, Week 3 and so on.”

Sign up for World-Herald news alerts

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Wesleyan hosts Illinois College at 1 p.m. Saturday. A win and the Prairie Wolves, who were 3-7 last season, will be 2-0 for the first time since 2006.

Curtis also had a memorable day last Saturday.

The Lincoln Northeast graduate had six catches for 144 yards, but five of the catches went for touchdowns, breaking his own single-game school record.

“We have a great connection,” Curti said. “In the red zone, he’s a great target.”

Curtis had 32 catches a year ago and is the team’s top returning receiver. With three returning starters on offense, his quarterback is glad to have Curtis on the field.

“They throw a lot during the summer. They spend a lot of time together outside of practice,” Wesleyan coach Brian Keller said. “They have a symbiotic relationship.”

Curti, who has started every game since that 2017 opener, is on track to break more school records. He’s 203 yards away from the total offense record (he has 6,164 yards), 65 from most career completions and 11 from most career touchdown passes.

Being a three-year starter, Curti said he enjoys the leadership that comes with experience, and Keller sees the comfort he has in the offense.

“He’s quick and decisive back there and has a quick release,” Keller said.

Saturday's other midlands matchups

Northwestern (1-0) at Midland (1-0), 1 p.m.: Good early-season GPAC matchup as 11th-ranked Northwestern's Tyson Kooima accounted for four touchdowns in its opener, while Roncalli grad Noah Oswald threw five TD passes in Midland's opener.

Jamestown (0-2) at Hastings (1-0), 1: Hastings rolled up 408 yards of offense in winning its opener, while Jamestown has scored 14 points in two losses.

Benedictine (2-0) at Peru State (0-2), 1: Peru lost by eight to No. 18 Evangel last week. Now the Bobcats face No. 2 Benedictine, which is averaging 59.5 points per game.

Dordt (1-1) at Morningside (1-0), 1: No. 24 Dordt looks to slow No. 1 Morningside, which scored 80 in its opener.

Dakota Wesleyan (1-1) at Briar Cliff (1-1), 1: Pair of 1-1 teams both won last Saturday.

Washburn (1-0) at Northwest Missouri (1-0), 1:30: The Bearcats have won 14 straight games in this series. QB Braden Wright from Elkhorn South threw two TD passes and ran for another in Northwest's win last week.

SW Minnesota State (0-1) at Wayne State (0-1), 6: Wayne freshman QB Andy McCance accounted for 331 yards in last week's loss to Winona State. Wayne's defense held SWSU to 142 yards last year in a 23-14 win.

Concordia (0-1) at Buena Vista (1-0), 6: Concordia lost its opener 17-10 to Doane as it converted one of five trips to the red zone. Buena Vista's offense gained 552 yards in its opener.

Doane (1-1) at Texas A&M-Tarleton State (1-0), 6: Doane rallied to beat Concordia last week, but now the Tigers will face the fifth-ranked team in NCAA Division II.

Colorado-Pueblo (1-0) at Chadron State (1-0), 7: Huge RMAC matchup as Pueblo has won or shared seven of the last eight league titles and is ranked ninth nationally. Chadron scored 48 second-half points last week for a comeback win.