MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/23/10)-- For the second straight week Concordia used a near-perfect offensive performance in the first half to beat a conference opponent. On Saturday the Cobbers scored on three of their first four possessions and went on to cruise past Hamline 30-3.
The win is Concordia's third straight and brings their record to the .500 mark for the first time this season. The Cobbers are now 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the MIAC.
The recipe for success for the Cobbers the past two weeks has been to get out to a big lead and then have the defense shut down the opponent's offense in obvious passing situations. After Concordia failed to convert on a fourth-down situation on their first possession, CC responded by going on drives of 81, 9 and 59 yards to take a 20-0 lead with 14:22 left in the second quarter. The Cobber defense then forced three turnovers and gave up only 100 total offensive yards in the second half of play.
Concordia rode the right arm of quarterback Michael Dunham to their 20-point lead in the first 16 minutes of play. Dunham went 10-for-11 for 118 yards and threw for two scores in the first quarter. In the first three plays of the second quarter he was 2-for-3 and tossed his third TD of the game. After throwing a perfect strike on a fade route to Bronson Sheperd in the back of the end zone, Dunham had racked up 153 passing yards and had given CC a 20-0 lead. In the last two games, Dunham has gone 27-for-37, thrown for 346 yards and four scores and rushed for three TD's in the first half alone.
Dunham would finish the game with 253 passing yards and was 21-for-32 with three TD's. Shepherd was Dunham's favorite target in the game . He caught a game-high nine passes and ended with 95 receiving yards and a pair of TD receptions. Mike Starke caught the other scoring strike for CC and had three receptions for 35 yards.
The second half was all about defense for the Cobbers. Concordia did not allow a point in the final 30:00 minutes and gave up only 100 total yards. The CC defense came up with interceptions on the first two possessions of the second half and then forced a pair of "three and outs" in the fourth quarter to cement the victory. The Cobbers came up with a game-ending third interception in the final minute of the fourth quarter. Luke Hvidston led the way for Concordia as he picked off a pair of passes and now has four on the season. Guy Rudolph came up with the other INT for the Cobbers. He also finished with a game-high 9.0 tackles in the game.
To put a stamp on the complete-game win, the Cobber special teams had a pair of long punt returns that set up two of the four touchdowns. Senior co-captain Zach Debeltz came up with two returns over 45 yards. He returned a punt in the first quarter 51 yards that set up CC's second score and then nearly took one to the house in the third quarter but was tackled by the last defender after a 47-yard return. That run back set up the only score of the second half.
Debeltz also had 9.0 tackles for the Cobber defense.
Concordia also had four sacks in the game. Nick Baumann had a game-high 1.5 sacks on the day and also had 6.0 tackles.
For the game, the Cobbers had 401 yards of total offense. It is the second straight game they have surpassed the 400-yard mark. CC rushed for 128 yards in the game and is averaging 203.0 rushing yards in their three straight wins. The Pipers were limited to only 37 rushing yards and 207 total yards. It is the second straight game they have held their opponent to under 40 yards in rushing and 260 yards in total offense.
The Cobbers will put their three-game winning streak on the line when they face nationally ranked Bethel on Saturday, Oct. 30 in Arden Hills.