Perfect Start Fades Away In Loss To Gustavus
MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/02/10)-- Saturday started on a perfect note for Concordia. The annual Homecoming game was met by sunny skies and mild temperatures and a crowd of close to 6,000 packed into Jake Christiansen Stadium to watch another tough MIAC contest. The Cobbers then kept the spirits high by opening the game against Gustavus with an 11-play, 73 yard drive that finished in a Michael Dunham to Bronson Shepherd 2-yard touchdown pass.
Unfortunately for Concordia the game isn't determined by the first team to score. Unable to build on the opening-drive momentum, the Cobbers allowed 28 consecutive points and fell to the Gusties 38-14. The loss is the third straight for Concordia and drops their overall record to 1-4 on the year. CC is now 0-3 in MIAC play. Concordia has alos lost three straight Homecoming games. Gustavus earns their first league win of the season and moves to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
After the Cobbers marched down the field to take a 7-0 lead, Gustavus came up with one of the biggest possessions of the game as they answered with a 14-play, 61 yard scoring drive that featured a pair of fourth-down conversions.
From there the game would revolve around a key Cobber turnover and a defense that was unable to come up with critical fourth-down stops. Both teams were unable to score in their next two drives. After the Gusties were forced to punt with 5:27 left in the first half, a muffed punt return resulted in the go-ahead score for Gustavus. The Gusties took over on the Concordia 19-yard line after the miscue and needed only one play to take a 14-7 lead.
Concordia then went three-and-out on their next drive and the Gusties finished off the half by scoring their third straight touchdown with just :02 remaining in the second quarter. GAC then bookended the halftime break by opening the third quarter with a 7-play, 73-yard drive.
The Cobber offense tried to stay close and came up with a big opening-half drive. Dunham led the offense on an 8-play drive that featured pass completions of 21, 15, 13 and 19 yards. He also scampered for 14 yards after being flushed out of the pocket. His final strike of 19 yards found the hands of Zach Weller who scored his team-leading fourth touchdown of the season. The Weller TD brought CC within two scores at 28-14 and had the crowd of 5,819 hoping for a Cobber comeback.
Their hopes were quickly dashed on the next drive as Gustavus once again pushed their lead to 24 points by running off 4:56 and scoring on a 27-yard pass from Jordan Becker to Cody Sukalski.
The Gusties capped off the scoring by holding onto the ball for 5:19 on a drive that covered 60 yards and resulted in a 19-yard field goal by Tom Huepenbecke.
For the game, the Gusties were 5-for-7 on fourth down attempts and held the ball for an even 25:00 in their six scoring drives. Overall GAC had a 38:14-21:246 advantage in time of possession.
Dunham shook off a sprained ankle to post another 250-plus yard passing game. He was 20-for-38 for 271 yards and two TD's. He did not throw an interception and has now passed for over 250 yards in his last two games and has a 4-1 TD to interception ration during that time. Senior Ben SaariBovre led the team in rushing on his birthday. He had 43 yards on eight carries. Shepherd hauled in a team-high seven catches for a game-high 93 yards.
Gustavus was led by Becker and running back Jeffrey Dubose. Becker was 21-for-29 for 256 yards and two TD's while Dubose rushed for 107 yards on 28 carries. The pair combined for 363 of the team's 403 total offensive yards. Muresuk Mena caught eight passes for 59 yards.
The Cobber defense was led by Guy Rudolph and Zach Debeltz who both came away with 10 tackles in the game. Linebacker Dustin Kammerer had a game-high 11 tackles to help the Gustie defense.
Concordia will try and put an end to their losing skid when they host Carleton on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m.