ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (10/30/10)-- Concordia battled No.19-ranked Bethel through three quarters and trailed by only one touchdown, unfortunately the Cobbers ran out of gas in the fourth period and fell 36-20 in Arden Hills on Saturday.
The loss snaps Concordia's three-game winning streak and drops them below the .500 line at 4-5 overall and 3-4 in the MIAC. The Royals rebound from loss against #4 St. Thomas and move to 7-1 in all games and 5-1 in league play.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came with 5:00 gone in the fourth quarter, Concordia was on the Bethel 4-yard line and looked like they were going to cut the lead to one score when the Cobbers fumbled and a Royal defensive player scooped up the ball and rambled 92 yards before being tackled by CC wide receiver Bronson Shepherd. Bethel then scored three plays later to put the game out of reach at 36-14 with 9:12 to play.
Concordia gained 384 total offensive yards against a Royal defense that was only allowing 228.9 yards per game and had held league St. Thomas to only 256 total yards last week. The "thorn in the side" for Concordia on Saturday came in the turnover department. The Cobbers coughed the ball up four times against the Royals and were unable to come up with a turnover on defense.
The other big storyline in the game was the play of senior defensive back Zach Debeltz. Debeltz had 11 tackles at the half and finished with a career-high 17 tackles. That mark is the third highest in Cobber history and most since Brennen Lewis had 21 on Sept. 15, 2007 against the Royals.
Cobber junior quarterback Michael Dunham was 27-for-47 for 272 passing yards. He also had two interceptions in the game. Dunham connected on a 21-yard touchdown strike to freshman running back Trent Johnson midway through the fourth quarter to make the score 36-20. Dunham scored the team's first TD after breaking over from a yard out with 2:26 left in the opening quarter.
Mark Whiting and Shepherd both had six catches each for CC. Whiting had a game-high 80 receiving yards and Shepherd collected 65 receiving yards.
Johnson carried the ball five times for 61 yards and Brett Baune had a team-high eight rushes and scored the other TD for the Cobbers. He plunged over from 1 yard to tie the game at 14-14 at the end of the second quarter.
Besides Debeltz' career day, sophomore linebacker Peter Hvidston had 11 tackles while Reed Hefta came up with Concordia's lone sack of the day.
The Cobbers will have two weeks to prepare for their final game of the 2010 season when they host St. Olaf on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1 p.m.