MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/29-11)—Concordia gave up 21 unanswered points to No.25-ranked Bethel in the final three quarters and lost 27-13 in Moorhead on Saturday. The Cobbers led 13-6 at the start of the second quarter but were unable to score in the final 44:45 of play and had their four-game winning streak come to an end.
The loss drops the Cobbers' overall record to 6-3 and their mark in the conference to 4-3. The Royals win for the third time in the last four games and move to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in league play.
The game was a tale of two senior quarterbacks as Concordia's Michael Dunham and Bethel's Josh Aakre stole the headlines.
Dunham was the biggest news of the game for Concordia as he broke the school record for career passing yardage in the third quarter. Dunham's 9-yard pass completion to Matt Peterson late in the period pushed him past record-holder Ethan Pole and into the No.1 spot on the school's all-time passing yardage list. Dunham finished the game with 235 passing yards and now has 4,959 career passing yards. He surpassed the mark of 4,889 set by Pole from 1995-98.
Aakre had a hand in all four Bethel touchdowns as he threw for two scores and ran for two others. He finished the day by going 7-for-17 for 192 passing yards and also ran for 35 yards. Aakre made several key plays on third-down situations and inside the Red Zone. He helped BU go 3-for-5 from inside the CC 20-yard line.
The biggest statistical advantage for the Royals came in the turnover department. Bethel did not turn the ball over while the Cobbers committed three miscues – two of which had big impacts on the game. The first turnover of note came late in the second quarter with the Cobbers driving for a potential game-tying score. With the ball at the Bethel 7-yard line, CC fumbled the ball on second-and goal and the Royals were able to recover and head into halftime with a 20-13 lead. It was only the third time all season that Concordia had trailed at the break and all three times they have one on to lose the game. The second tough turnover came late in the third quarter. After the CC defense had forced a three-and-out deep in Royal territory, the ensuing Bethel punt caromed off a Cobber punt return member and BU was able to fall on the ball. Instead of having the ball 1st-and-10 inside Bethel territory, the Concordia defense had to return to the field. The CC defense eventually held Bethel and caused the Royals to turn the ball over on downs but not before they had run off 11 offensive plays and pushed the ball down to the Concordia 22-yard line.
The other big statistical difference came in rushing yardage where Bethel held a 255-113 yard advantage. The Royals also outgained CC in total offensive yards. BU had 447 yards of offense as compared to 348 for the Cobbers.
Concordia won the time of possession battle, holding on to the ball for 31:37. The Cobbers held the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half but then Bethel returned the favor by holding onto the ball for 19:01 in the third and fourth quarters.
Peterson was the main offensive weapon for Concordia. The sophomore running back scored both of the Cobbers' touchdowns. The first one came on a 29-yard pass from Dunham and his second score came on a 58-yard run. He finished the day with a team-high 58 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards. It was the first game of his collegiate career where he eclipsed the 100-yard total offense mark .
Cobber junior fullback Brett Baune was held to only 38 rushing yards and for the first time this season did not score a touchdown. Senior Bronson Shepherd the game as the team's leading receiver. He caught seven passes for 90 yards.
Jesse Phenow ran for a career-high 161 yards on 24 carries for Bethel. He was able to get a big chuck of his yardage after the initial hit. He was also the team's leading receiver as he caught two passes for 25 yards.
One of the other highlights of the day for Concordia came from the play of junior defensive end Paul Streich who added to his league-leading sack total. Streich had 2.0 sacks in the game against an offensive line that had only allowed 5.0 sacks all season long. Matt Moenkedick had a team-high 10.0 tackles for CC. He has now had at least 8.0 tackles in six of the past seven games.
Concordia will have a two-week break before resuming play. The Cobbers have their "bye" weekend next Saturday and will finish off the 2011 season when they play at St. Olaf on Nov. 12. At 1 p.m.