Defense Rules The Day In Top 25 Showdown
MOORHEAD, Minn. (11/03/12)—In a game that featured two of the highest scoring offense in the MIAC, it was the defense units that stole the show as No.16-ranked Concordia fell 21-7 to No.3-ranked St. Thomas. The 21 points scored by the Tommies are the fewest they have put on the board all season long.
Unfortunately for the Cobbers, as good as its defense was, the Tommies were even better. St. Thomas held Concordia to their lowest point total of the season and lowest total offensive yardage output. Concordia was held to only 272 total offensive yards, only the second time this season they have been held under 300 yards on offense. The only other time came in their loss at Bethel.
The loss extinguishes the Cobbers' MIAC title hopes. Concordia is now 5-2 in conference play and 7-2 overall. CC is tied for second place in the league standings with St. Olaf and still cling to NCAA playoff hopes depending on the outcome of next week's games. With the win St. Thomas clinches the MIAC championship and remains unbeaten at 7-0 in the conference and 9-0 in all games.
The turning point of the game came towards the end of the third quarter. Concordia was trailing 14-0 but was driving and deep in Tommie territory. The Cobbers faced a fourth-and-10 situation from the UST 20-yard line and instead of kicking a field goal, they decided to go for the first down. CC quarterback Griffin Neal was then sacked on the following play and St. Thomas was able to take over at the Concordia 38-yard-line. The Tommies then went 62 yards in five plays to put the game out of reach.
Concordia would score their only TD of the game in the fourth quarterback after Neal left the game with an injury. Mitch Tauer was able to lead the Cobbers on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a Brett Baune 2-yard run. It was Baune's 10th TD of the season and 31st of his career. He now needs two more to tie the all-time Cobber career record of 33 held by current head coach Terry Horan.
Cobber junior kicker Ben Wagner continued his perfect eaxtra-point season on the conversion. Wagner finished off the scoring for the game and is now 42-for-42 on point after kicks.
Baune finished the day with a game-high 89 rushing yards. The senior fullback led the Concordia offense to 154 rushing yards on the day. It is the most rushing yards allowed by the St. Thomas defense this season. The Cobbers finished with 118 passing yards and 272 yards of total offense.
Neal went 10-for-22 on the day and had 71 passing yards. Tauer was 7-for-14 in his one quarter of action and finished with 47 passing yards.
Chris Gilson had a game-high six receptions for 44 yards.
Both teams had multiple turnovers. The Cobbers fumbled the ball twice while the Tommies had one fumble and one interception.
Matt Moenkedick led the Cobber defense that held the Tommie to under 400 offensive yards for only the second time this season. Moenkedick had a game-high 11 tackles. Jordan Doschadis had 1.5 sacks and recovered a fumble and Bryce Hentges had the team's lone interception.
The Cobbers will finish off the regular season by playing at Gustavus on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. If Concordia wins and Bethel loses to St. John's then CC will finish in second place in the MIAC and have a chance at an at-large bid for the NCAA playoffs.