A Fine Nine Leads To Bounce-Back Win At Hamline
ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/19/13)—A year ago Concordia bounced back after a loss by scoring on its first seven possessions against Hamline. The Cobbers did that two better on Saturday as they scored touchdowns on the first nine possessions against the Pipers and rolled to a 63-7 win.
The victory comes one week after a tough loss to Bethel and improves No.24-ranked Concordia's record to 5-1 on the season. The Cobbers are now 3-1 in MIAC play and currently tied for second place in the league standings. Hamline, who beat St. Olaf last week to gain their first conference win since 2009, moves to 2-4 overall and 1-4 in the MIAC.
Perhaps the biggest victory of the game came on the coin toss when Concordia won the flip and head coach Terry Horan elected to receive the ball to try and gain early momentum by posting early points. Horan's plan worked even better than imagined. The Cobbers took the opening kick, drove 48 yards in six plays and came away with a Domenic Fraboni touchdown plunge to go ahead 7-0 at the 11:43 mark of the opening quarter. The TD would be one of three on the day for the bruising fullback.
The move to receive the ball looked even more inspiring when Hamline fumbled the ensuing kickoff and CC went 25 yards in three plays and Alex McLean scored the first of his two touchdowns. The game wasn't even five minutes old and Concordia had a 14-0 lead. That formula mirrored CC's ability to get out of the blocks very quickly in their four previous wins.
The Cobbers defense allowed the Pipers to drive 44 yards and get to the 24-yard line but then came up with a huge sack on a fourth-and-four play and that set up a one-play touchdown drive when CC quarterback Griffin Neal hooked up with senior Matt Peterson on a 70-yard passing play.
Concordia allowed the lone Hamline touchdown of the day on the very next drive but then the Cobbers added three more scores in the second quarter to take a 42-7 lead into the break.
The Cobbers' defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the third quarter and then Fraboni went on a 60-yard scoring scamper to push the lead to 49-0.
Concordia would then add touchdowns on a blocked punt and a short run to finish off the scoring. Junior Dan Berdan blocked the Piper punt and then recovered it in the end zone and then sophomore Ben Schacht scored on a 3-yard TD run. It was the first collegiate touchdown for both players.
The Cobbers finished the day with 481 total offensive yards. Concordia's defense limited the Pipers to just 266 total yards including 87 passing yards. The passing yardage is the lowest of the season by the Pipers.
Concordia's ground game racked up 342 yards. It is a season high for rushing yards and is the first time they have rushed for over 250 yards in a single game. The 300-plus rushing yards pushes the Cobbers to the top of the MIAC for total rushing yards and rushing yards per game.
The Cobbers had five players with at least five carries in the game and four players had at least 35 rushing yards. McLean came away with a team-high 88 rushing yards while Fraboni added 80 yards. Peterson put up 38 rushing yards to go along with 85 receiving yards on two catches. Back-up quarterback Alex Grove entered the game in the second half and ran for 38 yards on 10 carries. He was also 1-for-2 for 11 yards through the air.
Neal started the game, played the first two quarters, and was 7-for-9 for 128 yards and two scoring strikes.
Concordia senior kicker Ben Wagner continued his perfect extra point streak alive. Wagner connected on all nine PAT's and has now made 68 straight extra points. That total is a program record.
Levi Hintermeister and Tyler Berling led the Cobber "Blackshirt" defense. Hintermeister had a team-high 9.0 tackles including 0.5 tackles for a loss. Berling had 8.0 tackles. Junior defensive end Nate Adams had the team's only sack of the afternoon and now has a team-high 5.0 for the season. Tyler E. Hansen and Sam Lastovich had the two forced fumbles for CC while Mitch Tauer and Bryce Hentges came up with the two HU miscues.
Concordia will now host a showdown with Augsburg on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. at Jake Christiansen Stadium. The Auggies are currently 3-2 in conference play and just a single game behind Concordia in the league standings.