MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/26/13)—Concordia used 27 straight points in the first half and a near perfect passing day from quarterback Griffin Neal to beat Augsburg 47-20 and become only the fourth Minnesota college to reach 500 career wins as a program.
The Cobbers join the select company of the University of Minnesota, St. John's and St. Thomas as Minnesota programs to reach the prestigious 500-win plateau. Concordia is now 500-287-38 in their 96th season of play. CC is now 6-1 in 2013 and 4-1 in league play. The Cobbers are currently tied for second place in the league standings.
The game against Augsburg deviated from the first six games of the season. In the previous six games, whichever team scored first, went on to win the game. That storyline came to an end on Saturday as the Auggies scored the first touchdown of the game before Concordia seized control by scoring 27 consecutive points from the final minute of the first quarter to the 4:31 mark of the second quarter.
The catalyst behind Concordia's 27-point rally and eventual 27-point victory was Neal. He was 19-for-21 for 281 passing yards and had four TD tosses. It is the second time this season he has thrown for over 250 yards.
Neal completed passes to six different receivers and three CC players came away with at least one touchdown catch and five overall receptions. Brandon Zylstra caught a 47-yard TD pass at the start of the second quarter and finished with five catches for 86 yards. Mark Whiting started slow but then had five catches for 86 yards and hauled in a pair of TD strikes. Jon Baune was the third member of the five-catch trio. He caught a 26-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and had 69 receiving yards.
In addition to his 281 yards through the air, Neal also ran the ball a game-high 19 times for 43 yards. He was a part of a Cobber ground game that ran the ball 39 times and gained 149 yards. Junior fullback Domenic Fraboni rambled 36 yards for a score in the second quarter and had a team-high 60 rushing yards. It is the second straight week that Fraboni has had a long TD run.
The Cobber defense came up with many big plays in the game and limited the Auggies to just 20 points on the day. That is the second lowest point total of the year for Augsburg. The CC "Blackshirt" defense also contained the Auggie offense to 380 total yards. Augsburg entered the game averaging 463.0 yards per game.
The biggest impact from the Cobber defense came in forcing turnovers. Concordia forced four turnovers on the day including three interceptions. The three picks were a combination effort. The CC secondary blanketed the Auggie receivers while the Concordia defensive front 7 was able to get pressure on Augsburg quarterback Ayrton Scott. CC sacked Scott on one occasion but chased the sophomore signal caller all over the field. The Cobbers were also able to tip several passes around the line of scrimmage and had seven pass breakups in the game.
Nate Adams recorded his league-leading sixth sack of the season. Kenyon O' Brien, Tyler Hanson and Mitch Tauer had the three Concordia interceptions. O'Brien now has four "picks" on the season which is second best in the MIAC.
Cobber senior linebacker Tyler Berling had a team-high 11 tackles on the day. He also forced a fumble and had a tackle for a loss. Erik Bye had eight total tackles and had one pass break up.
Concordia kicker Ben Wagner had 11 total points on the day and now leads the team in scoring with 47 points. He was 2-for-3 in field goal attempts and 5-for-5 in extra point tries. Wagner has now connected on 73 straight extra point attempts which is just 11 shy of the MIAC record.
The Cobbers will now head out on the road for two straight weeks. Concordia will play at Carleton on the first Saturday in November and then play at defending MIAC champion St. Thomas on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1:10 p.m.