/seasons/2018/contrib/201809096v1w3i

Cougars Come Back But Can't Catch Comets

More news about: Concordia-Chicago

Sept. 8, 2018 - After a complete win against Beloit College on Opening Weekend, the Concordia-Chicago Cougars looked to make it a 2-0 start as they traveled to Michigan to take on Olivet College. Unlike last week, however, the Cougars were unable to get off to a commanding start. That would be the Comets, playing their home opener on a cool late-summer afternoon as they took a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Although CUC got up off the mat and fought back to make it a game, they were never able to overtake the home team, and Olivet pulled away to a 52-25 victory.

Olivet took the opening kickoff and marched downfield, but the CUC defense rose to the occasion and made a big fourth-down stop, Abdul-Haleem Ajibola hauling down the ball carrier a yard short of moving the chains. Concordia-Chicago then moved the ball the opposite way, but a false start penalty in Comets' territory stalled the drive, and the Cougars had to punt the ball away. Olivet then made good on their second drive, going 91 yards in 12 plays. The Comets went for it on fourth down at the 10, and a pass to the right corner of the end zone was on target to make the score 7-0.

The Cougars went three-and-out on their next few possessions, and the Comets continued to gather momentum. They would extend the lead, first behind a field goal and later a Lane Porter 15-yard pass to Nick Thomas. The home team led 17-0 early in the second quarter and appeared to have all the momentum on their side.

It took just one play following the kickoff to change things. Freshman Jordan Sepulveda worked a little "deja vu" from last week, taking the snap and taking off down field, finding lots of real estate in front of him. By the time the Comets' defense caught up to him, he had motored 65 yards to the OC 10. Lance Moise then carried the next three plays, the third from two yards out for Concordia-Chicago's first score.

The defense got the ball back for the Cougars when Jeshua Torrens and Ajibola teamed up on a fourth=down sack. The Cougars then ran it down the Comet defense's throat with Moise carrying six times on the 63-yard drive. He had a long of 39 yards on the drive, and his run from two yards out brought the Cougars closer at 17-13 (extra point blocked).

Just as CUC seemed to have everything going their way, Olivet quickly seized momentum back after the kickoff. Porter dropped back and threw a perfect strike deep down the middle in stride to Jacob Jodway. The quick score restored Olivet's lead to two scores at 24-13.

Unfazed, the Cougars' offense took the field again and put together a nice scoring drive to end the half. This time, it was Tylor Martens providing solid running with 36 yards on his first two carries. Sepulveda moved CUC inside the red zone and on fourth down, he hit Robert Dominguez from four yards out to pull Concordia-Chicago to within 24-19 after 30 minutes.

Receiving the second-half kickoff, the hope was that CUC could keep its offensive rhythm going and take their first lead of the game. The opposite became the reality as the Cougars went three-and-out, and the Comets capitalized. Olivet's ground game would be the story of the second half, starting on this drive as running backs Matthew Ellis and Jamaul Martin would cover the entire 47 yards (Martin scoring from four yards out).

Trailing 31-19, the Cougars would battle back to pull within a score. A 10-yard pass from Sepulveda to Corey Dooley, followed by a 51-yard run by Moise, set CUC up in Olivet territory once again. Two plays later, Sepulveda found Eric Hoff from eight yards out on a nice inside route, and the Cougars trailed by just 31-25. 

Unfortunately, that would be all the scoring for the visitors. Olivet continued to pound the ball on the ground, scoring on a pair of 70-yard drives. The Comets also took advantage of a blocked punt, needing just two plays to punch it in from 10 yards out.

The final stats showed the Comets with 579 yards on 83 offensive plays to the Cougars' 393 on 63 plays. Olivet's double-barreled ground attack did most of the damage, with Ellis rushing for 181 yards on 20 carries and Martin 151 on 26. Porter passed for 250 yards on 22 of 28, with Jodway catching four balls for 99 yards. Most importantly, Olivet committed no turnovers.

For the Cougars, Moise followed up last week's award-winning performance with 147 yards on 19 carries, leading a ground game that amassed 284 yards on 34 carries. Three CUC quarterbacks - Griffin Beaudette, Sepulveda and Rob Granquist - saw action in this game, and they combined for 12 of 29 for 109 yards. There was one interception, and the Cougars also lost the ball on a fumble in the final minute of play.

On defense, Rodolfo Payan played another strong game with 14 tackles (eight solo) while Thaddous Daniel Jr. had 10 tackles (six solo).

The Cougars (1-1) will return home to host Albion College for their final non-conference game of 2018. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. next Saturday, Sept. 15 from Concordia Stadium.

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1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

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