Game 3 Preview: St. Olaf at Concordia

Game 3 Preview: St. Olaf at Concordia


Last Week:
For the second straight game of the season, Concordia scored on its' opening possession of the game and went on to record a non-conference win. The Cobbers received an 85-yard TD pass from Griffin Neal to Brandon Zylstra on the fourth play of their first drive and hung on for a 21-13 victory at Buena Vista.

The Beavers tied the game late in the first quarter but then a 3-play 60-yard drive at the very end of the opening period gave CC the lead for good. The Cobbers were outgained 389-361 in total offensive yards for the game but held a 214-123 edge in rushing yards which led to a 22-second margin in time of possession.

Concordia received two huge performances from a pair of transfers. Zylstra, who transferred from Augustana (S.D.) opened the scoring for CC with the 85-yard scoring pass and finished with 122 receiving yards. Defensive lineman Nate Adams transferred from Bemidji State and recorded a game-high 9.0 tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.

St. Olaf was outscored 13-3 in the second half at Luther and lost 20-13 to the Norse. The Oles had 294 offensive yards and limited Luther to 262 yards but turned the ball over five times and lost for the first time in 2013. The game actually featured nine turnovers and came down to the final six minutes of play. Luther took advantage of a "short" field and ran one play for a 20-yard game-winning TD run.

Ole quarterback Nate Penz was 19-for-30 for 250 yards and wideout Stephen Asp caught a game-high five passes for 76 yards.  

Pick 6 - 6 Items To Help You Take It To The House:
The Troll Bowl - aka "Lefse Bowl"
The game between Concordia and St. Olaf started out as the Lefse Bowl in the 60's and early 70's but then morphed into the Troll Bowl in the late 70's and beyond. The winner of Saturday's game gets to keep the nation's ugliest rivalry trophy. The trophy is a troll standing on a piece of wood. To find out more about the trophy and Lefse Bowl history click on the link below.

Fargo Forum feature on the Troll Trophy

2. Concordia has won three of the past four "Lefse Bowl" games. The last time the game was played in Moorhead was 2010 and CC won 24-21 in an overtime thriller. The Cobbers are 6-4 against St. Olaf in the last 10 games played at "The Jake". The longest win streak for either team happened at the very beginning where the Oles won the first six games.     

3. Fans of tight games, lots of offense and bushels full of points are sure to enjoy today's game. To start with, five of the last six games between Concordia and St. Olaf have been decided by 14 or fewer points and the last time the teams played in Moorhead the contest was settled in overtime. On top of that, the teams have combined to score an average of 63.2 points in the last 10 games. That stretch included a 52-51 win for the Oles at St. Olaf in 2007. That game featured a crisp 994 yards of total offense and 152 offensive plays. To put that into perspective, last week Concordia and Buena Vista combined to put up 750 total offensive yards and ran 135 total plays. Also in six of the past 10 meetings, the winning team has scored at least 45 points. Buckle your chin straps!                                    

4. A pair of Cobber junior newcomers made a huge impact last weekend. On defense it was Nate Adams who transferred from Bemidji State and on offense it was Brandon Zylstra who went to Augustana (S.D.) last year. Adams had a game-high 9.0 tackles, 2.5 sacks and recovered a fumble in Concordia's 21-13 win at Buena Vista. He is currently second in the MIAC in sacks and sixth in total tackles. Zylstra has posted back-to-back 100-yard receiving games in his first two contests in maroon and gold. He scored on the Cobbers' fourth play from scrimmage against the Beavers when he caught an 85-yard TD pass. He finished with 122 receiving yards and leads the MIAC in receiving yards, receiving TD's and yards per catch.     

5. The biggest key to today's game will be a battle between groups of seniors. The Concordia all-senior defensive backfield of Pedro Peterson, Bryce Hentges, Nathan Boie and Kenyon O'Brien against the St. Olaf  senior receiving tandem of Jake Schmieising and Stephen Asp. The Cobber pass defense is currently seventh in the MIAC, allowing 228.5 yards per game while the St. Olaf pass offense is fourth in the conference at 257.5 ypg. Schmiesing and Asp are arguably the best 1-2 duo in the league and are currently averaging a combined 172.5 yards per game and have caught a total of 23 passes. The pair is a part of a four wide receiver system that will test the Concordia secondary the entire day.

6. The Wagner Watch continues. Cobber senior kicker Ben Wagner continues his streak of perfection on extra points. Wagner was a perfect 44-for-44 on extra points last season and is 7-for-7 this season. That brings his two-season streak to 51 straight PAT's. That is officially over one-third of the way to the DIII record of 142. 

7. Just like Wagner and his ability to convert on extra points, the Gameday Staff offers this successful seventh point. The game between the Cobbers and Oles is the conference opener for both schools. Concordia is 5-5 in its last 10 MIAC openers. Unfortunately CC is 1-4 at home in that stretch and 1-2 when the conference opener is on Family Weekend. The most memorable conference opener at "The Jake" came in 2007 when the Cobbers lost a 48-45 heartbreaker in triple overtime against Bethel. St. Olaf can "one up" or more like "three up" that triple OT thriller with a six overtime conference opener back in 2008 when they beat St. Thomas 29-23. Like CC, the Oles are also 5-5 in their last 10 MIAC openers but have lost four straight conference first games.      

Last Year:
Last year Concordia racked up 293 rushing yards and beat St. Olaf 28-14. The Cobbers raced to a 28-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter before the Oles scored a pair of TD's less than three minutes apart to get the score to 28-14.

Concordia, who scored seven points in each of the four quarters, held the ball for 36:48 and put up 59 rushing attempts on the day. The Cobbers outgained the Oles 447-175 in total offense and had 32 more offensive plays in the game.

Brett Baune was the biggest offensive threat for CC. He finished with 144 rushing yards on 22 carries and had one TD. Concordia's defense limited the Oles offense to just 19 rushing yards and less than 200 total offensive yards on the day. St. Olaf entered the afternoon averaging over 350 offensive yards per game.

Concordia was able to pressure All-Conference quarterback Dan Dobson all day long. The Cobbers finished the game with 4.0 sacks and 6.0 tackles for a loss.

Cobbers vs. Oles Series History:
Cobbers lead 36-25-2

Last 10 Meetings
Year Score
2003 St. Olaf 14 at Concordia 47
2004 Concordia 50 at St. Olaf 7
2005 St. Olaf 35 at Concordia 49
2006 St. Olaf 49 at Concordia 14
2007 Concordia 51 at St. Olaf 52
2008 St. Olaf 28 at Concordia 25
2009 Concordia 17 at St. Olaf 14
2010 St. Olaf 21 at Concordia 24 OT
2011 Concordia 34 at St. Olaf 49
2012 Concordia 28 at St. Olaf 14