Game 5 Preview: #5 Bethel at #22 Concordia

Last Week:
Concordia had a bye last week. Before last weekend, the Cobbers posted a big 24-14 win over nationally ranked St. John's in Collegeville on Sept. 28. The win over the Johnnies was the second straight for CC marking the first time since 1980-81 that Concordia has recorded back-to-back wins over SJU.

The victory at St. John's followed a familiar theme for Concordia as they struck quickly and forced their opponent to chase the game. The Cobbers scored on their very first possession for the third time in four games in 2013. Concordia received the opening kick and then marched 61 yards in three plays for the first score of the game. The two big plays came on hook ups from Griffin Neal to Jon Baune. Neal connected with Baune on the first play of the game for a 25-yard gain and then finished off the short drive with a 35-yard TD pass to Baune.

The Cobbers then forced a 3-and-out and Neal proceeded to march the Cobbers down the field for the second score. Concordia drove the ball 63 yards in six plays and took a 14-0 lead with 10:28 left in the first quarter. The second score was set up by a 38-yard pass from Neal to Mark Whiting and Cooper Gauldin finished off the drive with a 1-yard run.

Concordia held a 427-328 edge in total offensive yards. The Cobbers also had a decided 241-86 margin in rushing yards. The biggest statistical advantage on the day came in time of possession. CC was able to use the rushing yard advantage to grind out 36:44 in time of possession.

Concordia vs. St. John's Game Recap

Bethel held off a late charge from Augsburg to beat the previously unbeaten Auggies 31-28. The Royals rolled to a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter before Augsburg started their late-game comeback attempt.

Bethel finished the game with 23 first downs and 401 yards of total offense. Erik Peterson finished the day 18-of-26 with 216 yards passing, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. Peterson found eight different receivers, including Jay Hilbrands, who caught three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown and Reese Walker, who caught the 23-yard touchdown in the second drive of the game.

Marshall Klitzke led all rushers with 109 yards and a touchdown, while Brandon Marquardt carried the ball 13 times for 67 yards. Augsburg's Ayrton Scott rushed for 90 yards, while throwing for 186 on 19-of-27 passing with two interceptions.

Bethel vs. Augsburg Game Recap

 

Pick 6 - 6 Items To Help You Take It To The House:

- Cobber GameDay Feature On Captain Ben Tamm


1.
Homecoming 2013! Saturday's game is the annual Homecoming contest for Concordia. The Cobbers have a pretty impressive overall record in Homecoming games over the years. CC won last year's Homecoming game 63-14 over Hamline which was the second straight Homecoming win for the Cobbers. Concordia holds a decisive 22-6 record in their last 28 Homecoming tilts. The last time Concordia faced Bethel for Homecoming was in 2001 when the Royals came away with a 48-14 win. The Cobbers have hosted the Royals for Homecoming only two other times in the last 25 years and won both. CC downed BU 22-14 in 1997 and then won 33-7 in 1992. 

2. It is only fitting that Concordia host Bethel for Homecoming as the game featured the two most tenured active coaches in the MIAC Both Terry Horan and Steve Johnson are living traditions at their schools. Horan is in his 13th campaign while Johnson is in his 25th season. Frank Haege at Augsburg is third in the MIAC with seven-plus years under his belt.

Both programs have been at the top of the MIAC for many years and enter Saturday's game at the top of the league. Both squads are 4-0 in all games and 2-0 in conference play and both are ranked in the top 25 of Division III. The teams are also ingrained in MIAC tradition as two of the top programs. Bethel came into the league in 1978 and under Johnson's direction has become a perennial NCAA playoff team and top 3 MIAC contender. The Cobbers have played in the MIAC since 1921 and have won 18 conference championships. The team has only had three head coaches since 1941 and under the direction of Jake Christiansen, Jim Christopherson and Terry Horan they have been at the top of the league for eight decades.

3. The Concordia football program is sitting on the brink of a very historic milestone. The Cobbers need only two more wins to become only the fourth school in Minnesota college history in either NCAA Division I, II or III to win 500 career games. The only other colleges to have achieved this milestone are the University of Minnesota (656), St. John's (589) and St. Thomas (566). Concordia is in its 96th season of football and the Cobbers have a 498-286-38 all-time record. Some other milestones along the way to 500 – The first-ever win came against Jamestown in 1921. The 100th win came against St. Mary's in 1953 and the halfway point to 500, 250, came in the 1976 season against Gustavus.                  

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. One of the reasons for the Cobbers' early-season success has been the play of junior wide receiver Brandon Zylstra. Zylstra leads the MIAC in yards per catch (21.5) in all games and he is second in receiving yards per game (80.8). He has also scored at least one touchdown in each of the team's first four games and has 30 points on the year. Zylstra also won the first-ever MIAC Play of the Week honor for his high-hurdling TD run against St. Olaf and then won "POW" the next week for his TD catch at St. John's. His ability to produce ESPN highlight reel plays has led the GameDay staff to give him the nickname – Thrillstra!


Fargo Forum feature on Brandon Zylstra

6. The Marquee Match-Up - Saturday's marquee match-up showcases Brandon "Thrillstra and the Cobber wide receiving corps against the Bethel secondary BU cornerback Josh Treimer is the reigning MIAC Defensive Player of the Week after coming up with 10 tackles and forced a fumble in the Royals' win over Augsburg last Saturday. Treimer is tied for the league lead in interceptions (3) and leads a defense that is fourth in the MIAC in passing yards allowed per game (194.5 yds/game), second in total interceptions (7) and leads in defensive touchdowns (2).   

The Cobber passing attack leads the conference in yards per completion (14.6) and yards per attempt (9.2). Concordia has also come away with five big TD's through the air and has used their passing attack to take pressure off its vaunted running game.

7. Once again we add an extra point to our "Pick 6" and it is only fitting that our seventh point is a shout out to Cobber kicker Ben Wagner as the "Wagner Watch" continues. Wagner continues to be perfect on extra points in his career. Since taking over the kicking duties last season, he has connected on 57 straight PAT's. That is now over one-third of the way to the DIII record of 142.

Last Year:
Last year's game between Concordia and Bethel will go down in the books as one of the wildest finishes in college football history.


WDAY-TV News feature on the 2012 game


Concordia at Bethel Game Recap - Oct. 6, 2012


Leading 14-7 with 1.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Cobbers sacked Royal quarterback Erik Peterson, forced a fumble and appeared to pick up the ball and raced the length of the field for what appeared to be the game-ending score. Unfortunately for CC the officials decided to throw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct for having too many players on the field during the play and Bethel was given one last chance to score a potential game-tying TD. Peterson then connected on a 9-yard pass to Jay Hilbrands for the score.

Instead of kicking the extra point and heading to OT, BU coach Steve Johnson decided to go for 2 points and then Peterson found Mitch Hallstrom in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning 2-point conversion.

Concordia's defense held Bethel to only seven points for almost the entire game – allowing only a third-quarter score. CC held a 7-0 lead at the break when Brett Baune scored on a
1-yard run at the end of the second quarter. The Cobbers took a 14-7 lead at the 9:01 mark of the fourth quarter when quarterback Griffin Neal hit Chris Gilson on a 40-yard scoring strike. Concordia held a slim 276-268 edge in total offense. 


Cobbers vs. Royals Series History:
Cobbers lead 22-13-0

Series Synopsis:
Bethel has won six of the last seven in the series. The only win for the Cobbers in that stretch came in 2008 at home. Before those seven games, Concordia had claimed three of the previous four. The Royals hold a 8-4 advantage in the last 12 games in the series. Last year's 15-14 dramatic last-second deciding contest was an exception to the previous 10 games. During that streak the teams combined to score an average of 51.2 points per game. The most points scored in a game came in 2007 when Bethel won 48-45 in triple overtime in one of the most exciting games ever played at "The Jake"...Concordia is 8-3 against BU in the last 11 games played in Moorhead. Cobber head coach Terry Horan is 6-6 vs. Bethel.
          

Last 10 Meetings
Year Score
2003 Bethel 36 at Concordia 19
2004 Bethel 23 at Concordia 34
2005 Concordia 30 at Bethel 12
2006 Concordia 7 at Bethel 21
2007 Bethel 48 at Concordia 45 3OT
2008 Bethel 7 at Concordia 24
2009 Concordia 10 at Bethel 29
2010 Concordia 20 at Bethel 36
2011 Bethel 27 at Concordia 13
2012 Concordia 14 at Bethel 15