A Win Is A Win

A Win Is A Win

Moorhead, Minn. (10/10/15) --- It wasn't the prettiest win but in the end it was a notch in the win column and kept Concordia with only one loss on the year.   

The Cobbers traveled to Northfield for the second time in three weeks and were able to hang on to beat Carleton 27-24.

Concordia has now won three straight and is 5-1 in all games. CC is 3-1 in the MIAC and remains one game behind the conference leaders in the standings. Carleton loses for the fifth straight game and is now 1-5 overall and still looking for their first league win at 0-4.

Carleton set the tone for the game in the very first possession. The Knights got the ball to their playmaker early and it paid dividends. Quarterback Zach Creighton connected with Chris Madden for a 25-yard strike but then Madden made one move and raced 56 yards for the touchdown. Brandt Davis capped off the six play, 75-yard drive with the point after and the Knights grabbed a 7-0 lead.

Concordia set up shop from its own 33-yard line and began quickly moving the ball. Michael Herzog completed back-to-back passes to Brandon Zylstra to move inside Knight territory. On a third-and-eight Cooper Gauldin took an option pitch around the left side and scampered 19 yards inside the Knight red zone. Two plays later Gauldin took an inside handoff eight yards for the score tying the game 7-7 following the Dominic Neameyer point after.

On the ensuing possession, special teams came up big for the Cobbers. Carleton was forced to punt and Adam Pearson's punt was blocked by Hank Van Liew. Landon Moline picked up the ball and returned it to the Carleton seven yard line. Two plays later Conor Gessell forced his way in from three yards out pushing the Cobber lead to 13-7 with 5:02 to play in the opening quarter.

The Knights next drive was lengthy and methodical but didn't end how they hoped. The Cobber defense held strong as the Knights were forced to try a field goal from 22 yards out. Carleton had a first-and-goal from the four-yard line but a rush for no gain and then two incomplete passes led to a successful 22-yard field goal which made the score 13-10.

The Cobbers got the ball back with 2:05 to play in the opening half and had 80 yards of grass to cover. Gessell busted through the middle for 22 yards on the second play of the drive then Herzog completed a seven-yard pass to Gauldin and a 19-yard strike to Zylstra moved Concordia deep inside Carleton territory.

Head coach Terry Horan was then faced with the difficult decision of going for the end zone or trying a field goal. With only two-seconds left in the half Horan gambled and it paid off as Herzog lunged in on the final play of the half giving the Cobbers the 20-10 lead at the half.

Both teams came up empty on their opening possessions of the third quarter but the Cobbers scored on their second possession of the half when Herzog found Jon Baune on a seam route for a 52-yard touchdown strike. The seven points would be the final score of the game for the Cobbers as they took a 27-10 lead with 6:12 left to go in the third period. .

Carleton got the ball back on its own 41-yard line to start the fourth quarter. Creighton guided the Knights down the field as he rushed for 41 yards and passed for 28 yards on the drive. Tyler O'Keefe finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown push cutting the lead to 27-17 with 10 minutes to play.

Concordia faltered on their next possession and the Knights gained even more momentum. From the 20-yard line, Creighton again began to move Carleton down the field with not only his arm but also his legs. O'Keefe capped off the scoring drive when he scampered around the right side into the end zone for the six-yard score making it 27-24 with 3:50 to play.

Concordia then came up with two huge third down conversions to put the game on ice. Herzog connected with Baune for 19 yards on a pivotal third-and-11 and then  Gessell busted loose for 34 yards on a third-and-two attempt.

HE'S LOOOSE! With Chad Johnson sidelined with an injury, Conor Gessell stepped up in a big way. The sophomore had 100 yards rushing on just 12 and scored one touchdown. He put the game on ice with his 34 yard scamper on a key third down late in the game.

DUAL DUAL THREATS: Carleton's Creighton had a big game as a dual-threat QB. He went 26-for-33 for 266 passing yards and added 103 rushing yards. Michael Herzog did not post as big of numbers but still had a stellar afternoon. He was 15-for-26 for 204 passing yards and also added 43 yards rushing and a rushing TD.

SPECIAL TEAMS/BIG STOPS: Hank Van Liew's big block in the first half that led to a touchdown was pivotal in the outcome. Van Liew also came up big when he made the tackle on the first-and-goal situation from the four-yard line.

HAVE YOURSELF A DAY: Alex Austad entered today's game with just nine tackles this season. He left Northfield with eight tackles in Saturday's game.

TICK TOCK: Carleton won the time of possession battle in the game. The Knights held the ball for 34:38. It was the first time all season the Cobbers haven't held the ball more than their opposition.

STAT STUFF: Concordia barely outgained Carleton 451-442 in total offense. The Cobbers racked up 247 yards on the ground and 204 through the air. The 442 yards of offense put up by Carleton is the most by a Cobber opponent this season.    

WHAT'S NEXT? The Cobbers will return home next week when they host Augsburg. The Auggies lost to St. Thomas 55-6 on Saturday and is now 1-2 in MIAC play and 2-3 overall. Concordia defeated Augsburg 41-21 last season on the road. CC has won 14 consecutive games versus Augsburg. The last time the Auggies came out on top was back in 1999 when they won 7-5 in a game played in the Metrodome.