MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/31/15) --- No. 6-ranked St. Thomas used a potent running attack and wore down No.17-ranked Concordia in a showdown of the top 2 teams in the MIAC.
The Tommies scored 28 points in the second quarter, ran for 304 yards and beat the Cobbers 38-14.
The loss snaps Concordia's five-game win streak and drops their overall record to 7-2. CC is now 5-2 in conference play. St. Thomas remains unbeaten on the year and moves to 8-0 in all games and 6-0 in the MIAC.
The Tommies outgained the Cobbers 552-179 yards of total offense. St. Thomas also ran 82 plays for an average of 6.7 yards a play compared to Concordia's 55 plays for 3.3 yards a pop. The Tommies held the ball for 33:56 of the game.
Concordia got the ball first and wasted little time scoring. Jason Montonye slipped loose on a checkdown for 57 yards pushing the Cobbers deep inside Tommie territory. On a second and goal Brandon Zylstra took the direct snap around the left side four yards for the score. Following the Dominic Neameyer point after the Cobbers led 7-0 with 11:19 to play in the opening quarter.
St. Thomas's ensuing drive began at its own 25-yard line and running back Jordan Roberts carried the Tommies deep inside Cobber territory. The former University of South Dakota halfback had six carries for 54 yards on the possession which set up a 38-yard field goal attempt for Paul Graupner. The attempt was wide left and the Cobbers took over on their own 21-yard line.
After going three-and-out, St. Thomas got the ball and marched down the field. Quarterback John Gould completed passes of 22 and 11 yards to Jack Gilliland and then Charlie Dowdle, moving the Tommies inside Cobber territory. Roberts then capped a 14-play, 80 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown push tying the game 7-7.
Following another three-and-out the Tommies struck quickly. On a third-and-10, Roberts took Gould's screen pass down the St. Thomas sideline, juked a defender, and danced his way 68 yards for the score. Dowdle would pound in the two-point conversion making it 15-7 Tommies.
On St. Thomas' next possession Gould was picked off by Dallas Raftevold at midfield and he returned it down to the Tommie 29-yard line. Unfortunately on the very next play Concordia gave the ball back to UST as Michael Herzog's pass was intercepted by Trace Adams.
The Tommies drove down the field before Tyler Hansen stepped in front of a Gould pass at the Cobber five-yard line marking the third consecutive possession ending in an interception.
Concordia would again go three-and-out bringing on the punt team. After a short punt, St. Thomas started on the Cobber 31-yard line. Nick Waldvogel rumbled his way 25 yards for the score on a third and four making it 21-7 Tommies with 1:40 to play in the opening half.
St. Thomas strategically used their timeouts to stop the clock and force Concordia to punt for the fifth time in the half. The snap was mishandled and the Tommies recovered at the 17-yard line. On the next play Gould connected with Gilliland for the 17-yard score to cap the 28-point quarter and push the lead to 28-7 at the half.
Each team had two possessions in the third quarter. On St. Thomas' first possession Derek Rachel forced then recovered a fumble. On their second Gould pooch punted giving the Cobbers a short field. Herzog connected with Jon Baune on the final play of the quarter, a seam route for 35 yards up the middle making it 28-14.
Head coach Terry Horan gambled on the ensuing kickoff and went for the onside kick. It was recovered by Montonye but an illegal touching was called negating the play. Roberts was handed the ball for the next seven plays. He gained 36 yards setting up the 38-yard try from Graupner. After missing the first from 38 yards, he made the second one making it 31-14.
Following another three-and-out the Tommies got the ball back and scored quickly. A play action allowed Gilliland to slip behind the Cobber secondary and Gould found him for a 52-yard touchdown connection making it 38-14 and St. Thomas would go on to win by that final.
D-RACHEL: Derek Rachel had a career day against the Tommies. He forced a fumble and recovered one while recording a career high 14 tackles.
BIG D: Dallas Raftevold had a big day at linebacker. The sophomore recorded a career high 13 tackles, four of them being solo.
TRICK OR TREAT: The Tommies front seven was in the Cobber backfield for a majority of the afternoon. St. Thomas recorded eight sacks and hurried Concordia quarterbacks all game long. The Cobbers were held to just 21 yards of rushing offense.
FAST STARTS YES, UNBEATEN STREAKL NO MORE: Coming into the game the Cobbers were a perfect 6-0 when they score on their first drive. Saturday was the first game Concordia scored on their first possession and lost.
SPOOKY STATS: The Cobber offense was held in check on Saturday. Coming into the game, the team was ranked ninth in the nation on third down with a 53% conversion rate. On Saturday they went 2-of-12 (25%) on third down conversions. The 179 yards of total offense was the lowest since September 25th of 2010 – a game Concordia managed just 167 yards of total offense and lost 56-7 to St. Thomas. St. Thomas also outgained the Cobbers by 373 yards, the most any Cobber team has been outgained since 1990.
ROBBER ROBERTS: Jordan Roberts amassed 254 total yards from scrimmage against the Cobbers. That mark is the highest of the season for the Divison-I transfer, trumping his previous high of 240 scrimmage yards against St. John's. In fact, Roberts' three highest total yards from scrimmage this season have been against three of the top four teams in the MIAC: Bethel, St. John's and Concordia.
WHAT'S NEXT? The Cobbers will close out their regular season with a trip to St. Peter to take on Gustavus. The Gusties are coming off a heartbreaking 33-24 loss to Bethel. With a win, Concordia would improve to 8-2 for the fourth consecutive season under Horan.