MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/8/16) --- The Concordia 2016 Homecoming headline almost read "Miracle in Moorhead" but No. 4-ranked St. Thomas dashed the upset hopes with a last-second drive to pull off a stunning 23-20 comeback win.
The last minute scoring flurry started when the Cobbers connected on an 89-yard hook-and-ladder from Nick Anderson to Jason Montonye to take a 20-16 lead with 29 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
UST took the following kickoff and returned the ball out to their own 44-yard lined line and then quarterback Alex Fenske worked quickly. After a costly pass-interference call, Fenske connected with Nick Waldvogel for 20 yards down to the Concordia 21-yard line.
Concordia had an opportunity to seal the win on the very next play. Fenske looked for Waldvogel over the middle and threw the ball right to a Cobber defender but the ball dropped to the ground and gave the Tommies the life they needed.
On the next play, Waldvogel broke towards the pylon and made a diving catch in the end zone with just two seconds remaining to give St. Thomas the improbable 23-20 win.
The Cobbers rode the Chad Johnson train to a halftime to a 7-3 halftime lead.
The D-G-F locomotive rushed for 77 yards on an 89-yard drive, including the 28-yard scamper up the middle to grab the lead with under a minute to play in the first quarter.
St. Thomas would take six minutes off the clock on their next possession and drove 77 yards on 12 plays but had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Bryan Stensapir.
Johnson wound up with 97 yards in the first half to help CC to the halftime advantage.
The Tommies wasted little time finding the end zone following the half.
Fenske found Joe Reed for a 56-yard touchdown to take the 10-7 lead. Fenske's pass bounced off a diving Cobber defensive back and into Reed's hands for the lucky score.
After a St. Thomas fumble and a Concordia interception on the ensuing two drives the Tommies methodically drove their way down the field and added to their lead.
Fenske completed back-to-back balls to Waldvogel and then Reed for 21 and 23 yards to move into Cobber territory.
He would find Waldvogel two more times to move inside the 10-yard line where a second effort by Tucker Trettel on second and goal put the Tommies up 16-7 with 14:05 to play.
Concordia got the response they were looking for.
Michael Herzog had a 33-yard keeper to move inside the 50-yard line and Johnson was off to the races again a few plays later from 36-yards out to make it 16-14.
It appeared as the Tommies would put the game out of reach on their next drive.
Fenske guided UST 71 yards on 10 plays that took four minutes and 30 seconds but the MIAC's reigning Defensive Player of the Week came up with a stop when it counted.
On fourth and inches Fenske attempted to sneak the ball over the goal line but sophomore Alex Berg met him at the line for the huge stop that gave CC a fighting chance.
Facing a fourth-and-23, Herzog then completed the hook-and-ladder 12 yards to Anderson who then flipped to Montonye for the final 77 yards.
It appeared that Montonye was going to be forced out at the 15-yard line but he sidestepped a defender to stay in bounds and managed to dive over the goal line to give CC the lead.
Fenske found his favorite target in Waldvogel for two big gains, including the game-winning score, to stun Concordia with seconds left on the scoreboard.
Berg and Hank Van Liew continued to anchor the Cobber defense. Berg wound up with 12 tackles while Van Liew ended up with 11.
Junior Dallas Raftevold had a big day in the secondary as he forced three pass break-ups to go along with seven tackles.
Landon Moline also had two pass break-ups, including one on a fourth and short inside the red zone to stall a Tommie drive, to go along with eight tackles.
Johnson had another MIAC Player of the Week worthy performance. The former Rebel had 146 yards on two carries and two touchdowns.
UNDER 100: Herzog's 89-yard hook-and-ladder wasn't quite enough to hit the century mark. Concordia has now thrown for under 100 yards for five straight games – the first time that has happened since the 2006 season.
RUNNING COBBERS: St. Thomas entered today with the seventh-best rush defense in the nation but CC gutted the Tommie front seven. The Cobbers ran for 272 yards against UST which is the most they have allowed since they surrendered 330 rushing yards to Mount Union in last year's Stagg Bowl.
Concordia has now rushed for 1,376 yards on the year and is averaging 275.2 yards per game. Those numbers lead the MIAC and their average is 76.7 yards more than the next highest team.
OCTOBER CHADNESS: Chad Johnson has flourished in the month of October. In the two games played in the 10th month of the year Johnson has rushed for 336 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers are in contrast to his three games in September when he rushed for a total of 100 yards and only two scores.
Johnson now has 436 rushing yards and eight rushing TD's. He currently leads the MIAC in total rushing yards and is second in touchdowns.
FIELD GOALS SCHMIELD GOALS: Concordia didn't have a field goal attempt on Saturday which marks the third straight game they haven't attempted a field goal. CC is 0-for-2 in field goal attempts and is the only team in the MIAC that hasn't connected on a 3-pointer this year.
WHAT'S NEXT? Concordia will remain in the friendly confines of The Jake for a second straight week as Hamline will come to town. The Pipers are 4-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play and are coming off a 34-16 win over St. Olaf.
CONCORDIA vs. ST. THOMAS HIGHLIGHTS