Turnover Trouble

Sophomore quarterback Blake Kragnes gets ready for the snap in the Cobbers' loss at No.6-ranked St. Thomas (Photo courtesy of Vince Arnold)
Sophomore quarterback Blake Kragnes gets ready for the snap in the Cobbers' loss at No.6-ranked St. Thomas (Photo courtesy of Vince Arnold)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (10/07/17)--- Heading into No.15-ranked Concordia's showdown at No.6-ranked St. Thomas, Cobber head coach Terry Horan said the key to the game was to protect the ball and win the turnover battle.

Unfortunately for the Cobbers, they turned the ball over three times – two of which led to touchdowns – and lost 21-0 to the Tommies.

Concordia fumbled the ball five times in the game, lost three and was never able to get an offensive rhythm going as they lost for the first time all season.

The Cobbers are now 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the MIAC while St. Thomas wins for the fourth straight game and is also 4-1 overall and are now 4-0 in league play.

In addition to the turnovers in the game, the Cobbers were held to a season low 108 offensive yards and were 3-for-14 on third down plays including 0-for-6 in the first half of play. Concordia didn't earn their initial first down until the first drive of the second quarter and only made two first downs in the opening half of play.

The Cobbers also lost the battle of field position as they had an average drive starting spot of their own 22-yard line as opposed to the Tommies which gained possession of the ball on an average of their own 49-yard line and received the ball in CC territory on seven of their 13 possessions. Concordia never got control of the ball inside the St. Thomas side of the field.      

The Concordia defense had another stellar performance. The Cobber Black Shirts held St. Thomas to 277 offensive yards which marks the first time they have been held under 300 yards all season long. CC also held the Tommies to a season-low 120 passing yards.

The initial score of the game came on the Cobbers' second fumble of the game. Concordia punted on their opening drive and fumbled on their second possession. Each time St. Thomas got the ball in Cobber territory and both times the Concordia defense held UST without a score.

The game changed on Concordia's third possession. CC fumbled the ball on its own 43-yard line and then five plays later the Tommies got on the board with a 9-yard TD run.

St.. Thomas added a second score at the start of the second quarter on a 27-yard passing strike and took a 14-0 lead into the break.

The final score of the game came at the 8:59 mark of the third quarter when St. Thomas recovered a fumble, raced 23 yards and gave their offense the ball at the Cobber 2-yard line. UST would score on their very first play to take a 21-0 lead.

Senior defensive back Dallas Raftevold led all players with 11 tackles. He also came away with the only St. Thomas turnover of the day when he recovered a fumble in the third quarter. Alex Berg had 10 tackles while fellow linebacker Cody Fox had 8 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Cobber senior fullback Chad Johnson was held under 100 rushing yards for the first time all season. He ran the ball 16 times and gained 55 yards. Sophomore quarterback Blake Kragnes was 6-for-13 for 30 yards in his first college start.

105 but not 106: Concordia had their shutout streak come to an end on Saturday. The last time the Cobbers were shutout was in the second-to-last game of the 2006 season. The stretch of scoring at least two points in every game came to an end after 105 games.

WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will look to start another win streak when they play at Hamline on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. The Pipers are 2-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play and are coming off a 40-33 loss at St. Olaf on Saturday.