Coffin Cornered

Senior defensive lineman Kirby Siewert wraps up the St. John's quarterback during the Cobbers' final regular-season game.
Senior defensive lineman Kirby Siewert wraps up the St. John's quarterback during the Cobbers' final regular-season game.

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (11/11/17)---In a game that featured the Top 2 rushing offenses in the MIAC and two of the Top 3 defenses, it was the play of a punter that helped swing the outcome in the final game of the regular season.

No.18-ranked Concordia was pinned its own 7-yard line on their final three possessions of the game, couldn't come up with an extended scoring drive and lost 10-3 at No.7-ranked St. John's in a battle for an at-large bid into the NCAA playoffs.

The loss ends a four-game win streak for the Cobbers and drops their overall record to 8-2 on the year. CC finishes the MIAC season with a 6-2 mark which is good for third place in the league standings. St. John's wins for the sixth straight season and ups their record to 9-1 in all games and 7-1 in the MIAC.   

The game ended up being a battle of two unmovable defenses. Neither team gained more than 270 total offensive yards for the contest and the two defenses combined to force five turnovers and hold opponents to 6-for-28 (21.4%).

The only touchdown in the game came in the very first possession of the third quarter when the Johnnies drove the ball 67 yards in nine plays and finished with a 24-yard touchdown pass to finally break the 0-0 deadlock and take a 7-0 lead.

St. John's converted on two third downs in their touchdown drive. The Johnnies only had two other successful third down attempts during the rest of the game.

The Jonnies added a field goal with 6:42 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 10-0. Concordia got on the board in the waning seconds of the third quarter when Tony Kostelecky connected on a career-long 35-yard field goal.

Concordia would get the ball for three possessions in the fourth quarter and each time they would start the potential game-tying drive from inside their 7-yard line. The first possession of the final period started on the 1-yard line, the second on the 2-yard line and the third on the 6-yard line as the SJU punter used his lucky horseshoe to pin the Cobbers deep in their own territory each time.

The Cobbers ran 17 plays in the fourth quarter and gained 66 yards. The Concordia defense was stellar in the fourth quarter as they held the Johnnies to only 31 yards for 15 plays.

Concordia's final drive of the game ended in an interception when quarterback Blake Kragnes lofted a pass for Jason Montonye on the CC 27-yard line. Montonye appeared to come down with the ball at the same time as the St. John's defender but the official ruled that the St. John's defender had possession of the ball as he fell to the ground.

The Cobbers came out on the wrong side of two key statistical areas in the game. Concordia had more turnovers and less time of possession for the four quarters. CC turned the ball over three times as opposed to a pair for St. John's. The Cobbers held the ball for 28:17 as opposed to 31:43 for the Johnnies.

Concordia went 2-for-12 (17%) in third down situations and gained 214 offensive yards. The Cobbers had 112 rushing yards and were led by Montonye who gained 50 yards on the ground on eight carries.

Senior fullback Chad Johnson was limited to seven carries and 29 rushing yards after having to deal with a lower leg injury he suffered last week against St. Olaf. The 29 rushing yards is a season low for the MIAC's leading rusher.

Kragnes went 11-for-20 for 102 passing yards. He also rushed the ball a team-high 10 times and gained 15 yards.

Ryan Cihak had his best game as a receiver in maroon and gold. He caught five passes for 50 yards.

The Cobber defense stymied the SJU offense all game long. Concordia limited the Johnnies to 267 offensive yards which is only the second time all season that the Johnnies have been held under 300 yards.

The junior linebacking tandem of Alex Berg and Andrew Thompson were a force for 60 minutes. Both players had 10 tackles each.

Defensive backs Dallas Raftevold and Ethan Eagerton had the two turnovers in the game for the Black Shirts. Eagerton picked off a pass on the first drive of the second quarter while Raftevold earned his INT late in the same period.

Berg was also stellar as the team's punter. He had six punts in the game and averaged 40.2 yards per punt. Berg hammered a career-long 52 yard punt in the third quarter.  

CONCORDIA vs. ST. JOHN'S HIGHLIGHTS: