New Era But Same Season-Opening Success

Alex Grove hands off to Chad Johnson for the first score of the game in the Cobbers' 41-17 win over Jamestown.
Alex Grove hands off to Chad Johnson for the first score of the game in the Cobbers' 41-17 win over Jamestown.

MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/05/15)--Junior quarterback Alex Grove made the most of his first collegiate start as he helped Concordia roll over the University of Jamestown 41-17 at Jake Christensen Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

After the Cobbers won the coin flip the team started with great fielding position aided by Brandon Zylstra's 43-yard opening return taken just past the fifty-yard line inside Jimmie territory. Concordia capped a nine-play drive with a Chad Johnson one-yard touchdown push followed by a point-after attempt from Dominic Neameyer giving Concordia the early 7-0 lead. 

The score was Johnson's first career rushing touchdown.


After Jamestown went three-and-out, Grove and the Cobbs once again started in great field position thanks to a shifty 27-yard kick return by Marquez Henson. Grove then connected with Zylstra for a 25-yard touchdown strike with 4:51 remaining in the first quarter.


Jamestown three-year starting quarterback Beau Eriksson trotted out for his second drive and after completing a first down pass to Michael Sena on a third-and-3 situation he was driven into the ground and dislocated his non-throwing shoulder and sat out the rest of the contest. 

Sophomore Dylan Klatt then stepped under center and took Jamestown down inside the Concordia 10-yard line with back-to-back completions to tight end Dan Janu. The Concordia defense held strong and forced a Grant Linde field goal attempt which was good from 19 yards out making it 14-3 with 13:16 to play in the first half.  

Concordia vs. Jamestown Highlights


Zylstra received the ensuing kickoff and for the third consecutive time returned the ball inside Jamestown territory with a 33-yard return. Grove then finished off a 50-yard drive with a quarterback sneak behind left guard Jon Asprey which pushed the lead to 21-3. 

Concordia got the ball back 90 seconds after the Grove QB sneak and struck again. On the first play of the drive, Jon Baune ran a seam route and Grove hit him in stride for a runaway 63-yard touchdown connection. After the Neameyer PAT the Cobbers held a comfortable 28-3 lead with 7:08 remaining in the first half. 

Concordia's defense would come up big again. This time it was inside their own 10-yard line. Jamestown decided to go for the TD facing a fourth-and-goal situation from the three-yard line but Cobber freshman Jesse Bucholz hammered running back Mike Thingstad and forced the Jimmies to turn the ball over on downs. 

After the teams traded possessions the stage was set for the biggest play of the game. With only six seconds remaining in the half, the Cobbers took one last chance at the end zone. From their own 41, Grove fired a 12 yard pass to Zylstra in the right flats who lateraled to a streaking Jason Montonye who took it 47 yards to the house giving Concordia a commanding 34-3 lead at intermission. 

After both teams failed to score with their first possessions of the half, Jamestown punched it on their second try. Keldrick Sullivan scored from four yards out making it 34-10 with 8:37 to play in the third quarter. 

Grove remained in for the first two possessions following the half and would push through for a one-yard touchdown. It was his second rushing score of the day and extended the Cobber lead to 41-10.

Backup quarterbacks Michael Herzog and Zach Kellen split the reps under center for the duration of the game. 

Jamestown would score one more time in the fourth quarter. Freshman Ty Myron found a hole and was off to the races in a 44-yard dash to the end zone. After the Linde point after try the Cobbs held a 41-17 advantage and went on to win by that final score. 

The Cobber offense gained 359 yards as compared to 355 for Jamestown. Concordia ground out 165 rushing yards and the CC defense held the Jimmies to under 100 rushing yards. Concordia had a 22-18 edge in first downs and held the ball for a total of 32:08.     

LEARNING ON THE JOB: Alex Grove went 10-for-16 with 204 yards passing and three touchdowns in his first career start under center. The Willmar graduate, and son of former Cobber fullback Steve Grove, had only thrown 12 total passes in the previous three seasons.

COMING UP BIG WHEN NEEDED: Jesse Bucholz made just one tackle on Saturday afternoon but it was a big one to say the least. On a fourth and goal at the three-yard line, the freshman from Perham made that tackle short of the goal line for the Cobbers' second goal line stand of the game. 

DYNAMIC DUO: Standout receivers Jon Baune and Brandon Zylstra each scored a touchdown in Saturday's win. Zylstra was also part of a 72-yard hook-and-ladder at the end of the first half.

QUOTABLE: "There were a lot of pre-game jitters. Once all of those firsts got out of the way it was just pedal to the metal. I just had to get the ball to my playmakers and let them do the work for me. Not to mention or outstanding lineman, they did their job up front. From top to bottom, we executed and that's the bottom line." -  Alex Grove commenting on his first career start

 The Cobbers improve to 11-4 in season openers during Horan's tenure as coach, including having won the last five in a row.


MAGIC NUMBER TO 100 WINS: Down to just TWO. Head Coach Terry Horan has a career record of 98-47 and needs just two more victories to reach 100 in his career. If the Cobbers were to win next week at UW-Eau Claire, Horan would go for the milestone on Sept. 19 as Concordia will play host to the Johnnies of St. John's on Family Weekend in Cobberville.


WHAT'S NEXT: Concordia will head to Wisconsin to take on Wis.-Eau Claire next Saturday in a rare night game for the Cobbers. CC hasn't played a school from the WIAC since the 2002 season when they played at Wis.-Stout. It will be only the third meeting between the Cobbers and Blugolds. CC holds a 2-0 edge in the series with the two previous games being held in 1980 and 1981.