Finely Tuned For Conference Play

Finely Tuned For Conference Play

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (9/12/15) –-- In their last non-conference game before MIAC play, Concordia fine-tuned both sides of the ball as they defeated Wis.-Eau Claire 41-7 at Carson Park. 

Concordia put points on the board with their first possession of the game. The opening drive started on their own 20-yard line and was highlighted by an Alex Grove swing pass to sophomore fullback Michael Herzog which pushed the ball inside the five-yard line. Jason Montonye capped off the 3:58 drive by punching it in from three yards out to give the Cobbers the 7-0 lead.

After the Blugolds missed a 30-yard field goal, Grove guided the Cobbers down the field again. The first play of the drive was a reverse counter flip to Brandon Zylstra who wheeled around the right side for a 32-yard gain. He mighthave gone all the way but he stepped out of bounds at the Eau Claire 43-yard line. Two plays later Chad Johnson slipped his way through the middle for a 38-yard scamper and was dragged down at the one-yard line. Johnson took the ensuing handoff and bulled his way in pushing the Cobbers' lead to 14-0 with 1:10 to play in the opening quarter.

The Cobbs then got the ball back with 12:20 to play in the second quarter. Grove dropped back to pass on the first play of the drive and fumbled while being slammed to the turf. Carl Lightfoot recovered the ball and the Blugolds seized the opportunity as Gerald Childs finished off a 27-yard drive by diving into the end zone from one-yard out.
It was only a matter of time before Zylstra was able to get behind the Eau Claire. On the ensuing possession Grove hit his star receiver in stride and Zylstra bolted 87 yards to the "house". The touchdown strike pushed Concordia's lead to 21-7 with 9:45 remaining in the half.

Eau Claire quarterback JT Denhartog threw a pick to All-MIAC corner Christian Erickson and the Cobbers began to march down the field again. Cooper Gauldin took an end-around counter followed by back-to-back completions to Jon Baune which pushed Concordia deep into Blugold territory. Herzog finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Herzog's first collegiate touchdown gave the Cobbers 28-7 lead with 4:37 to play in the half and CC would take that same score into the intermission.

Eau Claire got the ball to start the second half and once again the Black Shirt defense came up with a big play. On a third-and-10 situation Denhartog's pass was acrobatically intercepted by Austyn Raftevold

In an effort to run time off the clock, the Cobbers took to the ground and moved their way inside the red zone. Jason Montonye capped a 54-yard drive with an 11-yard scamper to the right side making it 34-7 with 9:10 to play in the third quarter. 

Concordia would score one last time. Facing a third-and-5 with three minutes remaining in the third, Grove felt pressure and rolled right where Herzog was sitting in the flats. Grove flipped the ball to his fullback and Herzog found an alley down the sideline which was aided by a timely block from Zylstra. Herzog would go untouched for a 42-yard touchdown. His second trip to the end zone would finish off the  ending the scoring for the night and Concordia would go on to win by a 41-7 final.

Concordia had not squared off against the Blugolds since 1981. The Cobbers improved their record to 3-0 against Eau Claire and 4-0 against schools from the WIAC.

Head Coach Terry Horan needs just one win to hit 100 for his successful coaching career. With a mark of 99-47, Horan could potentially hit the mark next week versus St. John's.

Not only did Herzog score his first career touchdown today as a Cobber, but he scored two. Herzog made the switch from quarterback to fullback after Grove was given the nod under center to start the season. Herzog still plays a big role on this team and went on to say, "I'm just trying to help our team the best I can. I'm excited about the opportunity and feel like I'm doing some things to help us win."

Grove showed no signs of a sophomore slump in his second start at quarterback. The junior appeared poised and flashed his arm strength with some big throws. Grove went 11-for-18 with 259 yards passing and a pair of touchdown passes, including the career long pass of 87 yards to Zylstra. More importantly, he played mistake free football.

The Cobber offense finished with 507 total yards which marks the first time since the team's win over Hamline that they have recorded over 500 total offensive yards. CC had three games last year where they accumulated at least 500 yards. Meanwhile the defense forced four turnovers which is the most for the Black Shirts since they caused five miscues in the final game of 2014 against Gustavus.  
"The guys got out of the gates quickly. First night game in how long for Concordia but it was a good win for us. We had heard a lot about the atmosphere here with the night games and the big band but it was a treat for us. In the Wisconsin league (WIAC) they are physical and it was a good test for us heading to MIAC play." – Head Coach Terry Horan commenting about playing under the lights
It's family weekend at Concordia and the Cobbers will play host to St. John's. Last season St. John's won the conference championship with just one loss which happened to come at the hands of the Cobbers. It will be the first time Concordia has hosted St. John's since 2012 when CC came out on top 31-21. The Johnnies are also 2-0 heading into next weekend's game.