Back-To-Back Black Shirt Blankings

Senior quarterback Blake Kragnes breaks free for a big rushing gain during the Cobbers' win at Hamline. He finished with a season-high 101 yards on the ground.
Senior quarterback Blake Kragnes breaks free for a big rushing gain during the Cobbers' win at Hamline. He finished with a season-high 101 yards on the ground.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (9/28/19)---The Cobber "Black Shirt" defense pitched its second straight shutout and the offense steamrolled its way for over 525 yards on the ground as Concordia blanked Hamline 51-0 in St. Paul.

The back-to-back shutouts are the first for the Cobbers since the 1997 season when they put up the "bagels" against St. Olaf and Macalester. Concordia has now outscored its first two MIAC opponents by a combined margin of 99-0.

Like the win over Augsburg in the MIAC opener last Saturday, Concordia needed a quarter to get the offense started. The Cobbers led 7-0 after one period of play on a Blake Kragnes 1-yard run before they exploded for 16 points in the second quarter and 28 more in the third. CC scored on all four possessions in the third period and seven of the eight times they had the ball in the two middle quarters.

While the offense needed 15 minutes to find its top gear, the Black Shirts started the game going 100 mph. Hamline gained 28 yards on their first play of the game and that would be the longest play from scrimmage they would have the entire 60 minutes of play.

Concordia held Hamline to only 8 total yards in the first half and the Pipers ran the ball seven times and came away with -8 yards. The Cobber Black Shirts only allowed two first downs in the first two quarters of play.

Kragnes, the senior quarterback, accounted for all three of the Cobbers' touchdowns in the first half and then handed the ball to the stable of Concordia running backs in the third quarter.

Kragnes had a pair of TD runs to start the scoring sheet and then combined with sophomore wide receiver Andy Gravdahl for a 38-yard pass and catch for a score midway through the second quarter. It was Gravdahl's third 25-yard plus TD catch in the past two games.miacmiac

The third quarter belonged to the Concordia offensive line and the multitude of running back options. The Cobbers had four different players run for TDs in the third quarter – and all four scores were from at least 10 yards out.

Logan Hatfield started the running touchdown parade as he went 26 yards for a score on the first possession of the second half. Jake Lunceford ran 10 yards for the second score and then Austin Einerson added a 46-yard scamper and Ba Blamo powered his way through the line for a 26-yard strike.

Concordia rushed for 219 yards in the third quarter alone. CC had nine first downs and didn't attempt a pass the entire period. The Cobber defense held Hamline to 26 total yards and only one first down in the third quarter.

Concordia finished the game by rushing for 530 yards on 62 carries. The 530 rushing yards is the most in a single game in 2019 and the second most in program history. The Cobbers' record is 547 rushing yards which came against against Buena Vista in the home opener in 2012.

The Cobbers had eight backs with at least 30 rushing yards in the game. Kragnes led all players with 101 yards on 13 carries. The 101 rushing yards is a season best and the most since the 2017 season. Blamo rushed the ball 14 times for a career-high 95 yards while Hatfield 91 yards on 11 carries.

Concordia's Black Shirt defense finished the game by only allowing 73 total yards and six first downs. The Pipers finished the game with zero rushing yards and went 0-for-13 in third-down situations. The Cobbers only allowed the Pipers inside the 20-yard line on one occasion.

Senior captain Sam Michel led the defense from his inside linebacker spot with five tackles. Fellow captain Alex Berg added four tackles and also had a sack and 2.0 tackles for a loss. Isaac Stene also had four tackles and a sack while Will Berning and Rob Lestrick came up with interceptions for the Cobbers.

97 AND COUNTING: The win over Hamline ups Cobber head coach Terry Horan's MIAC win total to 97 games. He now needs three more conference wins to become the third coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark in league play.  

BLACK SHIRT SCOREBOARD WATCH: The Cobber defense hasn't allowed more than 21 points in a game and is holding its opponents to a 10.3 points per game average. That mark leads the MIAC.

547 – vs. Buena Vista – Sept. 8, 2012
530 – vs. Hamline – Sept. 28, 2019
517 – vs. Augsburg – Oct. 11, 2003

562 – St. John's vs. Macalester – Oct. 23, 1976
531 – Gustavus vs. Macalester – 1990
530 – Concordia vs. Hamline – Sept. 28, 2019
517 – Concordia vs. Augsburg – Oct. 11, 2003  

BOOMER BERG: Not only does senior Alex Berg make an impact on defense but he also tilts the field for the Cobbers with his leg. Berg had two punts on Saturday and averaged 47.5 yards per punt. That average actually brought his season average down to 47.7 yards per punt. Berg currently leads NCAA Division III in punt average and is seventh among all of NCAA FBS, FCS, Division II and III punters.

UP NEXT: Concordia will stay on the road in the MIAC – and return to St. Paul – when they square off against No.6-ranked St. Thomas on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1:10 p.m. The Tommies are 2-1 on the season and are coming off a 21-19 loss at Wis.-Eau Claire on Saturday.