ESPN Game Ball Earned

Sam Michel had a game-high 13 tackles and also made an interception in the Cobbers' win at No.4-ranked St. John's.
Sam Michel had a game-high 13 tackles and also made an interception in the Cobbers' win at No.4-ranked St. John's.

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (11/02/19)---The ghosts of 2004 swept over Concordia and Clemens Stadium in the Cobbers' 19-18 overtime upset at No.4-ranked St. John's.

In 2004, Concordia went to Collegeville and used a game-winning field goal from Brian Halverson to edge the defending national champion Johnnies 21-20. On Saturday the Cobbers used three blocked extra points and a game-winning point after kick from Alex Diaz to beat the nationally ranked, and formerly unbeaten, Johnnies 19-18 in the first overtime period.

The win is the first by a Cobber team against a team ranked in the Top 5 of the nation since the start of the modern rankings. It also snaps the Johnnies 20-game home win streak.  

Concordia ends its 3-game losing streak and is now 3-3 in all games and 3-3 in the MIAC. St. John's has its 7-game win streak come to a stop and is now 7-1 overall and 6-1 in league play.

The eerie plays everywhere during the four quarters at St. John's. From the unprecedented three blocked extra points to a return of a blocked extra point to score two points to intercepting the 2018 DIII National Player of the Year four times after he had only been picked off three times all season long to being outgained 581-249 to only completing three passes all game long and still coming up with the win – the ghosts of 2004 were definitely in the house.           

The game was so different that the Cobbers earned a Game Ball from ESPN (see video below). 

Concordia's Black Shirt defense was the star of the ghost story as they forced five St. John's turnovers and held the Johnnies to 2-for-6 in red zone chances. The offense also put together an award-winning supporting role. They only turned the ball over once, went 3-for-4 in their red zone chances and held the ball for almost 30 minutes.

The offense also came up with the most exciting play of the game. Facing a fourth-and-9 on the SJU 24-yard line in OT, senior quarterback Blake Kragnes tossed up a ball to senior Matt Bye who used every bit of his All-American athletic ability to come up with the juggling TD catch while having a St. John's defender draped all over him.

The touchdown was Kragnes' third completion of the game and all three went to Bye who finished with 42 receiving yards.

The score tied the game because the Cobbers had blocked the Johnnie point after attempt to start the OT period. Diaz then calmly knocked the ball through the uprights on the conversion to give Concordia the improbable victory.

"I told the players before the game to check to see if they still had a pulse and a heartbeat," head coach Terry Horan said. "Because if they had a pulse and a heart rate then they had a chance in the game. It's an unreal win and I am so proud of our team and staff."

The opening kickoff of the game was a telltale sign that the Cobbers did have a heartbeat as senior Willie Julkes III took the kick and raced 78 yards to the St. John's 16-yard line.

The Cobbers failed to score on the drive but the stage was set for several more strange game swings.

The Johnnies scored first but had then the Cobber special teams blocked the first of the three extra point attempts.

Concordia then scored 10 straight points to take a 10-6 lead into halftime. Logan Hatfield capped a 2-play, 9-yard drive when he powered into the end zone from 2 yards out. The TD was set up by a fumbled punt return that was recovered by Will Berning.

The Cobbers added a 24-yard field goal as time ran out in the half. The score was set up by one of the Black Shirts' fourth-down stops. They held SJU to just 2-for-6 on fourth down attempts in the game. CC then went 84 yards in 15 plays to set up Diaz' 3-point strike.

St. John's scored on the opening drive of the second half and it looked like they would be able to weather the upset attempt and pull away in the final two quarters. That's when the gremlins stepped back into the game. On the extra point attempt, Concordia blocked the kick and then Marshall King scooped up the ball and ran 80 yards for the 2-point conversion for the Cobbers. It's the first time in CC history they had scored points on the other team's PAT.

The two points tied the game at 12-12 and once again gave the Cobbers the momentum they needed to stay in the game.

Neither team was able to score in the final 28 minutes of play. St. John's had the ball inside the Cobber 20-yard line on a pair of occasions and, instead of trying a short field goal attempt, elected to try and convert on a fourth down attempt but both times the CC defense stuffed the Johnnies before they could reach the line to gain.

The overtime started with the Cobbers winning the toss and electing to play defense. St. John's was able to score from the 25-yard line on an 8-play drive which set up the dramatics. First, it was Julkes' second blocked kick of the game and then it was Kragnes' heroic throw to Bye to win the game.

Hatfield finished with a team-high 83 rushing yards on 23 carries. Kragnes carried the ball 12 times for 73 yards.

The middle linebacking tandem of Alex Berg and Sam Michel was all over the field. Berg finished with 6.0 tackles, 1.0 tackles for a loss and a sack. Michel led all players with 13 tackles and also added an interception.

Berning recovered the fumbled punt and also had an interception and Maison Grefe came away with a pair of first-half picks. Berning also recorded 10 tackles and had three pass break ups.

UP NEXT: The Cobbers will hope to continue their defensive and offensive success when they host St. Olaf in the annual Lefse Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 1 p.m. The winner of the game also gets The Troll Trophy - the ugliest rivalry trophy in all of college football. CC has won seven straight Lefse Bowls. The Oles are 5-3 overall and a similar 3-3 in conference play.    



Saturday recaps sponsored by Bufffalo Wild Wings: Grab your friends and get to B-Dubs on Sunday nights for College Nights at 9 p.m. 50% off 1 food item with ID and $3 apps at the Buffalo Wild Wings located on Hwy 10 in Moorhead.