Gagliardi coaches milestone game, but Johnnies fall
Saint John's fell to Concordia-Moorhead 9-6 on Saturday, Sept. 20 in Collegeville. SJU head coach John Gagliardi coached his 589th game to break the record for the most games coached in college football history formerly held by the late Eddie Robinson.
Concordia capped a 13-play, 85-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jesse Nelson to take a 7-0 lead with 6:24 remaining in the first quarter.
Following a goal-line stand in which the Cobbers had three attempts denied from the one-yard line, senior running back Jeff Schnobrich (New Ulm, Minn./Cathedral) was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Concordia's Jon Hanson with 8:42 left in the second quarter.
Sophomore running back Jakob Reding (Eden Prairie, Minn.) scored on a 20-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Joe Boyle (Richfield, Minn./Holy Angels) to cut the deficit to 9-6 with 3:19 left in the first half.
The Johnnies outgained Concordia 307-183 in the game, including a 15-10 edge in first downs. SJU forced the Cobbers to punt 10 times in the game, and allowed only 44 yards and one first down in the second half. Concordia was 5 of 18 on third-down conversions in the game, and converted just 2 of 15 third downs following its opening drive.
Boyle led the team with 51 yards rushing, while junior wide receiver Ben Vanderheyden (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) gained 102 yards on five receptions, four of which went for first downs. Three different Johnnie quarterbacks combined for 18 completions in 29 attempts for 222 yards in the game. Boyle completed 10 of 19 passes for 119 yards, while junior Jordan Hansel (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech) was 5 of 7 for 56 yards. Junior Michael Crees (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) completed 3 of 3 passes for 47 yards in the first quarter.
Senior defensive tackle Joe Luke (Alexandria, Minn.) and junior linebacker Ethan Eid (Arden Hills, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) led the Johnnies with 13 tackles each.
Concordia's Jesse Nelson rushed for 55 yards on 15 attempts and ended the day 5 of 11 passing for 27 yards. Running back Cory Johnson gained 79 yards, 70 of which came in the first half.
SJU (2-1, 0-1 MIAC) hosts Gustavus Adolphus next Saturday, Sept. 27 for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Clemens Stadium in Collegeville. The Johnnies are 62-16-2 in 80 known Homecoming games.
Notes: The last time the Johnnies lost to Concordia at home was Oct. 16, 2004 (21-20)…the last time SJU lost a conference opener at home was Sept. 15, 2001 (31-28 vs. St. Olaf)…Concordia's nine points is the least allowed in an SJU loss since Sept. 19, 1987 (7-2 loss at St. Thomas)...six of the Johnnies' last nine losses have been by three points or less.