MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/11/10)-- The Cobbers christened the new FieldTurf surface at Jake Christiansen Stadium by bolting to a 35-0 lead against Valley City State on Saturday and strolling to a 42-0 win in the first game ever played on artificial turf at Concordia. Cobber quarterback Michael Dunham was 12-for-16 for 191 yards through the air and tossed for three touchdowns as CC won for the first time in 2010.
The win over Valley City State (1-1) was a tag-team effort with the offense scoring on their first five possessions of the game and the defense forcing three Viking turnovers, coming up with six sacks, allowing a total of minus-17 rushing yards and holding the VCSU offense to just 133 total yards of offense. It is the first shutout for the Cobbers since the third game of the 2005 season when Concordia blanked Gustavus 30-0. The CC offense did not turn the ball over for the entire four quarters marking the first time since 2008 when they beat St. John's 9-6 in Collegeville.
The first half was all Concordia as they outgained Valley City 314-54 in total offensive yards and did not punt the ball. The Vikings were forced to punt the ball the first four times they had the ball and their fifth possession of the first 28:00 resulted in a fumble.
The first two Cobber scores of the game came by the traditional ground game. Fullback Nic Johnson capped an eight-play 87-yard drive to give CC a 7-0 lead. Senior Ben SaariBovre then powered his way into the end zone from three yards out to put Concordia up 14-0. The final three strikes of the half came courtesy of Dunham's accurate arm. The first TD toss came when he rolled to his right and then hit wide receiver Bronson Shepherd in stride for a 60-yard score with :39 left in the opening quarter. It was the longest TD pass for the Cobbers since the sixth game of the 2008 season.
Dunham then hit senior Zach Weller on a quick strike 7-yard pass over the middle on the team's first possession of the second quarter. He finished his trio of scoring tosses by placing a perfect pass to freshman wide out Mark Whiting in the corner of the end zone on a fade route with 2:00 to go in the half.
The Cobbers' fifth touchdown of the first 28:00 of play would take the competetive edge out of the game. The second half was more of a ball control game for the Concordia offense and a"pin your ears back" go after the quarterback attitude for the defense.
Senior defensive end Perry Patterson had a career game as he eight total tackles, recorded two sacks had 5.5 tackles for a loss and forced one fumble. He continually put pressure on the Viking backs by disrupting the play in the back field. Sophomore linebacker Matt Moenkedick had his second straight solid game. He had six tackles and 1.0 sacks. Moenkedick leads the team in tackles after two games with 16. Senior defensive lineman Aaron Schindler led all players with 3.0 sacks and also had a forced fumble.
Freshman running back Trent Johnson had a coming out party in his second collegiate game, the first at home. Like his older brother Cory, who ran for 91 yards and electrified the crowd with a long run around end for 67 yards in his first home game as a freshman, Trent finished the game against VCSU with 93
rushing yards and broke free around the left end and scampered 36 yards for his high voltage play.
Shepherd led the talented Cobber receiving crew. He caught three passes for an even 100 yards. Sophomore Mike Starke had two catches for 30 yards.
Valley City State was led by starting quarterback Trent Kosel who was 10-for-19 for 60 yards. Tommy Zinke came off the bench to go 9-for-17 for 90 yards. Wide receiver Derek Elliot had five receptions for 72 yards. Kevin Strang led all players with 14 total tackles and Garrett Jackson had 1.5 sacks on the day.
Concordia will head into the deep end of the MIAC pool when they open conference play at St. John's on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. The Cobbers will then turn around and play at St. Thomas on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m. Both teams are currently ranked in the top 10 of the nation.