MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/03/11)—Concordia scored 37 unanswered points en route to a season-opening 37-13 win over Dickinson State on Saturday. The win avenges a last-minute defeat at Dickinson in last year's season opener. The victory was also the 45th season-opening win in the 94 years of Cobber football. Concordia is now 45-44-5 in the first games of the year.
The Cobbers posted two touchdowns in each of the second and fourth quarters as they won for the 10th time in a home opening game during head coach Terry Horan's 11 years at CC.
Concordia had almost 400 yards of offense in the game. They finished with 239 yards of rushing and 156 passing yards. The Blue Hawks had 121 total offensive yards in the first quarter but were then held to only 148 yards for the final three quarters combined.
Concordia watched Dickinson State (0-2) score on two of their first three possessions of the game to take a 13-0 lead at the start of the second quarter. Offensively, the Cobbers went "three and out" in their first two drives and then missed a 20-yard field goal on their final drive of the opening period.
The game changed on CC's next possession after the Blue Hawks took a 13-0 lead. After Cobber quarterback Michael Dunham completed a pair of passes that covered 17 yards, sophomore running back Trent Johnson came up with the play of the game. Johnson took a hand-off, bounced around the right end and then outraced everyone to the corner and then down the sideline. He wound up racing 66 yards for Concordia's first score of the year. The long run reenergized the Cobber bench and helped the defense gain back the game's momentum.
The Cobber defense, under first-year coordinator Kyle Bakken, finally adjusted to the speed of the game, and did not allow another first down for the remainder of the half. After DSU failed to convert on a third-and-eight in the next possession, senior defensive end Robin Wisner blocked the subsequent Dickinson punt. Dunham then took over, running the ball three times on the next drive and capped the series by scrambling for a 10-yard TD.
CC finished off the half by getting a 30-yard field goal from Porfirio Diaz and took a 16-13 lead into the break.
The Cobber defense continued its stingy ways in the second half, allowing just 32 total yards until the final drive of the game. By that time Concordia had added a pair of running scores from fullback Brett Baune and a 7-yard TD strike from Dunham to Bronson Shepherd. All told in the second half, CC allowed just 58 total yards including minus-8 yards of rushing. The Cobbers also caused three turnovers in the second half. Seth Lage's interception, and 26-yard return, in the fourth quarter set up the final Cobber TD and sealed the 24-point win.
Wisner was one of the catalysts on defense for Concordia. In addition to his blocked punt in the second quarter, he also forced a fumble, recovered another fumble, assisted on a sack and had a tackle for a loss. Linebacker Peter Hvidston led the Cobbers with 9.0 tackles. Sophomore nose guard and junior defensive end Tim Garry both had 2.0 sacks as the CC defense came away with 6.0 sacks on the day.
Offensively the Cobbers were led by Dunham who was 12-for-19 for 156 passing yards. He also racked up 40 rushing yards on eight attempts. Shepherd had three catches for 51 yards while junior Mike Starke played the role of possession receiver as he caught four passes for 38 yards.
Dickinson State was led by wideout Tanner Leak who caught six passes for 116 yards. He had three catches for 78 yards in the very first period alone. Tyler Schmidkunz led all p;ayers with 10.0 tackles.
Concordia will hit the road for the first time in 2011 next weekend when they play at Buena Vista on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. in Storm Lake, Iowa. The Beavers dropped their season opener to UW-Platteville 38-3 in Platteville, Wisc.