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Bethel avoids upset with incredible finish

More news about: Bethel | Concordia-Moorhead
Concordia-Moorhead players are well onto the field before their eligible teammate controls the fumble that could have been the end of the game.
Photo by Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com 
More photos from this game. 

An unbelievable finish at Royal Stadium allowed the Bethel University Royals, who celebrated its homecoming game Saturday, to come back from a 14-7 deficit with 1:24 remaining in the fourth quarter to defeat Concordia-Moorhead 15-14 in a MIAC classic.

Trailing by seven, Bethel drove 71 yards down the field to score the game winning touchdown – but it didn't come without drama.
 
Facing a third-and-10 from the Cobber 17-yard-line with 0:01 on the clock quarterback Erik Peterson (So., Orono, Minn.) was stripped, which induced a parade of Concordia personnel onto the field. However, no one had gained possession and by the time a Cobber picked up the ball and ran 71 yards for a CC score penalty flags littered the field. The Cobbers had been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct – thier only penalty of the game – for coming onto the field while no one had possession, which gave the Royals one more opportunity to score from the 9-yard line.

With one final play Peterson found Jay Hilbrands (Sr., Clara City, Minn.) on the far corner of the end zone for the score. Instead of kicking the extra point, Bethel decided to attempt a two-point conversion, which was successful via a toss from Peterson to Mitch Hallstrom (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.), ending the game victoriously for the Royals.
 
Bethel fans embedded within the crowd of 5,124 people stormed the field after witnessing one of the most bizarre endings to a game in Royal Stadium history.
 
The Cobbers never trailed until the final play of the game, as Concordia ended the first half with a Brent Baune rushing touchdown in a fourth-and-goal situation from the 1-yard-line.
 
The Royals responded with an 11-play, 50-yard drive lasting 5:35 near the end of the third quarter, which featured Jesse Phenow (Jr., Richfield, Minn.) – who played in his first game since spraining his knee on the first series of the Wartburg contest – rushing the ball from 1 yard out. A Nathaniel Van Loon point after attempt made the score 7-7.

Concorda gave themselves a seven-point spread with a 40-yard reception between quarterback Griffin Neal and wide out Chris Gilson with 9:01 on the clock.

Behind 14-7 Bethel was unable to score on the ensuing possession, however, BU forced the Cobbers to punt, which handed the rock back to the Royals with 1:24 on the clock.

Several extraordinary plays took place on the game-winning drive, including a one-handed grab by Mitch Hallstrom for 30 yards and a 14-yard pass and catch between Hans Duininck (Sr. Tulsa, Okla.) and Peterson on fourth-and-12.
 
Statistics between each team were nearly identical. BU managed 91 yards rushing on 39 attempts, averaging 2.3 yards per carry, while Erik Peterson and the aerial attack threw for 177 yards on 16-of-30 attempts. Jesse Phenow led Bethel with 89 yards rushing on 22 attempts, to go along with his third quarter score. Jay Hilbrands was Peterson's hottest target Saturday, catching eight passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. Hallstrom and Jared Schultz each caught two passes for 41 and 25 yards, respectively.

For the Cobbers, Brett Baune's 50 yards and touchdown helped CC finish the day with 103 rushing yards and a score. This demonstrated the strength of the defense, as Concordia averaged 327 yards rushing coming into the MIAC battle. The Cobbers threw for 173 yards on 14-of-19 attempts. Concordia attained an 8-yard advantage in total offensive yards (276-268) and total possession was decided by just over a minute.
 
The Royals play its next competition on the road next Saturday, traveling to St. Paul to face the University of St. Thomas. The 1:10 p.m. battle will be the fourth straight game against an unbeaten opponent and will be the third consecutive game to hold sizeable MIAC title implications. 

Sep. 23: All times Eastern
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