Defense Turns Over MIAC Road Win

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ST. PETER, Minn. (10/01/11)—Concordia's defense forced four turnovers and senior quarterback Michael Dunham threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns as the Cobbers rolled to a 37-20 win over Gustavus in St. Peter on Saturday.

Concordia outscored the Gusties 30-7 in the first three quarters of play en route to snapping a two-game winning streak. The win was the first conference victory for CC and ups their overall mark to 3-2 on the year.  The Cobbers are now 1-2 in conference play. Gustavus scored 13 points in the fourth quarter – the second most in any quarter this season – but remains winless on the year. The Gusties are 0-4 in all games and 0-2 in league play.

Turnovers were the biggest key to the win for Concordia. Both teams had over 400 yards of total offense but the Cobbers did not turn the ball. The CC defense came up with four clutch takeaways  – three of which came deep in Concordia's end of the field and three led directly to scoring drives. Concordia is now +6 in turnover margin this year which leads the MIAC.     

The first turnover came at the end of the first half with Concordia holding a 14-7 lead. Gustavus had just run 11 plays and had driven to the CC 40-yard line. Junior defensive back Brent Rysdahl then came up with the first of two CC interceptions in the game. Rysdahl's "pick" at the 26-yard line with 2:18 to go in the first half led to a 33-yard field goal by Porfirio Diaz which gave Concordia a 17-7 lead at the break.

The second takeaway was the biggest of the game. With Concordia leading 24-7, Gustavus was looking to get back in the game at the end of the third quarter. The Gusties drove the ball 10 plays and were on the CC 4-yard line when sophomore Bryce Hentges recovered a fumble. The Cobbers ended up punting the ball on their possession and then Gustavus fumbled on the fourth play of their next drive at the CC 13-yard line. Concordia then went on a nine-play  86-yard drive to push the score to 30-7.

Cobber senior quarterback Michael Dunham was 15-20 for 233 passing yards and threw for a pair of touchdowns. Dunham has not thrown an interception in the two CC road games. He now needs 619 more passing yards to break the school's all-time passing yards record.  Dunham's favorite target in the game was fellow senior Bronson Shepherd who caught seven passes for 112 yards and one touchdown. It is the second time in the last three games he has broken the 100-yard receiving mark.

Concordia had 10 players with at least one carry. Sophomore Matt Peterson had a game-high 77 yards on the ground – 54 of which came in the second half. He had the biggest rush of the game as he rambled 45 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.  It was his first collegiate touchdown and longest run of his career. Fullback Brett Baune was held to just 35 yards but had one of the five TD's on the day for CC.

Gustavus was led by the run and throw tandem of Jeffrey Dubose and Logan Becker. Dubose had 67 rushing yards on 15 carries. Quarterback Becker was 22-for-34 for 247 yards and one TD. He also rushed the ball 19 times for 42 yards. The 19 carries is the most by a GAC back all season long. Elliot Herdina caught six passes for 101 receiving yards.

The Cobber defense had three players with at least 10.0 tackles in the game and came away with 4.0 sacks for the game. Linebacker Peter Hvidston led all players with 12.0 tackles. Matt Moenkedick came away with 11.0 tackles and Rysdahl was third on the team with 10.0 tackles. Tyler Berling had a pair of sacks on the day. Hentges had the big fumble recovery and then also made an interception in the fourth quarter.

Concordia held the ball for a 28:00 and is now 2-0 when their opponents have more time of possession in the game. The Cobbers came away with a season-high 459 yards of total offense which marks the third game this season they have averaged over 400 yards. CC was 5-of-10 in third down conversions.

The Cobbers will stay on the road next weekend when they play at Carleton on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. at Laird Stadium in Northfield.