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Eric Peterson, Published October 13 2012

No. 25-ranked Cobbers cruise to homecoming victory against Hamline

MOORHEAD – Concordia didn’t look like a team that was fresh off a gut-wrenching loss Saturday afternoon at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

The Cobbers scored 35 points in the first half and rolled to 63-14 homecoming victory against Hamline in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football before an estimated 5,000 fans.

“Our kids, they were ready to play again, and there was no Bethel hangover today,” said Cobbers head coach Terry Horan, referring to his team’s 1-point road loss a week earlier.

The Cobbers (5-1, 3-1 MIAC) remained in the hunt for the conference title and in the Division III playoff picture with the victory. They have a key MIAC game at Augsburg (5-1, 4-1) next Saturday.

“Our coaches stressed that a lot,” said Concordia senior linebacker Jordan Doschadis, who had nine tackles and two sacks. “We can’t look past anyone anymore. One loss is all we can afford. You got to come out and play your best every time.”

The Cobbers suffered that first loss last week, a 15-14 setback at then-No. 7-ranked Bethel. Trailing 14-7, Bethel received an extra down with no time left on the game clock after Concordia was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct because players from its sideline entered the field of play on what would have the game’s final play, barring penalty.

That bizarre finish seemed like distant memory Saturday with the Cobbers scoring points in bunches.

Concordia punted on its first drive of the game before it scored touchdowns on is next five possessions.

“I think that is the sign of a mature team and we’ve got a lot of senior leadership,” said Cobbers senior fullback Brett Baune, who rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Concordia was diverse on offense in the first half.

Junior running back Ben Wolf and Baune scored the first two touchdowns via the rush. Sophomore quarterback Griffin Neal followed that up with touchdown passes to Mark Whiting, Brett Harmelink and Mike Starke.

Harmelink is the team’s punter and a backup wide receiver. His 43-yard touchdown catch gave Concordia a 28-0 lead with 10 minutes, 56 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“Even our punter got a little love today,” Baune said with a laugh. “He’s not just our punter, he’s one of our backup receivers. It’s nice to see him get in there because he works hard in practice. He deserved whatever he gets.”

Starke caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Neal to cap the first-half scoring. That TD gave the Cobbers a 35-0 lead with 5:38 to play in the second quarter.

“They came out like champions today and we didn’t miss a beat,” Horan said of his team. “They wanted to set the tone right from the start.”

Horan said he was flooded with phone calls and emails from former players this past week in the wake of the Bethel loss to show support.

“I think we played hard and that was nice to see coming back off a tough loss,” said Doschadis. “We were going to come out firing and we wanted to come out hard.”

The Concordia defense had a stellar first half, too, limiting the Pipers to two first downs and 45 yards on 24 plays. Hamline gained 34 of those first-half yards on one running play.

Concordia’s special teams contributed in the second half. Senior cornerback Seth Lage had an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that gave Concordia a 49-7 lead with 4:49 to play in the third quarter. Lage also averaged 27 yards per return on three punt returns.

The 63 points were the most Concordia has scored in a game since 2002 when the Cobbers earned a 63-21 win against St. Thomas.

“I just felt really good about all three phases of the game,” Horan said. “It was exactly what you would script.”

Hamline 0 0 7 7–14

Concordia 14 21 14 14–63

CC–Wolf 26 run (Wagner kick)

CC–Baune 7 run (Wagner kick)

CC–Whiting 38 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CC–Harmelink 43 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CC–Starke 8 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CC–Baune 23 run (Wagner kick)

HU–Duncan 2 run (Broback kick)

CC–Lage 84 kickoff return (Wagner kick)

CC–Tauer 3 run (Wagner kick)

CC–McLean 20 run (Wagner kick)

HU–Duncan 11 pass from Ackerley (Broback kick)

TEAM STATISTICS

HU CC

First downs 9 18

Rushes-yards 47-94 43-303

Passing 62 110

Comp-Att-Int 6-11-0 4-9-0

Punts-Avg. 7-47.0 2-45.5

Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-1

Penalties-Yards 3-25 4-32

Time of Possession 34:28 25:32

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: HU, Duncan 15-41, Deitchman 1-34, Ackerley 19-18, Pegues 2-5, Turner 1-1, Eskuri 4-0, Ferkinhoff 5-(minus-5). CC, Baune 11-92, Wolf 2-66, Gotta 8-45, Tauer 6-33, Fraboni 6-27, McLean 2-25, Peterson 3-10, Southwick 1-4, Team 1-3, Neal 3-(minus-2).

PASSING: HU, Ackerley 6-11-0 62 yards. CC, Neal 4-8-0 110, Tauer 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING: HU, Duncan 2-28, Ferkinhoff 2-11, Knudsen 1-14, Sherman 1-9. CC, Starke 2-29, Harmelink 1-43, Whiting 1-38.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com