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Eric Peterson, Published October 27 2012

Big first half vaults Cobbers past Carleton

MOORHEAD – The Cobbers are now ready to take on the Tommies.

Concordia quarterback Griffin Neal had a hand in five touchdowns Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium. His performance helped spark the No. 19-ranked Cobbers to a 51-27 victory against Carleton in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football.

The victory sets up a showdown with No. 3-ranked St. Thomas next Saturday at Jake Christiansen.

“It’s here and we’re excited for it,” Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said. “And you’re going into the ninth week and we are right in the thick of things. It doesn’t get any better than that. It should be a fun one.”

The Cobbers (7-1, 5-1 MIAC) are a game behind first-place St. Thomas (8-0, 6-0) with two games to play in the regular season. Concordia needs a victory to stay in the MIAC title hunt and the Division III playoff picture.

“We’re excited about that because we feel we can play with (St. Thomas),” said Cobbers junior wide receiver Mark Whiting. “They’re a good team and they’re going to come in ready to play.”

Concordia exploded for 45 points in the first half against Carleton, riding that strong start to victory. Neal threw three touchdowns in the first half and added a touchdown run. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore had scoring throws of 27, 74 and 18 yards. Two of those three went to Mike Starke.

Neal hit Whiting in stride on a post route for the 74-yard TD. That play gave the Cobbers a 21-7 lead with 14 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the first half and sparked a 31-point second quarter. Whiting finished with four catches for 148 yards.

“Mark’s always kind of been the deep-threat receiver,” said Neal. “Mark likes to take the ball deep, and he really hits his second gear.”

Neal capped his first half with an 18-yard scoring toss to Starke, who broke wide open off a play-action fake. That gave the Cobbers a 42-13 lead with 2:29 to play in the half.

Kicker Ben Wagner booted a 38-yard field goal with 18 seconds to play in the second quarter to give the Cobbers a 45-13 lead heading into halftime.

“We were able to get up top on them and make some big plays,” Horan said. “We are throwing the ball really well. It’s nice to be two-dimensional. You need to be to be a good team.”

The Cobbers finished with 474 yards with 217 rushing and 257 passing. Concordia was outscored 14-6 in the second half, but by that time the game was in hand.

Whiting would have liked a better finish to the game.

“That’s something that we’ve kind of built this whole year, we start well in the first half,” Whiting said. “We still need to finish though. That’s the big thing for us. We’ve just got to finish.”

Neal completed 10 of 18 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 41 yards and two TDs on 10 attempts.

“We’ve come to expect that out of Griff,” Whiting said. “He comes to play every game and we know that he’s going to do well.”

Carleton 7 6 7 7–27

Concordia 14 31 0 6–51

CC–Starke 27 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CAR–Baker 8 run (Kasten kick)

CC–Wolf 49 run (Wagner kick)

CC–Whiting 74 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CC–Neal 7 run (Wagner kick)

CAR–Kemper 37 pass from Hartwell (kick failed)

CC–Hentges 90 kickoff return (Wagner kick)

CC–Starke 18 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

CC–Wagner 38 FG

CAR–Zweber 11 run (Kasten kick)

CAR–Frett 14 pass from Hartwell (Kasten kick)

CC–Neal 12 run (rush failed)

TEAM STATISTICS

CAR CC

First downs 23 21

Rushes-yards 33-94 33-217

Passing 313 257

Comp-Att-Int 29-45-0 10-19-0

Punts-Avg. 5-21.8 2-28.0

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 4-58 8-72

Time of Possession 36:40 23:20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: CAR, Zweber 12-62, Baker 9-15, Hartwell 9-15, Shender 2-2, Potter 1-0. CC, B. Baune 12-61, Wolf 2-58, Neal 10-41, Peterson 4-24, Scott 1-15, Tauer 1-11, Goss 1-8, Fraboni 1-0, Gilson 1-(minus-1).

PASSING: CAR, Hartwell 28-43-0 305 yards, Potter 1-2-0 8. CC, Neal 10-18-0 257, Gilson 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING: CAR, Kemper 6-82, Gottschalk 5-82, Frett 10-76, Dale 4-45, Zweber 1-13, Lozier 1-8, Baker 2-7. CC, Whiting 4-148, Starke 2-45, Gilson 2-42, J. Baune 2-22.


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Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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at peterson.areavoices.com