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Tom Mix, Published September 07 2013

Concordia opens football season with win over University of Jamestown

MOORHEAD – Concordia’s offense took to the air early and often Saturday afternoon.

The passing attack was orchestrated by junior quarterback Griffin Neal, who helped the Cobbers to a

39-14 nonconference college football victory over the University of Jamestown at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

Neal was 17 of 20 passing for 307 yards and two touchdowns. In the first half, the former Fargo South standout was especially efficient, going 13-for-14 for 262 yards, 120 of which went to 6-foot-3 junior wide receiver Brandon Zylstra.

Zylstra – who transferred from Division II Augustana last spring – and Neal connected five times for 131 yards, including two touchdowns of 67 and 23 yards.

“Brandon is an explosive player, and we wanted to get the ball into his hands early in the game,” Neal said. “He has the ability to make a 5-yard catch into a big play, and it’s good to have him on the team.”

Concordia’s first touchdown was set up by an interception from senior cornerback Kenyon O’Brien, who snarled a pass attempt from Jimmies sophomore quarterback Beau Erickson. The interception came on the game’s third play from scrimmage.

Two plays later, senior fullback Luke Gotta rumbled into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown run.

“We wanted to jump out on (Jamestown) early,” Neal said. “That was our primary goal.”

Neal completed passes to seven different receivers in the game.

“We have three receivers that are pretty solid with Brandon (Zylstra) plus John Baune and Mark Whiting,” Concordia head coach Terry Horan said. “That’s a tough group to defend. We are as deep as we probably ever have been out on the perimeter.”

The combination of Neal and Zylstra was too much for the Jimmies secondary to handle.

“We didn’t respond well defensively,” Jamestown head coach Shawn Frank said. “That was disappointing. They grabbed the momentum early on with some big plays.”

Concordia (1-0) led 32-0 at halftime.

“Everything was going our way,” Zylstra said. “We were able to open it up a little more offensively, and the offensive line stepped up giving us plenty of time.”

Jamestown’s first touchdown came off a 51-yard interception return from defensive back Nick Klawon.

Senior wide receiver Jacob Erbes hauled in eight passes for 111 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter for the Jimmies (0-3).

The Cobbers outgained the Jimmies 504-277 in total offensive yardage.

Concordia now leads the all-time series 9-3 between the two teams.

Jamestown 0 0 7 7–14

Concordia 15 17 0 7–39

C–Gotta 20 run (Wagner kick)

C–Zylstra 67 pass from Neal (Whiting pass from Dunham)

C–McLean 1 run (Wagner kick)

C–Zylstra 23 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

C–Wagner 28 field goal

J–Klawon 51 interception return (Benke kick)

C–Neal 9 run (Wagner kick)

J–Erbes 20 pass from Erikkson (Benke kick)


First downs 18 24

Rushes-yards 37-86 45-197

Passing 191 307

Comp-Att-Int 15-22-1 17-20-1

Punts-Avg. 4-34.2 2-41

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0

Penalties-Yards 3-10 3-49

Time of possession 27:52 32:08


RUSHING: J, Smith 14-59, Johnson 1-1, Nelms 7-17, Eriksson 14-11, Team 1-(-2). C, Gauldin 6-62, Gotta 6-35, McClean 7-32, Schacht 1-13, Neal 14-12, Nelson 2-10, O’Brien 1-9, M. Peterson 2-9, L. Peterson 1-8, Dunham 2-7, Tobkin 1-0, Team 2-0.

PASSING: J, Eriksson 15-22-1–191. C, Neal 17-20-1–307.

RECEIVING: J, Erbes 8-111, Sen 2-29, Johnson 2-24, Dohmann 2-22, Glenn 1-5. C, Zylstra 5-131, Peterson 5-93, Baune 2-26, Tobkin 1-25, Gotta 1-19, Whiting 2-10, Gauldin 1-3.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562