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Tom Mix, Published September 28 2013

Concordia makes it back-to-back football wins against St. John's

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Getting the best of St. John’s two years in a row isn’t a feat Concordia has experienced often in the football series between the two teams.

When it happens, it’s a big deal. On Saturday the Cobbers earned consecutive victories over the Johnnies for the first time since the 1980 and 1981 seasons.

Concordia defeated No. 21-ranked St. John’s 24-14 in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game on Saturday at Clemens Stadium in front of 10,077 fans.

Concordia junior quarterback Griffin Neal was 15 of 23 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m proud of our football team,” Concordia head coach Terry Horan said. “We had a great week of practice, and the coaches did a great job with the game plan. The kids did a great job of executing it.”

Concordia (4-0, 2-0 MIAC) controlled the game from the start. The Cobbers opened with a three-play, 61-yard scoring drive that ended with sophomore wide receiver Jon Baune hauling in a 35-yard touchdown from Neal.

The Johnnies’ opening drive was a three-and-out, and Concordia responded with a six-play, 63 yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Cooper Gauldin.

“This is the biggest win of the season so far,” Jon Baune said. “St. John’s beat St. Thomas a week ago, and we were just glad we could come in here and get it done. It means a lot to this program. We haven’t had much success against them in the past, so it’s good to get on the winning side.”

The victory also gives the Cobbers back-to-back seasons with 4-0 starts.

Concordia’s defense held St. John’s to 86 yards rushing and also made things difficult for Johnnies senior quarterback Connor Bruns, who threw two interceptions.

“Give them credit. They are a great football team,” St. John’s head coach Gary Fasching said. “We knew that all along. They made it difficult for us.”

St. John’s (3-1, 1-1) failed to close drives. Four times it came away with no points after getting to the Concordia 25-yard line or closer.

“Our defensive backs stepped up and made a ton of plays especially with those two interceptions,” Concordia junior defensive lineman Nate Adams said. “The defensive line got some pressure, but the defensive backs were a big help getting this huge win.”

Neal connected with Brandon Zylstra for a 26-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the first half. Zylstra finished with three catches for 45 yards.

“With Brandon’s touchdown, we had a double move,” said Neal, who also rushed for 83 yards. “Their corners were pretty aggressive, and they bit on it. He made a great adjustment on the throw, and the line held up too.”

St. John’s marched down the field to open the second half, but Kenyon O’Brien intercepted Bruns on a third-and-8 on Concordia’s 19.

The Cobbers responded with a 13-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 24-yard field goal from Benjamin Wagner.

It was homecoming for St. John’s. The Johnnies now have lost four straight homecoming games for the first time since they dropped four in a row in 1953-56 – the first four seasons under legendary coach John Gagliardi.

Saturday was the 80th meeting all-time between Concordia and St. John’s. St. John’s leads the series 42-32-6.

C 14 7 3 0–24

SJ 0 7 0 7–14

C–Baune 35 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

C–Gauldin 1 run (Wagner kick)

SJ–Bruns 3 run (A. Johnson kick)

C–Zylstra 26 pass from Neal (Wagner kick)

C–Wagner 24 field goal

SJ–Voshell 17 pass from Bruns (A. Johnson kick)

TEAM STATISTICS C SJ

First downs 21 21

Rushes-yards 52-241 26-86

Passing 186 242

Comp-Att-Int 15-23-1 23-48-2

Punts-Avg. 3-36 5-37

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-0

Penalties-Yards 9-122 2-10

Time of possession 36:44 23:16

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: C, Neal 13-83, Fraboni 17-72, Peterson 9-53, Gauldin 8-35, Dunham 1-3, Nelson 1-2, Team 3-(-7). SJ,Sura 18-70, Certeza 4-16, Bruns 4-0.

PASSING: C, Neal 15-23-1–186. SJ, Bruns 23-48-2–242.

RECEIVING: C, Whiting 4-58, Zylstra 3-45, Baune 2-60, Peterson 2-8, Fraboni 2-3, Gaulding 1-7, Tobkin 1-5. SJ, Bungum 10-82, Voshell 5-64, Sura 3-52, Clark 3-24, Ford 1-13, Krebsbach 1-7.


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