|Concordia MI (1-0)||21||7||7||0||35|
|St. Ambrose Univ. (0-1)||7||3||0||6||16|
|Concordia MI||Indv. Leaders||St. Ambrose Univ.|
|#6 Seth Suida - 86||Rushing||#6 Joey Zito - 119|
|#6 Seth Suida - 121||Passing||#13 Patrick Smith - 202|
|#4 Herman Mason - 45||Receiving||#15 Isaiah Mosher - 74|
|Concordia MI||Team Statistics||St. Ambrose Univ.|
(Davenport, IA) Concordia quarterback Seth Suida (JR/Livonia, MI) and wide receiver Herman Mason (JR/Lansing, MI) connected early and often helping the Cardinals secure an upset win over St. Ambrose University (SAU). The Bee's entered the contest ranked 24th in the NAIA top 25, but Concordia was not intimidated and went on to win by a 35-16 score.
Head Coach Lonnie Pries has orchestrated a program transformation and could not be more excited for the seniors. "We are so happy for our players and especially our seniors. It is the first time we beat St. Ambrose and they are a very strong program."
The game started with the Cardinal defense forcing a quick punt from SAU handing the momentum to Suida and the offense. Just 4 plays and a minute later CUAA had a 7-0 lead. Joe Conner (SO/Flat Rock, MI) highlighted the drive with a 32-yard run and Mason provided the score on a 13-yard reception from Suida.
Second year offensive coordinator Andrew Rode said the fast start was a key to the Cardinals game plan. "It was our game plan to have a fast start. Our guys did a great job of executing on both sides of the ball early and kept it up throughout the first half."
Andrew O'Hara (SO/Cleveland, OH) set the Cards up for another quick score when he intercepted the Bee's on the very first play of the next drive. At the 10:48 mark in the first quarter Suida and Mason connected for a touchdown for the second time in the game—this time on a quick slant from the 2-yard line. The Cardinals third touchdown of the first quarter came two possessions later when Suida took a 45-yard keeper to the end zone stunning the St. Ambrose defense.
The Concordia defense made several key plays in the first half to stop any St. Ambrose threat. Down 7-21 late in the first, the Bee's were looking to convert on third and one, but Hunter Cox (SR/Laurel, MD) and Mike Strong (FR/Paw Paw, MI) made back-to-back stops to force a turnover on downs. Nick Holshoe (SR/Hopkins, MI), who led the NAIA in interceptions in 2015, picked off his first pass of 2016 in second quarter giving the Cardinals the ball in SAU territory.
The Cardinal offense put together their most productive drive of the first half when they took over on their own 40 with 8:30 remaining. Right when it looked like they would settle for a field goal Suida found Andrew Schroeder over the middle on 3rd down for a 20-yard play that brought the ball to the 3-yard line. Suida and Mason matched up once again on a short fade in the corner of the end zone giving CUAA a 28-10 halftime lead.
The second half proved to be a battle of the defenses. The Cardinals final score of the contest was set up by the third turnover forced by the defense. A hard blind sided hit from Timothy Koehler (SO/Belvidere, IL) forced a fumble that was recovered by Hunter Cox at the 11:45 mark in the third. The offense took over on the SAU 20 allowing Suida to connect with Andrew Schroeder (FR/Novi, MI) for an 11-yard touchdown strike. A touchdown from the Bee's wrapped up the scoring early in the 4th quarter when they scored their second touchdown, but failed their two-point conversion.
The Cardinal defense was a true team effort. Five players—Nick Holshoe, Ty Peterson (SR/Milan, MI), Kaleb Pohlman (JR/Liberty Center, OH), Andrew O'Hara, and Hunter Cox recorded five tackles and another four players recorded four tackles a piece. Tim Iltis recorded three tackles for loss including two sacks that pushed SAU back 13 yards. Peterson, Pohlman, and Timothy Koehler also recorded sacks for the Cardinals.
Seth Suida completed 16 of 25 passes for 121 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also led the team with 108 yards gained on the ground. Joe Conner had 7 carries for 43 yards in his first game as a Cardinal. Hermon Mason finished the game with 7 receptions and 45 yards to go along with his 3 touchdown catches. Rode was proud of the team's relentless effort. "I'm proud of our guys today. They were relentless and made huge plays. We did a great job of converting in the red zone and winning one on one matchups."
Coach Pries was quick to compliment the scout teams after the win. "Our scout teams did a great job preparing their teammates and it was definitely a win that had all three phases contributing to it."
The Cardinals will savor the program's second win in as many years over a ranked opponent and then prepare for a road trip to Staten Island. The Cardinals will face NCAA 1-AA opponent, Wagner on Saturday, September 10th at Noon. This will be the first time the Cardinals have squared off against a program at that level.