|Concordia Univ. (5-1)||0||8||10||0||18|
|U.of Saint Francis (6-0)||0||12||3||20||35|
|Ft. Wayne, IN @ USF|
|Concordia Univ.||Indv. Leaders||U.of Saint Francis|
|#13 Joe Conner - 189||Rushing||#17 Justin Green - 154|
|#6 Seth Suida - 132||Passing||#13 Nick Ferrer - 202|
|#88 Donte Desalle - 72||Receiving||#19 Sean Boswell - 89|
|Concordia Univ.||Team Statistics||U.of Saint Francis|
After a 5-0 start to the 2017 campaign for the Concordia football team, the Cardinals were scheduled to face the undefeated defending national champion, University of St. Francis Cougars Saturday afternoon. The NAIA Game of the Week proved to live up to its weekly recognition as both teams showed why they are among the nation's best. A closely contested and entertaining showdown saw the Cougars use a big 4th quarter to pull away from the Cardinals 35-18.
Head Coach Joshua Schumacher led his team with confidence into the program's most high profiled game in school history. The Cardinals carried that confidence into the first quarter and were able give the Cougars their first scoreless quarter of the year. The Cougars came into the game averaging over 15 points in the 1st quarter alone.
The Cardinals scored the game's first points when Seth Suida (SR/Livonia, MI) found Donte Desalle for a 23 yard touchdown on 2nd and 10 with 12:43 left in the 2nd quarter. The Cardinals called on Fort Wayne native Peter Morrison (FR/Fort Wayne, IN) to extend the Cardinals lead on the two point conversion. The former Concordia Lutheran High School standout, lined up behind center, faked the run and passed to Kaleb Pohlman (SR/Liberty Center, OH) in the middle of the endzone to complete the 2 point conversion.
The Cougars responded on the ensuing drive when Justin Green scored his first of 3 touchdowns on 3 and 1. The Cougars tried to tie the game but the attempt failed as Andrew O'Hara (JR/Cleveland, OH) intercepted the pass in the endzone to maintain the Cardinals lead, 8-6.
After two holding penalties and a sack by the Cougars on the Cardinals next drive, they were forced to punt. This put the ball back into the hands of Justin Green as he scored his second touchdown with 1:53 in the 2nd quarter. A failed 2 point conversion attempt gave the Cougars a 12-8 lead. The Cardinals two minute drill offense was halted by the Cougars when Seth Suida's pass was intercepted in the endzone ending the first half.
The Cardinals first of three turnovers for the game came on the first drive of 3rd quarter when Seth Suida was sacked and stripped in Cougar territory. The Cardinal defense made a goal line stand forcing a Cougar field goal which extended their lead 15-8.
Offensive Coordinator Andrew Rode called on his star running back Joe Conner (SO/Flat Rock, MI) and pounded the rock the Cardinals next drive. Conner rushed the ball for 70 yards in 6 plays to score his only touchdown while tying the game at 15 with 7:53 left in the 3rd quarter.
Schumacher pulled out another trick in his playbook and used Joshua Kukulies (JR/Hopkins, MI) 's foot (JR/Hopkins, MI) to onside kick. The junior kicker and the special teams unit executed perfectly as Concordia recovered on their own 46 yard line. Seven plays later, Kukulies' number was called again for a 25 yard field goal giving the Cardinals an 18-15 lead with 4:31 in the 3rd quarter.
Cardinal penalties continued to pile up on both sides of the ball giving the Cougars the momentum they needed. The Cougars responded with two consecutive drives that took over 7 minutes off the clock and resulted in back to back field goals. The Cougars took the lead back for good 21-18 with 6:55 left in the game.
The Cardinals ensuing drive was halted when a Cougar defender forced a Dante Desalle fumble as he was hit upon reception. The Cougars picked up the fumble and returned the ball 46 yards for a touchdown extending the lead, 28-18.
After an onside kick recovered by the Cougars, Green found the endzone four plays later for his final time giving the Cougars a 35-18 lead with 2 minutes left.
The Cougars came into the contest averaging 565 yards of offense and the Cardinals were able to keep that in check only allowing 365 total yards. The Cardinals were also able to prevent Cougar Quarterback, Nick Ferrer from throwing a touchdown which he had done in 31 straight games. Middle linebacker Andrew O'Hara anchored the Cardinals defense with 10 total tackles along with Tarek Dalou (SO/Dearborn Heights, MI ) who had a career high 8 solo tackles.
The Cardinals (5-1, 1-1) will continue MSFA Mideast League action next Saturday as the team will travel to St. Louis, MO for match up against Missouri Baptists University. Kickoff is set for 2pm EST.