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Defense lifts Cobbers to 34-14 season-opening win

LINCOLN, Neb.—On its first play from scrimmage in Saturday's season opener at Nebraska Wesleyan, Concordia's football team fumbled the ball away.

But three plays later, junior nose tackle Jesse Bucholz picked off a tipped pass stopping the scoring threat. It set the tone for the rest of the day as the defense lifted the Cobbers to a 34-14 victory.

"We certainly didn't start the way we wanted to offensively, but our defense really answered the bell," said Concordia head coach Terry Horan. "Numerous times in the first half, our defense got us out of some short-field jams."

The defense came up with five interceptions—one each from defensive back Aaron Ahrndt, defensive back Jake Erholtz, defensive back Ethan Eagerton, linebacker Alex Berg and Bucholz.

Andrew Thompson, junior linebacker, led the Cobbers with nine tackles while Dallas Raftevold, senior defensive back, had eight tackles. Eagerton and Noah Taylor, junior defensive back, each had seven tackles.

"A good chunk of our guys on defense are back from a year ago," Horan said. "We just need to build some depth with our defense."

After a slow start, Concordia's offense finished the game with 238 yards rushing and 122 yards passing.

Chad Johnson, a senior running back from Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, carried the ball 14 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Herzog, a senior quarterback from Detroit Lakes, Minn., completed 5 of 10 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

"I thought all in all it was a good start for us" said Horan, whose Cobbers host NCAA Division III perennial-power Wisconsin-Whitewater next Saturday. Whitewater, after fumbling a snap one yard from the goal line with less than a minute remaining, lost Saturday 17-10 at Illinois Wesleyan.

Concordia 19 8 7 0--34

NW 0 7 0 7--14

C: Maanum 56 pass from Herzog (Kostelecky kick)

C: Johnson 25 run (Kostelecky kick)

C: Johnson 5 run (kick failed)

C: Montonye 5 run (Maanum pass from Herzog)

NW: Myers 21 pass from Curti (Hinze kick)

C: Marzolf 40 pass from Herzog (Kostelecky kick)

NW: Hinze 9 pass from Curti (Hinze kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: C--Johnson 14-134, Montonye 5-54, Herzog 11-23, Ringquist 8-22, Gessell 1-12, Maanum 1-5.NW--Taylor 14-102, Ensz 6-24, Kean 2-12, Karr 5-7, Thieman 1-4, Myers 1-2.

PASSING: C--Herzog 5-10-0, 122 yards; Kragnes 0-1-0, 0 yards. NW--Curti 25-44-5, 262 yards.

RECEIVING: C--Maanum 1-56, Marzolf 1-40, Ringquist 1-15, Kragnes 2-11. NW--Pelkey 4-80, Myers 4-48, Skerjanec 3-47, Curtis 4-35, Hinze 4-27, Darner 1-21, Keller 1-10.

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