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Grove makes first career start, helps Cobbers cruise to victory in football opener

MOORHEAD-Concordia quarterback Alex Grove didn't perform like a player making his first collegiate start Saturday afternoon at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

Jamestown’s Charlie Heck (24) is tackeld by Concordia’s Kirby Siewert (98) during the Saturday, September 5, 2015 game at Jake Christiansen Stadium in Moorhead, Minn. Carrie Snyder / The Forum
Jamestown’s Charlie Heck (24) is tackeld by Concordia’s Kirby Siewert (98) during the Saturday, September 5, 2015 game at Jake Christiansen Stadium in Moorhead, Minn. Carrie Snyder / The Forum
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MOORHEAD-Concordia quarterback Alex Grove didn't perform like a player making his first collegiate start Saturday afternoon at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

Grove threw three touchdowns and rushed for two more scores to help spark the Cobbers to a 41-17 victory against the University of Jamestown in nonconference college football.

"I really didn't have to do much," said Grove, who is from Willmar, Minn. "I didn't have to make any crazy plays. I got the ball to the playmakers and let them run."

Grove completed 10 of 16 passes for 204 yards and rushed for 33 yards on nine attempts. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior scored four of his touchdowns in the first half, helping Concordia build a 31-point halftime lead. Grove didn't attempt a pass in the second half.

"He's a really good decision maker and he took what the defense gave him," Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said of Grove. "I thought he forced one ball, but other than that, he was pretty flawless."

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The Cobbers (1-0) have won five consecutive season-openers. The Jimmies (0-2) were playing in their second game this fall.

"They're big and they're physical and we knew this was going to be a test for us," Jimmies head coach Shawn Frank said of the Cobbers. "They're good at what they do and that's the bottom line."

The Cobbers scored touchdowns on their first four drives and didn't punt until the second half. Concordia capped its big first half by scoring on a long trick play as time expired in the second quarter. Grove threw a pass to wide receiver Brandon Zylstra around 12 yards downfield. Zylstra then lateraled the ball to running back Jason Montonye, who took the football the final 47 yards for a touchdown avoiding a few would-be tacklers. The "hook-and-ladder" play covered 59 yards and gave the Cobbers a 34-3 lead.

"When I caught the ball, I tried to be as patient as possible," Zylstra said. "I gave that little move inside just to get the defense to come to me."

Zylstra was also on the receiving end of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Grove that gave the Cobbers a 14-0 lead with 4 minutes, 51 seconds to play in the first quarter. On that play, Zylstra caught a short pass, slipped a tackle and scooted into the end zone.

"He was very patient and he trusted his reads," Zylstra said of Grove.

Grove tossed a 63-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jon Baune that gave the Cobbers a 28-3 lead with 6:58 remaining in the second quarter. On that play, Baune got behind the Jimmies secondary and Grove hit the streaking Baune in stride.

"We checked off a lot of boxes today," said Grove, who had attempted 12 passes in his career before Saturday's game.

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The Cobbers defense limited the Jimmies to 92 rushing yards on 31 attempts. University of Jamestown starting quarterback Beau Eriksson left the game late in the first quarter with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder and didn't return. Jimmies sophomore Dylan Klatt passed for 231 yards in relief.

"I thought we were really steady defensively," Horan said. "We made some key stops. Our guys had great effort today."

Jamestown 0 3 7 7-17

Concordia 14 20 7 0-41

CC-Johnson 1 run (Neameyer kick)

CC-Zylstra 25 pass from Grove (Neameyer kick)

UJ-Linde 19 FG

CC-Grove 1 run (Neameyer kick)

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CC-Baune 63 pass from Grove (Neameyer kick)

CC-Montonye 47 pass from Grove (kick failed)

UJ-Sullivan 4 run (Linde kick)

CC-Grove 1 run (Neameyer kick)

UJ-Myron 44 run (Linde kick)

TEAM STATISTICS UJ CC

First downs 18 21

Rushes-yards 31-92 46-149

Passing 263 230

Comp-Att-Int 43-21-0 20-11-1

Punts-Avg. 6-34.7 4-39.2

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-1

Penalties-Yards 7-48 8-84

Time of possession 27:52 32:08

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: UJ, Myron 6-53, Klatt 8-16, Sullivan 5-14, Eriksson 2-7, Cook 2-2, Thingstad 6-2, Heck 2-(minus-2). CC, Johnson 10-53, Grove 9-33, Montonye 2-23, Essler 5-22, Gessell 4-16, Gauldin 2-9, DeClusin 1-2, Ogden 1-2, Herzog 6-1, Morical 1-(minus-1), Team 2-(minus-3), Kellen 3-(minus-8).

PASSING: UJ, Klatt 18-38-0 231 yards, Eriksson 3-5-0 32. CC, Grove 10-16-1 204, Kellen 1-2-0 26, Herzog 0-2-0 0.

RECEIVING: UJ, Sena 8-142, Janu 4-45, Thingstad 2-21, Collier 1-17, Samoisette 2-17, Pettigrew 1-8, Englehorn 1-5, Myron 1-5, Saenz 1-3. CC, Baune 2-70, Zylstra 6-63, Montonye 1-59, DeClusin 1-26, Gauldin 1-12.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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