Roberts leads No. 6-ranked St. Thomas past the Cobbers
MOORHEAD-Concordia couldn't slow down running back Jordan Roberts or the St. Thomas pass rush Saturday afternoon at Jake Christiansen Stadium. Roberts rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown and the No. 6-ranked Tommies had eight sacks, fueling a 38...
MOORHEAD-Concordia couldn't slow down running back Jordan Roberts or the St. Thomas pass rush Saturday afternoon at Jake Christiansen Stadium.
Roberts rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown and the No. 6-ranked Tommies had eight sacks, fueling a 38-14 victory against the No. 17-ranked Cobbers in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football before 4,002 fans.
"St. Thomas is probably going to go a long ways," said Cobbers senior wide receiver Brandon Zylstra. "This team is just so fast and relentless and so quick to the ball."
The Cobbers (7-2, 5-2 MIAC) had their five-game winning streak snapped, while St. Thomas (8-0, 6-0) remained unbeaten. The loss may have ended Concordia's hopes of earning a spot in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Cobbers close out their regular season next Saturday at Gustavus.
"It's our last game," Cobbers senior linebacker Erik Bye said of next weekend. "That's how we see it right now. Barring any miraculous things in the MIAC, it's our seniors last game, so we are going to go out and play like it."
Roberts finished with a season-high 254 yards from scrimmage. The 6-foot, 222-pound junior rushed for his game-high 180 yards on 31 attempts. He added 74 yards receiving on three catches, including a 68-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter that gave St. Thomas the lead for good.
"He's a physical runner, and if you miss one or two tackles, he's got the speed to take it all the way," said Bye, who had a game-high 15 tackles.
Concordia took a 7-0 lead after Zylstra scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes, 19 seconds to play in the first quarter. That capped a 77-yard drive that took seven plays.
St. Thomas, however, countered with 28 unanswered points. Roberts sparked that rally with a 1-yard touchdown run before adding his long TD catch. His receiving touchdown came on a screen pass with St. Thomas facing a third-and-10 from its own 32-yard line.
"When I caught it there was a lot of green grass in front of me," Roberts said.
That score gave the Tommies a 15-7 lead with 10:36 to play in the second quarter. St. Thomas added two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half to push its lead to 21 points. Nick Waldvogel scored on a 25-yard run with 1:40 to play in the second quarter. One play after the Cobbers fumbled the snap on a punt, quarterback John Gould threw a 17-yard score to Jack Gilliland, giving the Tommies a 28-7 lead with 28 seconds remaining in the half.
"For us to get two touchdowns in the last (two) minutes of the first half was probably the tipping point of the game," St. Thomas head coach Glenn Caruso said.
The St. Thomas defense took over from there, limiting the Cobbers to 179 yards on 55 plays. Concordia was held to 79 yards in the second half. Tommies junior defensive lineman Ryan Winter led the charge with 12 tackles, including three sacks. Concordia lost 48 yards on the eight sacks it allowed. The Cobbers finished with 21 rushing yards on 37 attempts.
"They're like piranhas," Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said. "They smell blood, and they're coming at you."