Football Can’t Climb Out Of First Half Hole, Falls 35-26 To Concordia

Posted on November 9th, 2014 by

Gabriel Boyce hauled in a pair of touchdowns in Gustavus's 35-26 loss to Concordia on Saturday in Moorhead. Photo courtesy of Jim Cell - Concordia Sports Information

Moorhead, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus football team suffered a 35-26 loss to Concordia College on Saturday afternoon at Jake Christensen Stadium. Turnovers and a big Concordia second quarter put the Gusties in a hole they could not claw their way out of despite a much-improved performance in the second half. Scoring 28 unanswered points in the first half, the Cobbers jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead and were able to hold on for the remaining 30 minutes.

Gustavus drops its third game in a row and will enter next Saturday’s season-finale with an overall record of 6-3 and an MIAC mark of 4-3. Concordia caps its regular season with a win now owns an overall record of 8-2 and an MIAC mark of 6-2.

After forcing Concordia to turn the ball over on downs on the opening drive of the game, Gustavus took control of possession and scored in three plays. Following a 31-yard pass from Mitch Hendricks (Jr., Bemidji, Minn.) to Matt Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) that  gave Gustavus 1st-and-goal from the five-yard-line, Hendricks connected with Gabriel Boyce (Jr., Excelsior, Minn.) from five yards out to give Gustavus a 7-0 lead after Hunter Johnson’s (Fr., Cannon Falls, Minn.) point after.

Gabriel Boyce’s touchdown would be Gustavus’s only score until late in the third quarter.   Between that time, Concordia scored 28 unanswered points to go up 28-7 at the half.

Despite the fact that Gustavus pinned the home team deep on its own four-yard-line on a 53-yard Hunter Johnson punt, the Cobbers were still able to put together a 12-play, 96-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Giffin Neal. The long touchdown drive ignited Concordia’s offense and motivated its defense.

At the 13:31 mark of the second quarter, Griffin Neal completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Zylstra from 11 yards out to give Concordia its first lead of the game up 14-7.

Later in the quarter, Mitch Hendricks’ second interception of the half resulted in points as cornerback Christian Erickson returned the pick 30 yards a defensive touchdown that gave the Cobbers a 21-7 lead.

Hendricks was intercepted on the Gusties’ ensuing offensive possession, and this time the Cobber offense rolled the turnover into points. On 3rd-and-6 from the Gustavus 11-yard-line, Griffin Neal ran in his second touchdown of the game to put the Cobbers up 28-7.

Mitch Hendricks being chased by Derek Rachel.  Photo courtesy of Jim Cell - Concordia Sports Information.

Mitch Hendricks being chased by Derek Rachel. Photo courtesy of Jim Cell – Concordia Sports Information.

Gustavus was able to get back on the scoreboard at the 5:58 mark of the third quarter when Hendricks connected with Gabriel Boyce on a nine-yard pass for the pair’s second touchdown connection of the game. Because Thomas Schleusener’s (Sr., Rapid City, S.D.) extra point was blocked, Concordia led 28-13.

Concordia answered Gustavus’s touchdown with a touchdown of its own less than four minutes later. Griffin Neal hit Cooper Gauldin on a 24-yard strike to cap the Cobbers’ scoring for the day and give them a 35-13 lead.

The Gusties cut into the margin with 13 unanswered points to bring the score to a final at 35-26. Hendricks cut the lead with 35-20 with a one yard touchdown plunge at 10:19 of the fourth quarter, and then later threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Matt Boyce that brought the score to a final at 35-26 with 3:53 to play.

Concordia stayed true to its trademark offense by raking up 251 rushing yards and controlling the time of possession 34:31-to-25:29. The Gusties out-gained Concordia in total yards 464-to-391, which included 168 yards rushing and 296 yards passing.

Running back Luke Martinez (Jr., Lenexa, Kan.) paced the Gustie ground attack with a season-best 174 yards on 25 carries for an average of seven yards per rush.

Through the air, Mitch Hendricks was 28-for-54 for 296 yards to go along with three touchdowns and five interceptions. His favorite targets were Gabriel and Matt Boyce who accounted for 16 of the team’s 28 receptions. Gabriel made ten grabs for 86 yards with two touchdowns, while Matt hauled in six catches for 91 yards with one touchdown.

Concordia’s Griffin Neal stole the show with a four-touchdown performance. He scored twice on the ground and totaled 38 yards on 13 carries, and went 13-for-22 for 140 yards with two touchdown passes. The Cobbers’ top rusher was Alex McLean who ran for 68 yards on 12 carries.

The Gustavus football team will look to end the season on a high note with a game against the University of St. Thomas at 1:00 p.m. in St. Paul on Nov. 15.

Box Score

Notes: With his performance this afternoon, Mitch Hendricks broke Gustavus’s single-season record of 2,815 passing yards held by Jordan Stolp ’08. Hendricks also broke the single-season mark for touchdown passes (31), a record previously held by Bob Southworth in 1998 and Joe Thorvig in 2001…With 91 yards receiving today, receiver Matt Boyce became just the second player in program history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a single season. Boyce now has 1,079 yards, which ranks second all-time behind Chad Arlt’s ’09 record of 1,294 yards.


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