Game notes: Bulldogs shift focus to Hastings after homecoming upset

By Jake Knabel on Sep. 25, 2017 in Football

SEWARD, Neb. – Now it’s time to find out if last week’s 29-18 upset of seventh-ranked Doane can springboard the Concordia University football team throughout the remainder of the GPAC season. The Bulldogs extended their home winning streak to eight with the signature victory that saw the Tigers manage only 234 total yards. The Bulldogs will be seeking their first road win of the season on Saturday.

The opponent will be Hastings, which cracked the national rankings a week ago on the strength of a 3-0 start. Kickoff from Lloyd Wilson in Hastings on Saturday is set for 1 p.m. CT. The Broncos suffered their first defeat on Sunday night in a game played at the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, S.D. A late field goal lifted Dakota Wesleyan to a 38-35 victory over the Broncos. Hastings slipped up despite 159 rushing yards by Tahj Willingham.

GAME INFO
Concordia (2-2, 1-1) at Hastings (3-1, 0-1)
Saturday, Sept. 30 | 1 p.m.
Lloyd Wilson Field | Hastings, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Stretch Internet
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Tyler Cavalli and Roger Fitzke

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

2017 Team Statistics
*National rank in parentheses

Concordia
Offensive PPG: 21.8 (63rd)
Defensive PPG: 21.8 (17th)
Total Offense: 358.0 (52nd)
Pass Offense: 185.3 (54th)
Rush Offense: 172.8 (32nd)
Total Defense: 349.8 (T-28th)
Pass Defense: 212.8 (37th)
Rush Defense: 137.0 (31st)
Turnover +/-: -1 (T-47th) 

Hastings
Offensive PPG: 41.3 (16th)
Defensive PPG: 21.3 (T-16th)
Total Offense: 421.0 (28th)
Pass Offense: 174.5 (59th)
Rush Offense: 246.5 (10th)
Total Defense: 350.0 (30th)
Pass Defense: 132.5 (5th)
Rush Defense: 217.5 (71st)
Turnover +/-: +8 (T-2nd) 

Returning Individual Leaders

Concordia
Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (2-2, 1st season)
Passing: Andrew Perea – 45/82 (.549), 411 yards, 3 td, 3 int
Rushing: Ryan Durdon – 80 rushes, 410 yards, 5.1 avg, 2 td; Receiving: 10 catches, 49 yards
Receiving: Lane Castaneda – 18 catches, 180 yards, 10.0 avg, 2 td
Defense: D’Mauria Martin – 21 tackles, 4 tfl, 2 int 

Hastings
Head Coach: Tony Harper (31-34, 7th season)
Passing: Anthony Cloyd – 44/83 (.530), 588 yards, 6 td, 0 int; rushing: 62 carries, 302 yards, 4.9 avg, 4 td
Rushing: Tahj Willingham – 81 rushes, 500 yards, 6.2 avg, 8 td; receiving: 4 catches, 39 yards
Receiving: Noah Housh – 14 catches, 207 yards, 14.8 avg, 2 td
Defense: Tyler Kennedy – 29 tackles, 3.5 tfl, 1 sack 

SCHEDULE/RESULTS

Concordia (2-2, 1-1 GPAC)
9/2 at (20) Kansas Wesleyan, L, 13-28
9/9 vs. Ottawa, W, 24-6
9/16 at (24) Northwestern, L, 21-35
9/23 vs. (7) Doane, W, 29-18 (homecoming)
9/30 at Hastings, 1 p.m.
10/14 vs. (24) Midland, 1 p.m.
10/21 at Dordt, 1 p.m.
10/28 vs. (25) Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
11/4 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
11/11 vs. (4) Morningside, 1 p.m.

Hastings (3-1, 0-1 GPAC)
8/26 at Jamestown, W, 31-3
9/2 at Southwestern, W, 52-35
9/9 vs. Valley City State, W, 47-9
9/24 at Dakota Wesleyan, L, 35-38
9/30 vs. Concordia, 1 p.m.
10/7 vs. Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
10/14 at Dordt, 1 p.m.
10/21 at (4) Morningside, 1 p.m.
10/28 vs. (14), Doane, 1 p.m.
Nov. 4 at (24) Midland, 1 p.m.
Nov. 11 vs. (19) Northwestern, 1 p.m.

In the rankings
Concordia appeared as the first team outside the national top 25 in the NAIA’s preseason ranking. The Bulldogs again received votes this week on the strength of their upset win over Doane. Meanwhile, Hastings has fallen out of the top 25 on the heels of the loss to Dakota Wesleyan. The victory over Doane also pushed Concordia from 45th to 36th in Massey Ratings.

Concordia
GPAC preseason: 5th (coaches); 6th (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Sept. 25): receiving votes
Massey Ratings: 36th

Hastings
GPAC preseason: 8th (coaches); T-7th (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Sept. 25): receiving votes
Massey Ratings: 32nd

Defense rounds into form
Some growing pains were to be expected for a unit that replaced eight starters from the 2016 team. After being burned by the big plays of Northwestern freshman quarterback Tyson Kooima in week three, Concordia tightened the screws on Doane. The familiar faces like D’Mauria Martin (two interceptions of Tiger quarterback Jack Shadley) and Tarence Roby continue to shine while up-and-coming stars are emerging. The next wave of standout defensive players includes the likes of Lane Napier (team high nine tackles vs. Doane), Kordell Glause (interception and sack vs. Doane) and Aaron Rudloff (five quarterback hurries vs. Doane). The Concordia defense limited the high powered Tiger offense to 234 total yards and forced four turnovers and eight punts.

Napier on the tackle
An Aquinas High School product, Napier has forced his way into a starting inside linebacker role as a tackling machine. The native of David City, Neb., now leads the team with 25 tackles. Twenty-four of those stops have come over the past three outings. Capable of playing on both sides of the ball, Napier has also carried the football six times for 28 yards. Also a basketball and track athlete as a prep, Napier earned first team all-state recognition his senior year.

Stevens takes over punting role
Peyton Stevens (Polk, Neb.) claimed the punting role, taking it over in week three at Northwestern. Since then, Stevens has punted 12 times for an average of 36.4 yards per attempt. He has down four punts inside the 20 and hit on a long of 50. Kicker Brendan Cremin handled the punting over the first two weeks. He booted the ball 14 times for an average of 34.5 yards per attempt. Cremin continues to serve as the placekicker. He has gone 10-for-10 on extra point tries and is 1-for-4 on field goal attempts.

Perea/Wiltfong prove capable
An ankle injury forced Riley Wiltfong to miss the homecoming game. He’s back at the No. 1 spot on the depth chart this week. Wiltfong and the passing game began to put things together in the fourth quarter at Northwestern. The Doniphan, Neb., native threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to the Red Raiders. Wiltfong provides more of a dual threat at quarterback. He has run for 135 yards in his three games of action this season. On the other hand, the strong armed Perea has tossed for 411 yards and three touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Thomas Byrd hopes to settle in at quarterback and improve upon the team’s pass efficiency rating of 111.0.

‘The curse is over’
As Patrick Daberkow exclaimed in the locker room after beating Doane, “the curse is over.” Concordia finally snapped what had been an 11-game series losing streak to the rival Tigers. Daberkow earned his first signature win as head coach, defeating a program that has made back-to-back NAIA playoff appearances under head coach Matt Franzen. Daberkow played for three different Bulldog teams that defeated Doane. The Bulldogs had not celebrated a victory over the Tigers since 2005.

Home cooking
Concordia’s home win streak has moved to eight with wins at 2017 Bulldog Stadium victories over Ottawa University and Doane. The Bulldogs went a perfect 5-0 at home during the 2016 season. Concordia also won its final home contest of 2015. Included in that run are six wins over GPAC opponents and two over squads from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 2016 squad was the program’s first to complete an undefeated home season since 2000.

Eight-game home win streak
9/23/17 | W, 29-18 | No. 7 Doane
9/9/17 | W, 24-6 | Ottawa (Kan.)
11/12/16 | W, 31-28 | Hastings
10/22/16 | W, 20-14 | #22 Midland
10/8/16 | W, 56-0 | Briar Cliff
9/17/16 | W, 9-7 | Northwestern
9/3/16 | W, 23-7 | Mary (Kan.)
11/14/15 | W, 48-0 | Briar Cliff

Scouting Hastings
The Broncos rely upon a star at running back in junior Tahj Willingham, who has rushed for 100 yards or more in each of the first four games. Willingham appears to be the team’s workhorse back now after carrying the football 151 times for 989 yards over his first two seasons at Hastings. Head coach Tony Harper’s squad scorched its first three opponents, scoring an average of 44.0 points during that stretch. Willingham is complimented by Anthony Cloyd, a quarterback capable of using his feet to beat opponents. The passing game is still a work in progress, but receiver Noah Housh has enjoyed a productive career. Defensively, Hastings has been susceptible to the run, ranking 71st nationally in rush defense. The Broncos are just 11-15 at home since going 5-0 at Lloyd Wilson Stadium in 2011.