Game notes: Home win streak on the line on Military Appreciation Day

By Jake Knabel on Oct. 23, 2017 in Football

SEWARD, Neb. – Winner of back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Concordia University football team appears to be hitting its stride with three contests remaining on the 2017 schedule. First-year head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad claimed its first road win of the fall, following the lead of a ball control offense and playmaking secondary. The Bulldogs topped Dordt, 24-17, in Sioux Center, Iowa. They return home on Saturday to host Dakota Wesleyan for a game that will kick off at 1 p.m. CT.

On the other side of the coin, sixth-year head coach Ross Cimpl’s bunch shook off consecutive losses to top-20 teams by dismantling Briar Cliff, 63-24, last week. The Tigers are headlined by senior quarterback Dillon Turner, who eclipsed 10,000 career passing yards in the victory over the Chargers. With Turner at the controls, Dakota Wesleyan possesses one of the nation’s most potent offenses. It ranks third in the NAIA in total offense (577.3).

GAME INFO
Dakota Wesleyan (5-4, 3-3) at Concordia (4-3, 3-2)
Saturday, Oct. 28 | 1 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Tyler Cavalli and Roger Fitzke
Live Stats: Stretch Internet

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

2017 Team Statistics
*National rank in parentheses

Concordia
Offensive PPG: 24.7 (56th)
Defensive PPG: 22.3 (20th)
Total Offense: 355.1 (54th)
Pass Offense: 174.0 (61st)
Rush Offense: 181.1 (T-34th)
Total Defense: 347.9 (22nd)
Pass Defense: 189.7 (25th)
Rush Defense: 158.1 (39th)
Turnover +/-: 0 (T-42nd) 

Dakota Wesleyan
Offensive PPG: 44.7 (11th)
Defensive PPG: 37.2 (71st)
Total Offense: 577.3 (3rd)
Pass Offense: 319.2 (12th)
Rush Offense: 258.1 (10th)
Total Defense: 483.3 (82nd)
Pass Defense: 290.6 (87th)
Rush Defense: 192.8 (61st)
Turnover +/-: -2 (T-49th) 

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Concordia
Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (4-3, 1st season)
Passing: Riley Wiltfong – 47/86 (.547), 594 yards, 8 td, 3 int; rushing: 31 carries, 135 yards, 4.4 avg
Rushing: Ryan Durdon – 162 rushes, 855 yards, 5.3 avg, 6 td; Receiving: 14 catches, 68 yards
Receiving: Jackson Hall – 20 catches, 288 yards, 14.4 avg, 3 td
Defense: D’Mauria Martin – 31 tackles, 6 tfl, 5 int, 5 pbu, ff 

Dakota Wesleyan
Head Coach: Ross Cimpl (43-20, 6th season)
Passing: Dillon Turner – 199/311 (.640), 2,774 yards, 31 td, 8 int; rushing: 95 carries, 763 yards, 8.0 avg, 12 td
Rushing: Luke Loudenburg – 123 rushes, 871 yards, 7.1 avg, 8 td; receiving: 18 catches, 176 yards
Receiving: Hayden Adams – 61 catches, 1,087 yards, 17.8 avg, 15 td
Defense: Dillon Rork – 57 tackles, 10 tfl, 3 sacks, 2 pbu, int 

SCHEDULE/RESULTS

Concordia (4-3, 3-2 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, L, 18-38
10/14 vs. Midland, W, 44-14
10/21 at Dordt, W, 24-17
10/28 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
11/4 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
11/11 vs. (4) Morningside, 1 p.m.

Dakota Wesleyan (5-4, 3-3 GPAC)
8/24 at Dakota State, L, 39-56
9/2 at St. Mary, W, 60-14
9/9 vs. Jamestown, W, 49-12
9/16 at (7) Doane, L, 67-68
9/24 vs. (25) Hastings, W, 38-35
9/30 vs. (24) Midland, W, 55-21
10/7 at (4) Morningside, L, 21-76
10/14 at (17) Northwestern, L, 10-29
10/21 vs. Briar Cliff, W, 63-24
10/28 at Concordia, 1 p.m.
11/4 vs. Dordt, 1 p.m.

In the rankings
Dakota Wesleyan began the month ranked 22nd after a 4-2 start. It then fell out of the rankings after back-to-back setbacks at the hands of No. 4 Morningside and No. 17 Northwestern. In the NAIA coaches’ poll released on Monday (Oct. 23), Concordia collected four points in the poll. The Tigers are no longer receiving votes in the coaches’ poll although they are ranked slightly above the Bulldogs in the latest Massey Ratings.

Concordia
GPAC preseason: 5th (coaches); 6th (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Oct. 23): receiving votes
Massey Ratings: 33rd

Dakota Wesleyan
GPAC preseason: 2nd (coaches); 3rd (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Oct. 23): did not receive votes
Massey Ratings: 29th

Military Appreciation Game
Saturday has been declared the Military Appreciation Game at Bulldog Stadium. Active and veteran military personnel will be admitted free of charge with presentation of a valid ID. Concordia is co-sponsoring the event along with the Nebraska National Guard. We will welcome to campus members of the 1st Battalion 376th Aviation, 1st Squadron 134th Cavalry and the 110th Multifunctional Medical Battalion of the Nebraska Army National Guard. Additionally, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters will fly around the stadium prior to kickoff. Football alum Col. Eric Teegerstrom will be on hand with a cannon that will be set off any time a Bulldog football player reaches the end zone.

Durdon shoulders the load
Sophomore Ryan Durdon has become a workhorse tailback for an offense that has found an identity as a run-oriented squad featuring a physical and veteran offensive line. A converted receiver, Durdon has been especially busy over the past two weeks, carrying the football a combined 69 times for 402 yards and four touchdowns in wins over Midland and Dordt. His 266 yards rushing against Midland equaled a program single-game record. Durdon currently ranks 10th nationally with 855 rushing yards this season.

With three games to go, Durdon’s rushing figure already ranks as the 14th highest single-season total in program history. He continues to climb closer to the 1,000-yard mark, a plateau only five players in school history have ever reached. The Decatur, Texas, native needs to average 137.0 rushing yards over the final three outings in order to break the school single-season rushing record held by JaMaine Lewis (1,265 in 2007). The program’s most recent 1,000-yard rusher was Bryce Collins in 2014. Collins owns three of the top 12 rushing seasons in school history.

Program single-season rushing leaders
1. JaMaine Lewis – 1,265 (2007)
2. Cleve Wester – 1,114 (1984)
3. Randy Pospishil – 1,085 (1972)
4. Bryce Collins – 1,016 (2014)
5. Jeff Towns – 1,002 (1979)
6. Cleve Wester – 970 (1983)
7. Ritchie Bishop – 949 (1994)
8. Bryce Collins – 946 (2015)
9. Jeff Towns – 928 (1978)
10. Alex Alvarez – 924 (2001)
11. Phillip Elder – 903 (2004)
12. Bryce Collins – 881 (2016)
13. Cleve Wester – 864 (1985)
14. Ryan Durdon – 855 (2017)

Garcia resumes pursuit of Wurdeman
Prolific senior receiver Jared Garcia returned to the field at Dordt and caught seven passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. The native of Pearland, Texas, owns the program career record for touchdown catches (31) and also the single-season standard bearer for receiving touchdowns (11 in 2014). Additionally, Garcia has a chance to become the school’s all-time leader for career catches and receiving yards. He is currently No. 2 in both categories having totaled 152 catches for 2,301 yards in 33 games as a Bulldog. Former All-American tight end Ross Wurdeman is the current leader with 168 receptions and 2,458 receiving yards. Garcia’s seven grabs at Dordt moved him above Eric Pralle (147) for second on the all-time catches list.

D rounds into form
Since allowing 472 yards in a 38-18 loss at Hastings on Sept. 30, the Bulldog defense has rounded into form. Concordia gave up just 264 yards and 14 points to Midland and 300 yards and 17 points to Dordt. Those performances have crept the Bulldogs up the national leaderboards. They’re now 20th in scoring defense (22.3) and 22nd in total defense (347.9). Senior D’Mauria Martin is enjoying an All-American type of season after switching to safety. He has recorded five interceptions and five pass breakups as a ball-hawker in the secondary. The team’s leading tackler has been true freshman Lane Napier, who has helped solidify a linebacker unit that lost one of the program’s all-time greats at the position, Michael Hedlund. Napier has made 47 stops, including 4.5 tackles for loss. Nine different Bulldogs have recorded at least half a sack. Opposing quarterbacks have completed only 46.9 percent (99-for-211) of their passes.

Keep away
Senior Tarence Roby might just be as good as any return man in NAIA football. No wonder many teams have made an effort to keep the ball out of his hands. In his only kickoff return opportunity last week, Roby took it 44 yards, helping set up Concordia’s first touchdown drive of the game at Dordt. The Bulldogs lead the NAIA in yards per kickoff return (27.3). Roby is still waiting to bust a special teams return for a touchdown in 2017, but he did manage to take an interception 100 yards for a score in a 24-6 win over Ottawa University (Kan.). Roby ranks in the top 10 nationally in both kickoff return yards per attempt (31.7) and punt return yards per attempt (11.2). He averages 114.3 all-purpose yards per game.

Turn-around
Can Concordia turn around last season’s ugly 52-30 loss at Dakota Wesleyan? If so, it will have to find a way to limit quarterback Dillon Turner. The closest thing to Turner that the Bulldogs have faced thus far was Northwestern freshman Tyson Kooima, who has piled up more than 2,500 yards of total offense. But Turner is more seasoned. It’s not a stretch to call Turner one of the top quarterbacks in GPAC history. He has thrown for 10,078 yards and 112 touchdowns and has added 3,052 yards and 34 touchdowns on the ground. Named the GPAC offensive player of the week on Monday (Oct. 23), Turner is as good as it gets for small college quarterbacks. In terms of pass efficiency defense, the Bulldogs rank second best among GPAC teams.

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

Nine-game home win streak
10/14/17 | W, 44-14 | Midland
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 Dakota Wesleyan
Dillon Turner and the Dakota Wesleyan offense cause nightmares for opposing defensive coordinators. The Tigers average 577.3 yards and nearly 45 points per game. Turner doesn’t do it alone. Top receiver Hayden Adams has hauled in 46 catches for 749 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is by far Turner’s favorite target. He caught four of Turner’s five touchdown passes in last week’s blowout of Briar Cliff. The running game is also devastating, averaging 6.6 yards per pop. The team’s leading rusher is Luke Loudenburg, who is closing in on a 1,000-yard campaign. The offense has grown accustomed to carrying a team that ranks in the bottom 10 of the NAIA in both total defense and pass defense. Dakota Wesleyan may take a similar approach to Dordt and load the box to contain Ryan Durdon. Quarterback Riley Wiltfong will need to take advantage by making plays over the top to the likes of Jared Garcia, Kiyoshi Brey and Jackson Hall. This game offers an intriguing contrast between Dakota Wesleyan’s potent wide-open offense and Concordia’s downhill rushing attack.