Bulldogs open conference play with exciting 3-0 win over Nebraska Wesleyan
Kenny Zoeller’s 32-yard field goal in the third quarter lifted the Concordia University football team to a 3-0 win over Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon in Seward. The Bulldogs moved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play with the win. Nebraska Wesleyan dropped to 0-1 overall and in the GPAC with the loss.
Both offenses struggled to maintain consistency in the opening half of play. Early in the second quarter, Concordia moved the ball all the way to the Wesleyan one yard line. However, the Nebraska Wesleyan defense held on fourth down and kept the score tied at 0-0. The teams combined for three turnovers in the second quarter, and Wesleyan’s Steve Anderson missed a 37-yard field goal attempt to keep the game scoreless heading into halftime.
Concordia took a 3-0 lead on the opening drive of the second half. Nebraska Wesleyan had a key unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and Bulldog quarterback TJ Shirey connected with Jamarcus Walker on a 12-yard pitch and catch to move into field goal range. Sophomore kicker Kenny Zoeller then booted a 32-yard field goal to put Concordia in front.
The Prairie Wolves responded on their next drive. Cody Eiler returned the kickoff 55 yards to the Concordia 40 yard line. NWU moved the ball all the way to the Concordia 17 yard line where Anderson attempted a 34-yard field goal. Anderson’s kick was wide, his second miss of the day, and the Bulldogs held on to the slim 3-0 lead.
The teams traded possessions in the fourth quarter. Late in the game, Wesleyan had one more opportunity to tie the game. The Prairie Wolves moved the ball to the Bulldog 24 yard line. Anderson had yet another try to pull Wesleyan even, but his 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Concordia’s Dylan Heithoff. The Bulldogs then converted two key first downs to melt the rest of the time away.
Concordia finished with 260 yards on the day (144 passing, 116 rushing). The Bulldogs had 19 first downs in the game and held the advantage in time of possession. Shirey went 18-of-22 through the air for 144 yards on the day. Jake Griedl caught five passes for a game-high 77 yards. Five other Concordia receivers caught at least two passes in the contest. Walker rushed for 48 yards on just eight carries, while backup quarterback Cohl Tufford carried the ball 13 times for 39 yards.
Nebraska Wesleyan was held to 186 yards of total offense on the day (128 rushing, 63 passing). Running back Steve Fricke carried the ball 16 times for 85 yards. Quarterback Nate Hauptman connected on just 10-of-21 passes on the day for 63 yards and an interception.
Concordia was led defensively by Preston Harris, who totaled six tackles with one tackle for loss to go along with a pass breakup. Jerrod Fleming added 4.5 tackles on the day, and Heath Broekemeier had the lone interception in the game for the Bulldogs.
Concordia travels to Dakota Wesleyan University next Saturday.