The defense led the way, as Concordia University picked up a 10-0 GPAC football win over Hastings College on a damp and cool Saturday evening in Seward. Hastings College had three turnovers and totaled just 137 yards of total offense on the night. Concordia picked up its first win of the season to move to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in GPAC play. Hastings College dropped to 1-1 overall and 1-1 in the GPAC.
Concordia got on the board with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Kenny Zoeller (Spring, Texas) hit a 34-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 advantage. The Bulldogs missed an opportunity to add to the lead late in the first half. With just over two minutes remaining, Bulldog linebacker Jerrod Fleming (Houston, Texas) forced a fumble, and Langston Jones (Loveland, Colo.) recovered the ball deep in Hastings College territory. Zoeller missed on a 28-yard field goal attempt, however, and the Bulldogs settled for the 3-0 halftime advantage.
Early in the second half, Concordia again missed an opportunity to increase its lead. Hastings’ Victor Sapp fumbled following a Concordia punt, and the Bulldogs again took over deep in Bronco territory. Concordia was unable to move the football, and following a sack, the Bulldogs punted the ball away and maintained the slim 3-0 lead.
The Concordia defense and special teams came up huge on the next Hastings College possession. The Bulldogs forced three straight incomplete passes by Bronco quarterback John Dostal, and a blocked punt gave the ball back to Concordia inside the Hastings College 10-yard line. The Bulldog offense converted the golden opportunity into points, as quarterback Cohl Tufford (Richardson, Texas) found Derek Klaus (Beatrice, Neb.) on a 9-yard touchdown. The extra point by Zoeller was good, and Concordia jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
The 10-point advantage was more than enough for the Concordia defense. The Broncos totaled 86 rushing yards and just 51 passing yards in the game. Hastings had just 10 first downs to go along with the three costly turnovers. Time of possession also played a huge role, as Concordia held the ball for over 40 minutes in the win. Hastings was just 3-of-14 on third downs and 0-of-3 on fourth downs on the night.
“It was a tough night to move the ball, but I think both teams also left a lot of plays out on the field,” said Vance Winter, head coach of the Bulldogs. “Offensively, I’m just pleased we didn’t turn the ball over, and our defense played outstanding, the way we expect them to play.”
Jerrod Fleming had a huge night to lead the Bulldog defense. Fleming totaled nine tackles to go along with a forced fumble and an interception. Ben Klein (Dallas, Texas) and Drew Baxter (Rockwall, Texas) combined for five defensive breakups in the contest.
Concordia finished with 184 yards of total offense (110 rushing, 74 passing). Tufford was 7-of-13 on the night for 68 yards and the touchdown. Freshman running back Ryan Adams (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) tied for game-high honors with 69 rushing yards, and Klaus hauled in four catches for 32 yards and the touchdown.
Dostal was just 7-of-31 through the air for 51 yards and an interception. Keenen Ballage rushed for 69 yards on 21 carries for the Broncos.
It was a crazy day in GPAC football, as both #3 Morningside College and #16 Northwestern College suffered losses. Coach Winter talked about Saturday’s action around the conference and how his team needs to move forward.
“Looking at all of the scores from today, I’m not really that surprised,” noted Winter. “Every week, you need to prepare and play your best to win in this league. Our defensive coaches put together a great game plan this week, and our guys executed. We still have a lot of room to improve, but tonight was a good start.”
Concordia travels to Dordt College next weekend for a matchup against the Defenders. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Sioux Center, Iowa.