Game Notes: Bulldogs look to get into win column in trip to Jamestown

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 4, 2023 in Football

SEWARD, Neb. – Despite coming off a loss, the Concordia University Football team has reason to be confident moving forward. The Bulldogs were within one score of top-ranked Northwestern in the final four minutes of the season opening shootout inside Bulldog Stadium. Concordia plans to pack that same offensive production on the road as it prepares to travel to Jamestown, N.D., this weekend. Kickoff from Taylor Stadium/Rollie Greeno Field is slated for 1 p.m. CT on Saturday. It will be the sixth all-time meeting between Concordia and Jamestown.

Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad fell by a 48-35 score at the hands of the defending national champion Red Raiders. Quarterback DJ McGarvie threw for 413 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulldogs went blow for blow with Northwestern in the second half. A dynamic passing game figures to be a hallmark of this Concordia Football team. The 2022 squad broke a program record for total offense per game (407.5) – and this offense is shaping up to be even more explosive.

Jamestown is looking to build upon a 4-7 mark in 2022. The four wins were the most for the Jimmies since they began competing as a GPAC member in 2018. Head Coach Brian Mistro is in his fifth season leading the program. Jamestown fell at Midland this past Saturday, 38-17, while being outgained, 359-230. The quarterback duties for the Jimmies have been split between Nick Martinez and Ty Monson after graduating Cade Torgerson. Jamestown was picked seventh in the GPAC preseason coaches’ poll.

Concordia (0-1, 0-1 GPAC) at Jamestown (0-2, 0-1 GPAC)
Saturday, Sept. 9 | 1 p.m.
Taylor Stadium/Rollie Greeno Field | Jamestown, N.D.
Webcast: Jamestown YouTube
Live Stats: PrestoStats
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Parker Cyza and Ross Wurdeman
Online Tickets: HomeTown Ticketing (also sold on site)


Team Statistics

*2023 national rankings out of 96 NAIA football programs

Offensive PPG: 35.0 (29th)
Defensive PPG: 48.0 (80th)
Total Offense: 529.0 (4th)
Pass Offense: 413.0 (1st)
Rush Offense: 116.0 (45th)
Total Defense: 614.0 (88th)
Pass Defense: 227.0 (56th)
Rush Defense: 387.0 (87th)
Turnover +/-: +1

Offensive PPG: 16.0 (T-59th)
Defensive PPG: 30.5 (55th)
Total Offense: 282.5 (60th)
Pass Offense: 163.0 (60th)
Rush Offense: 119.5 (43rd)
Total Defense: 345.5 (48th)
Pass Defense: 224.5 (55th)
Rush Defense: 121.0 (43rd)
Turnover +/-: -2


Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (27-32, 7th season)
Passing: DJ McGarvie – 33/53 (.623), 413 yards, 3 td, 1 int, 142.6 effic.
Rushing: Devin Zeigler – 19 rushes, 102 yards, 5.4 avg, 1 td
Receiving: Adam Van Cleave – 11 receptions, 140 yards, 12.7 avg, 0 td
Defense: Michael Grindey – 10 tackles, 1 int

Head Coach: Brian Mistro (9-34, 5th season)
Passing: Nick Martinez – 14/28 (.500), 168 yards, 2 td, 1 int, 116.8 effic.
Rushing: Nick Martinez – 20 rushes, 92 yards, 4.6 avg, 0 td
Receiving: Ryan Collins – 4 receptions, 74 yards, 18.5 avg, 1 td
Defense: Caleb Ritter – 11 tackles, 3 tfl’s, 1 sack


Concordia (0-1, 0-1 GPAC)
9/2 vs. (1) Northwestern, L, 35-48
9/9 at Jamestown, 1 p.m.
9/16 at (25) Dordt, 1 p.m.
9/23 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m. (homecoming)
9/30 vs. Briar Cliff, 6 p.m.
10/7 vs. (4) Morningside, 1 p.m.
10/14 vs. Hastings, 1 p.m.
10/28 at Midland, 1 p.m.
11/4 vs. Doane, 1 p.m. (senior day)
11/11 at Mount Marty, 1 p.m.

Jamestown (0-2, 0-1 GPAC)
8/24 at Valley City State, L, 15-23
9/2 at Midland, L, 17-38
9/9 vs. Concordia, 1 p.m.
9/16 at Hastings, 1 p.m.
9/23 vs. Doane, 1 p.m.
10/7 vs. Mount Marty, 1 p.m.
10/14 vs. (25) Dordt, 1 p.m.
10/21 at (4) Morningside, 1 p.m.
10/28 at Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
11/4 vs. Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
11/11 at (1) Northwestern, 1 p.m.

In the rankings
Concordia landed at No. 6 in the 2023 GPAC preseason coaches’ poll and is off the national radar to begin the campaign. The program’s most recent top 25 appearance came in November 2017 when they checked in at No. 25. Current Massey Ratings list Concordia at No. 41 and Jamestown at No. 72 in the NAIA. The most recent NAIA top 25 appearance for Jamestown came in August of 2009.

GPAC preseason: 6th
Current Massey Ratings: 41st

GPAC preseason: 7th
Current Massey Ratings: 72nd

Last time out
The season opener resulted in a loss, but the Bulldogs looked the part of a team that has a chance to exceed its preseason placement of sixth in the GPAC coaches’ poll. With quarterback DJ McGarvie slinging it around the yard, Concordia piled up 529 total yards on a Northwestern program that allowed an average of just 226.6 yards per game in 2022. Following a Michael Grindey interception just after halftime, the Bulldogs and Red Raiders combined to score touchdowns on the next eight possessions in a row. Concordia still had a fighting chance when McGarvie delivered a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Luke Lang with 7:45 left in the game. That score cut the deficit to 41-35. Northwestern sealed the game with a Jalyn Gramstad touchdown run and an interception in the closing minutes. The potent Red Raider offense racked up 614 yards, including 252 on the ground from running back Konner McQuillan. The Bulldogs had hoped to knock off Northwestern for the first time since 2016.

Kickoff time adjusted for Sept. 30 game versus Briar Cliff
The Concordia University, Nebraska Athletics Department has announced a change to the kickoff time for the home matchup versus Briar Cliff on Saturday, Sept. 30. Instead of a 1 p.m. start, the contest will get underway at 6 p.m. CT underneath the lights at Bulldog Stadium. It will be the lone night game of the 2023 season for Head Coach Patrick Daberkow's squad.

Coach Daberkow + staff
Patrick Daberkow’s history at Concordia dates back to his first season as a Bulldog football player in 2003. This is Daberkow’s 16th season as part of the program’s staff – seventh as head coach. He served as defensive coordinator for seven years before being named as head coach in December 2016. Daberkow assumed offensive play calling duties in 2022. Meanwhile, his full-time staff includes Defensive Coordinator Corby Osten, Special Teams Coordinator Trent Laune and Assistant Coach Grady Koch. A couple of significant additions to the staff this season are Kevin Crume (former Nebraska Wesleyan assistant) and Greg Nelson (former Lincoln Lutheran head coach). Daberkow’s record stood at 27-31 at the conclusion of six seasons. His most successful year was a 7-3 record in 2021.

McGarvie continues march towards top of passing charts
Thanks to the second 400-yard passing game of his career, DJ McGarvie moved up a rung on the program’s all-time passing yards list. The Lincoln North Star High School alum now ranks No. 4 in that category with 4,450 yards. He also comes in at No. 4 for passing touchdowns in the history of Concordia Football. McGarvie reached 40 career passing touchdowns after totaling three last week versus Northwestern. All that production has come in 20 career games (17 starts) for McGarvie. He is the leading returning passer in the GPAC in terms of passing yards per game (283.7 in 2022). According to Max Preps, McGarvie threw for 3,130 yards and 25 touchdowns in 26 career high school games at Lincoln North Star.

Concordia all-time passing yards leaders
1. Jarrod Pimentel – 6,435
2. Von Thomas – 5,662
3. Rod Giesselmann – 5,519
4. DJ McGarvie – 4,450
5. Kurt Earl – 4,158

Concordia all-time passing touchdowns leaders
1. Von Thomas – 49
1. Jarrod Pimentel – 49
3. Rod Giesselmann – 47
4. DJ McGarvie – 40
5. Kurt Earl – 37

Receiving options aplenty
McGarvie completed passes to six different receivers in the season opener. Despite the loss of All-American Korrell Koehlmoos, the wide receiver and tight end rooms are plenty talented to help make the passing game sizzle. Newcomer Adam Van Cleave (Columbus, Neb.) led the way last week with 11 receptions for 140 yards. Van Cleave is a transfer from the University of Nebraska (where he was a student only). Also a Nebraska transfer and former Cornhusker walk on, Austin Jablonski is in line for a big year after getting acclimated to the Bulldog offense in 2022. Jablonski hauled in nine catches for 122 yards and two scores versus Northwestern. The receiver corps also include Carsen Arline (40 grabs in 2022) and Max Bartels while the tight end group is headlined by Luke Lang. One of the GPAC’s top returning tight ends, Lang got his season started with three receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern. He’s backed at that position by Daylan Russell.

Grindey heads defense
The defense will attempt to shore itself up this week after struggling to contain Northwestern. As one of the leaders of the defense, returning First Team All-GPAC linebacker Michael Grindey came up with his first career interception in last week’s opener. The Chandler, Ariz., native equaled a team high with 10 tackles in the defeat. Grindey has accumulated 119 tackles in 16 career games at Concordia. He has a unique story in that he spent his first two years of college attending Creighton University and playing club rugby. Grindey then took a year away from college and helped coach a high school football team in Arizona. In addition, this past summer, Grindey worked as an intern within strength and conditioning for the Cornhusker football program.

Sterup makes big play
Two key turnovers forced by the Bulldog defense gave Concordia a shot last week. The first occurred early in the second quarter when the Red Raiders’ Logan Meyer fumbled near the goal line. It was forced and recovered in the end zone by Concordia defensive end Kyle Sterup. (Replays proved the officials ruled correctly on the play). A 6-foot-5 native of Osceola, Neb., Sterup enjoyed a fine 2022 season that saw him record 63 tackles, 11.5 stops for loss and five sacks. The Bulldogs believe the play up front will improve from last week. The defensive line also features 2022 Second Team All-GPAC run stuffer Devon Polley, who made 15 tackles for loss last season. The other starter alongside Polley and Sterup last week was Carson Fehlhafer, who started several games on the offensive line in 2022 after injuries struck that unit.

O-line beefed up, prepared for step forward
The passing game popped last season and the ground game improved enough to churn out 3.8 yards per carry. The Bulldogs would like to see that number move above 4.0 behind a more experienced (and hopefully healthier) offensive line. A First Team All-GPAC honoree in 2020, Christian Schlepp is back for a fifth year inside the program. The projected starting five averages a weight of 283 pounds with tackles who stand at 6-5 and 6-6, respectively. The experienced returners also include Jackson Anderson, Toby Hager, Nathan Miller, Gavin Mull and Blake Schlegel. The biggest loss here is 2022 Second Team All-GPAC award winner Kaden Peters. Others who saw action last week were Cohen Carpenter and Seth Moore.

Arp/Zeigler: 1-2 punch
Not only did the Bulldogs have two 100-yard receivers last week, they also had a 100-yard rusher in Devin Zeigler (19 carries for 102 yards). A native of Houston, Texas, Zeigler has returned for his fifth year inside the program. Zeigler has totaled 1,107 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his Concordia career. He will share the running back duties with Mark Arp, who enjoyed a productive day of his own last week. Arp rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 49 yards against the Red Raiders. The duo of Arp and Zeigler combined for 961 rushing yards in 2022.

Freshmen take over kicking game
Gone is last year’s kicker/punter combination of Ty Harold and Korrell Koehlmoos. In their place have steppeda group of freshmen. Special Teams Coordinator Trent Laune has turned to Peyton Atwood for placekicking, Jayson Guthard for punting and Admir Mujkic for kickoff duties. Atwood successfully made all five PAT tries last week while Guthard averaged 28.2 yards on four punts. Concordia did not attempt a field goal versus Northwestern.

Series vs. Jamestown
The two programs had never met until Jamestown became a member of the GPAC. The first two meetings (2018 and 2019) took place in North Dakota and were both decided by three-point margins with the two sides splitting those games. The Bulldogs moved to 4-1 all-time against the Jimmies with last season’s 30-15 victory in Seward. Concordia scored the game’s first 23 points and mounted 552 total yards – 393 of them coming through the air via DJ McGarvie. Korrell Koehlmoos caught 12 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Lukas Coe led the way with 10 tackles and an interception.

Scouting Jamestown
In year five of Head Coach Brian Mistro’s tenure, Jamestown is reshaping its offensive identity after graduating productive quarterback Cade Torgerson, who threw for 2,553 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. That could lead the Jimmies to becoming more of a run-oriented squad. Through the first two games of this season, quarterback Nick Martinez leads the team in rushing with 92 yards. Jamestown has started 0-2 with losses to Valley City State University (N.D.), 23-15, and to Midland, 38-17. The program continues to seek its first winning season since it went 7-3 in 2008. The Jimmies qualified for the NAIA playoffs in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007. Jamestown’s stay in the GPAC might not be much longer if the institution is accepted into the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which is affiliated with NCAA Division II. It was reported on Aug. 22 that Jamestown is in the process of applying for membership.