SEWARD, Neb. – A run of three-straight in-state GPAC rivals comes to a conclusion on Saturday when a pair of top 25 squads meet inside Bulldog Stadium. The 23rd-ranked Concordia University football team welcomes No. 6 Doane on Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff. It will be Military Personnel Appreciation Day on the Concordia campus. In addition, the 2015 NAIA national tournament qualifying Bulldog softball team will be recognized at halftime.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 41-38 overtime win at Midland after storming back from a 35-14 deficit. On the other hand, Doane enjoyed a bye last week following a 42-17 victory over No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan on Oct. 10.
2015 Team Statistics
*National rank in parentheses
Offensive PPG: 32.5 (28th)
Defensive PPG: 17.2 (12th)
Total Offense: 395.3 (38th)
Pass Offense: 199.0 (46th)
Rush Offense: 196.3 (29th)
Total Defense: 249.3 (3rd)
Pass Defense: 130.7 (2nd)
Rush Defense: 117.0 (16th)
Turnover +/-: +5 (T-13th)
Offensive PPG: 38.3 (T-13th)
Defensive PPG: 11.3 (1st)
Total Offense: 422.2 (27th)
Pass Offense: 182.8 (58th)
Rush Offense: 239.3 (12th)
Total Defense: 267.8 (4th)
Pass Defense: 174.5 (16th)
Rush Defense: 93.3 (1st)
Turnover +/-: +1 (T-37th)
Head Coach: Vance Winter (33-38, 7th year)
Passing: TJ Austin – 49/97 (.505), 8 TD, 2 INT, 622 yds, 127.5 effic. (rushing: 64 att, 357 yds, 3 TD)
Rushing: Bryce Collins – 90 att, 573 yds, 6.4 avg, 5 TD (receiving: 18 rec, 190 yds, TD)
Receiving: Jared Garcia – 23 rec, 326 yds, 14.2 avg, 4 TD
Defense: Tait Sibbel – 33 tackles, 11.5 tfl’s, 4 pbu’s, 1 INT / Trey Barnes – 41 tackles, 7.0 tfl’s, 5.0 sacks
Head Coach: Matt Franzen (48-40, 9th year)
Passing: Brandon Stuart – 52/103 (.505), 9 TD, 5 INT, 695 yds, 126.3 effic.
Rushing: Nate Meier – 131 att, 837 yds, 6.4 avg, 9 TD
Receiving: Jacob Cornelius – 12 rec, 278 yds, 23.2 avg, 5 TD
Defense: Garrett Borcher – 44 tackles, 5.0 tfl’s, 2.0 sacks, 1 INT
In the rankings
On Monday Concordia made its return to the national rankings after failing to crack the top 25 during the 2014 season. Ranked 23rd this week, the Bulldogs have earned a spot in the national coaches’ poll a total of seven times under head coach Vance Winter. The 2013 Bulldogs rose as high as 14th after a 6-0 start and broke a rankings drought of more than 10 years for Concordia. During the GPAC era (2000-present), the Bulldogs have garnered a spot in the top 25 on 18 occasions. The 2001 co-GPAC championship team peaked at No. 6 and was rated seventh in the postseason poll.
Senior quarterback Garrett Folchert triggered the comeback that spoiled Midland’s homecoming last week. The native of Ogallala, Neb., threw for 315 yards and fired touchdown passes of 75, 17, six and 10 yards. On a critical fourth and goal from the Midland 10, Folchert improvised and found Brandon Luetchens on a backside route for a game-tying touchdown with 2:45 left in regulation. Folchert is the first Bulldog quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards in a game since Jarrod Pimentel put up 333 yards through the air in a 31-17 win over Nebraska Wesleyan on Oct. 20, 2001. Entering this season, Folchert had attempted just 11 passes in his collegiate career.
Barnes named GPAC Defensive Player of the Week
For the first time this season, a Concordia football player earned a weekly award from the GPAC. On Monday junior defensive end Trey Barnes collected defensive player of the week honors from the league after filling up the stat sheet at Midland. He recorded 11 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in the victory. The Seward High School product is a key piece for a defense that ranks third in the NAIA for fewest yards per game allowed (249.3). Barnes ranks second among GPAC players with five sacks. He is third on the team with 41 tackles.
Junior running back Bryce Collins, a first team all-conference selection in 2014, has ramped up his production over the last few weeks. The native of Boerne, Texas, gave Bulldog fans thrills by taking a short pass route 75 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter at Midland. He then took a fourth-and-one carry 16 yards for the game-winning score in overtime. He piled up 243 total yards (125 receiving, 118 rushing) while becoming the first Bulldog in the GPAC era to post more than 100 rushing and receiving yards in the same game. That productivity pushed Collins above 3,000 career all-purpose yards (3,168). Collins ranks fifth on the program’s all-time rushing list (see list below).
Concordia 2,000-yard rushers
1. Cleve Wester (1982-85) – 3,658
2. Gary Seevers (1953-56) – 3,128
3. Alex Alvarez (1999-03) – 2,959
4. JaMaine Lewis (2004-07) – 2,731
5. Bryce Collins (2013-- ) – 2,293
6. Philip Elder (2002-05) – 2,027
Garcia takes two
Following a record-breaking season in 2014, Jared Garcia has reeled in four more touchdown passes in 2015. Garcia hauled in a pair of scoring tosses from Folchert as part of the comeback effort at Midland, pushing his career touchdown reception total to 15. His 11 touchdown catches in 2014 set a new program single-season standard. He caught eight balls for 102 yards, marking his second career 100-yard receiving game. The native of Pearland, Texas, ranks 13th among GPAC players with 326 receiving yards.
Coordinator Curran White’s offense has eclipsed the 40-point and 500-yard barriers in each of the last two weeks while torching the Nebraska Wesleyan and Midland defenses. The Bulldogs have been especially productive in the run game over their past three games, churning out 767 yards on 118 attempts (6.5 yards per carry). Collins has rushed for at least 118 yards in all three outings. The running game has also been boosted by TJ Austin, whose 357 rushing yards are the most of any GPAC quarterback.
Series versus Doane
Doane has dominated in recent years, winning each of the last nine meetings with Concordia. The Bulldogs last defeated the Tigers in 2005 in a game decided by a 23-10 score in Crete. In last year’s contest at Doane, Concordia raced out to a 20-0 lead after Collins sped 67 yards to the end zone. The Bulldogs failed to score the rest of the way in a game quarterback Von Thomas was forced to leave early from due to injury. Doane’s Clayton Moore scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run with 12:44 left in the fourth quarter and the Tigers eked out a 23-20 victory.
Behind GPAC leading rusher Nate Meier (837 rushing yards), Doane is off to a perfect 6-0 start that includes wins over No. 10 Northwestern and No. 12 Dakota Wesleyan. The Tigers have a balanced team, ranking first in the nation in scoring defense (11.3) and 13th in scoring offense (38.3). Head coach Matt Franzen’s program has taken off since 2011, posting a combined record of 33-13 during that time. Other than its 28-21 win over Northwestern, Doane has flattened opponents, winning its five other games by margins of 47, 21, 25, 37 and 25. The Tigers were ranked 22nd in the preseason poll and have steadily risen to their current position at No. 6.