SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University football team will look to shake off a one-point home loss to Dakota State University when it hosts Dordt on Saturday as part of homecoming week on campus. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. from Bulldog Stadium.
“Hopefully we’ll improve this week,” head coach Vance Winter said at Tuesday’s Bulldog Booster Club gathering. “I believe we have the talent and the guys to turn into a good football team. We’re focused right now on fixing our mistakes. We have to play better.”
Dordt (0-4, 0-3 GPAC) at Concordia (2-2, 1-1 GPAC)
Saturday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m.
Site: Seward, Neb.
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
Play-by-play: Frank Greene
2014 Team Statistics
Offensive PPG: 30.0 (34th)
Defensive PPG: 28.3 (T-47th)
Total Offense: 390.8 (36th)
Pass Offense: 192.0 (53rd)
Rush Offense: 198.8 (23rd)
Total Defense: 443.3 (73rd)
Pass Defense: 245.0 (63rd)
Rush Defense: 198.3 (64th)
Turnover +/-: +3 (T-19th)
Offensive PPG: 7.3 (87th)
Defensive PPG: 45.8 (T-82nd)
Total Offense: 177.3 (88th)
Pass Offense: 83.5 (84th)
Rush Offense: 93.8 (82nd)
Total Defense: 471.5 (78th)
Pass Defense: 236.3 (58th)
Rush Defense: 235.3 (73rd)
Turnover +/-: -5 (T-76th)
Head Coach: Vance Winter (25-33, 6th year)
Passing: Von Thomas – 52/108 (.481), 9 TD, 2 INT, 768 yards, 131.7 Effic.
Rushing: Von Thomas – 52 att, 330 yards, 6.3 avg, 5 TD
Receiving: Jared Garcia – 19 rec, 313 yards, 16.5 avg, 4 TD
Defense: Kyle Rakow – 32 tackles, 6.0 tfl’s, 3.5 sacks
Head Coach: Greg Youngblood (4-22, 3rd year)
Passing: Taylan Seaman – 11/47 (.234), 1 TD, 3 INT, 185 yards, 50.7 Effic.
Rushing: Daniel Fennig – 58 att, 174 yards, 3.0 avg, 1 TD
Receiving: Jason Miller – 12 rec, 140 yards, 11.7 avg, 1 TD
Defense: Vanoy Harris – 46 tackles, 4.0 tfl’s, 1 sack
Too close for comfort
Concordia’s first four games have been decided by a combined margin of 19 points. The Bulldogs are the only team in the GPAC whose first four contests have all been won or lost by seven points or fewer. In each game this season, either Concordia or its opponent has possessed the ball in the final two minutes with a chance to tie or take the lead.
First four games
9/6 – at (15) Sterling; W, 21-15
9/13 – at Hastings; L, 43-48
9/20 – vs. Midland; W, 35-28
9/27 – vs. Dakota State; L, 21-22
With 244 total yards in last week’s loss, senior quarterback Von Thomas pushed his career total to 6,178 yards over 35 games. The native of Miami, Fla., needs 133 total yards to tie Jarrod Pimentel’s (1998-2001) school record of 6,311. Thomas’s 51 total touchdowns (37 passing, 14 rushing) are one shy of Pimentel’s program record of 52 total touchdowns (49 passing, three rushing). Pimentel, a member of the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame, led the 2001 Bulldogs to a co-GPAC title and berth in the NAIA football playoffs.
While Concordia looks to improve upon a defense that ranks 73rd nationally in total yards allowed per game (443.3), the production of defensive linemen Kyle Rakow and Michael Gill has served as a bright spot. The duo combined for 25 tackles and four sacks last week against Dakota State. Rakow is off to a tremendous start in his senior year, already amassing career highs in tackles (32), tackles for loss (6.0) and sacks (3.5). Rakow (Pleasant Dale, Neb.), who ranks third among GPAC players in sacks, also has been credited with three quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a blocked PAT this season.
Meanwhile, Gill (Ogallala, Neb.) came up with 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks versus Dakota State. Gill ranks third on the team with 28 tackles (behind Nakemm Evans and Rakow). He has made 3.0 tackles for loss.
Barnes makes shift to other side of ball
Seward High School product Trey Barnes made his first appearance at linebacker at the collegiate level last week. The move came after Barnes had played his first 13 career games at running back, piling up 575 yards and seven touchdowns on 156 carries. Early-season injuries necessitated Barnes’ move to the defensive side of the ball. The Seward native recorded five tackles and two pass break ups in his first action at linebacker.
“We hope it gives us a little more depth and athleticism on the perimeter,” Winter said after the Dakota State game. “I thought he did some nice stuff (Saturday). He’s a good athlete and a good player. We expect him to do good things.”
Early returns promising on punts
Thus far, Concordia has had good success both punting and receiving punts. Junior punter Sandy Fisher pinned Dakota State inside its own 20 on five of his eight boots on the day. His season punting average of 38.3 on 23 attempts ranks fourth in the conference. His work has helped the Bulldogs down 10 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line this season.
On the flip side, Concordia ranks 13th among all NAIA teams with an average of 16.4 yards per punt return. Five different Bulldogs have returned at least one punt this season. Freshman Logan Otte leads the way with three returns for 67 yards. Last week Carey Harrison set the offense up in Dakota State territory with a 23-yard punt return.
Dordt continues to try to find its footing in its third season under head coach Greg Youngblood. The Defenders have been outscored by a combined total of 183-29 through their four losses to begin the campaign. Dordt ranks last among all NAIA programs in total offense (177.3) and 78th in total defense (471.5). On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Vanoy Harris has racked up 46 tackles to lead the conference. The Defenders have lost nine-straight games since a 56-27 win over Trinity Bible College on Oct. 12, 2013.
Concordia has won six of the seven meetings all-time with Dordt. Last season the Bulldogs defeated the Defenders 32-0 in Sioux Center, Iowa. Concordia has won all three matchups with Dordt at Bulldog Stadium, including a 52-12 victory on Sept. 22, 2012.