SEWARD, Neb. – For the second time in three seasons, the Concordia University football team will host Nebraska Wesleyan for its homecoming game. Kickoff from Bulldog Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday. In last season’s meeting, the Bulldogs dropped a 37-34 overtime decision in Lincoln despite 395 total yards (284 passing, 111 rushing) from quarterback Von Thomas.
Concordia is coming off a 34-21 win at Dordt last week. Meanwhile, the Prairie Wolves fell, 44-7, to No. 10 Doane.
Concordia (3-1, 2-1 GPAC) at Nebraska Wesleyan (2-3, 1-3 GPAC)
Saturday, Oct. 10 | 1 p.m.
Site: Seward, Neb.
Stadium: Bulldog Stadium
Radio: 104.9 Max Country (KTMX-FM)
Webcast: Concordia Sports Network
2015 Team Statistics
*National rank in parentheses
Offensive PPG: 26.8 (44th)
Defensive PPG: 12.8 (3rd)
Total Offense: 338.8 (61st)
Pass Offense: 155.5 (63rd)
Rush Offense: 183.3 (31st)
Total Defense: 217.0 (1st)
Pass Defense: 103.0 (1st)
Rush Defense: 114.0 (19th)
Turnover +/-: +3
Offensive PPG: 16.2 (72nd)
Defensive PPG: 37.6 (T-66th)
Total Offense: 281.8 (73rd)
Pass Offense: 177.4 (55th)
Rush Offense: 104.4 (73rd)
Total Defense: 452.4 (64th)
Pass Defense: 241.6 (63rd)
Rush Defense: 210.8 (59th)
Turnover +/-: 0
Head Coach: Vance Winter (31-38, 7th year)
Passing: TJ Austin – 33/74 (.446), 6 TD, 2 INT, 373 yds, 108.3 effic. (rushing: 33 att, 116 yds)
Rushing: Bryce Collins – 59 att, 313 yds, 5.3 avg, 1 TD (receiving: 9 rec, 59 yds, 0 TD)
Receiving: Jared Garcia – 11 rec, 143 yds, 13.0 avg, 2 TD
Defense: Trey Barnes – 24 tackles, 4.5 tfl’s, 3.0 sacks / LeDontrae Gooden – 24 tackles, 4.0 tfl’s, 3 INT
Head Coach: Brian Keller (106-90, 20th year)
Passing: Ben Green – 82/168 (.488), 6 TD, 7 INT, 883 yds, 96.4 effic. (rushing: 32 att, 80 yds, 2 TD)
Rushing: Joel Wiedel – 54 att, 209 yds, 3.9 avg, 1 TD
Receiving: Ryan Larsen – 18 rec, 323 yds, 17.9 avg, 2 TD
Defense: Brandon McGill – 49 tackles, 1.0 tfl, 1 INT
Collins joins the club
Junior running back Bryce Collins piled up 156 yards on the ground last week, pushing him past 2,000 rushing yards in his 24 career games as a Bulldog. Ranked seventh on Concordia’s all-time rushing list entering this season, the native of Boerne, Texas, now ranks fifth in program history with 2,033 career rushing yards. Collins has rushed for 100 yards or more nine times in his career and had averaged 4.8 yards per carry and 84.7 rush yards per game since arriving at Concordia in 2013. Collins has racked up 2,777 career all-purpose yards.
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-- ) – 2,033
6. Philip Elder (2002-05) – 2,027
Bulldog D remains No. 1
The stout Concordia defense held Dordt’s triple option offense to a season low 198 rushing yards in last week’s victory. The Bulldogs remain the NAIA’s top-ranked defense with an average of 217.0 yards allowed per game. Coordinator Patrick Daberkow’s unit also ranks first nationally in pass defense (103.0) and pass efficiency defense (72.8). Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 39-of-101 passes (.386) for 412 yards with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3-5. Concordia has allowed total yard figures of 78, 146, 347 and 297, respectively, over its first four games of 2015. The highest national defensive ranking in Daberkow’s first six seasons as coordinator occurred in 2013 when the Bulldogs finished fourth (285.5).
Camping out back
Impact plays have been a big part of Concordia’s strong start defensively. Last week the Bulldogs racked up 10 tackles in the Defender backfield. Five of those stops were made by senior linebacker Tait Sibbel (199 career tackles), who now has a team high 7.5 tackles for loss on the season. Through four games, Concordia has dropped its opponents for combined losses of 121 yards on 30 tackles in the backfield. Twelve different Bulldogs have registered at least one tackle for loss. Defensive end Trey Barnes is the team’s sack leader with three.
Bulldogs seek 4-1 start
Concordia has won at least three of its first four games for the second time in four years. The 2013 team, which won its first six games of the season, was the first Bulldog team to be 4-1 or better after five games since the 2001 GPAC championship team. The 2015 squad is aiming to become the fourth Concordia edition since 2000 to have at least four wins in the season’s opening five contests.
Best five-game starts since 2000
Junior safety LeDontrae Gooden continued his ball-hawking ways by picking off a pass for the third-straight game as part of the win at Dordt. Gooden ranks second among GPAC players with three interceptions. With the ball in his hands, the native of Sacramento, Calif., has proven dangerous. He has interception returns of 46, 45 (touchdown) and 24 yards. His 115 return yards off of picks is just off top five for most in a single season in program history. Darnell Woods, a 2013 NAIA All-American, owns the record with 176 interception return yards in 2012.
Winter equals Seevers
In the more than 90 years of the football program (first intercollegiate game in 1925), Concordia has had just nine head coaches. With Saturday’s win at Dordt, Vance Winter equaled John Seevers for the fifth most coaching victories. Winter has won 31 games since taking over the program in 2009. The 2013 Bulldogs (7-4) achieved the program’s first winning record since the 2001 co-GPAC championship season.
All-time Concordia coaches
Courtney Meyer (1990-2008) – 70-115-1
Larry Oetting (1977-89) – 63-64
Herb Meyer (1941-54) – 62-34-8
Walter Hellwege (1925-40) – 40-32-9
John Seevers (1970-76) – 31-32-3
Vance Winter (2009-- ) – 31-38
Ralph Starenko (1959-63) – 27-17
Ron Harms (1964-69) – 25-27-3
Kenneth Schroeder (1955-58) – 11-21
Star alums return
Two program record holders will be honored at Friday’s Concordia Athletics Hall of Fame banquet. Former tight end Ross Wurdeman, a 2002 graduate, will officially be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Wurdeman owns program career receiving records for catches (168), yards (2,458) and touchdowns (24). In addition, 2015 graduate Von Thomas will be recognized as the co-Concordia senior male athlete of the year for 2014-15. The Miami native completed his four-year career with program single-season records for touchdown passes (21), total offense (2,508), completions (197), passing attempts (334) and completion percentage (59.0). He owns program career records for total offense (7,260), passing touchdowns (49), total touchdowns (65), completions (510) and pass attempts (960).
Scouting Nebraska Wesleyan
Head coach Brian Keller is in his 20th season leading the Prairie Wolf football program. Nebraska Wesleyan enters Saturday’s game with a record of 2-3 with two of the three losses coming to teams ranked among the NAIA’s top 10 – Morningside and Doane. Nebraska Wesleyan graduated all four of its first or second team all-conference players from 2014: defensive lineman Phil Latimer, receiver Brooks Erhart, defensive back Seth Wardyn and receiver Connor Zumpfe in addition to quarterback Tyler Francis. Junior Ben Green assumed the role of starting quarterback this season after throwing just one pass prior to 2015. He threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns in the 27-17 season-opening win at then No. 21 Friends University. The Prairie Wolves are ranked 73rd nationally in total offense and 64th in total defense. Linebacker Brandon McGill is averaging 9.8 tackles per game (second in the GPAC).