SEWARD, Neb. – The Concordia University Football program has reached the final week of its 2022 regular season. The Bulldogs will welcome top-ranked Morningside to Seward on Saturday for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff. Prior to the game, Concordia will honor its senior class. It will then hope to build upon last week’s 45-10 win at Briar Cliff. Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad is 4-5 on the season. Meanwhile, the Mustangs enter the contest at 9-0.
Every phase contributed to the victory at Briar Cliff. The blowout helped bring back winning vibes after the Bulldogs dropped close ones to Dordt, 29-28, and No. 14 Midland, 41-31, over the previous two weeks. Now the Bulldogs will put their own productive passing game up against the defending national champions. Both Concordia and Morningside rank inside the top 10 nationally in passing offense, in terms of yards per game.
Head Coach Steve Ryan’s program has clinched a 12th straight GPAC championship and will expect to make another deep run in the NAIA playoffs. Few teams have had any success trying to slow down quarterback Joe Dolincheck, the 2021 NAIA National Player of the Year. However, Dolincheck’s status appears to be in question after he missed last week’s game due to injury. The Mustangs have rolled to blowout wins ever since edging No. 3 Northwestern, 30-29, in the season opener played in Sioux City. The explosive Morningside offense has even hit the 70-point mark three times since Oct. 8. Northwestern was the most recent team to beat the Mustangs (in the 2020 NAIA national semifinals).
Concordia (4-5, 4-5 GPAC) vs. No. 1 Morningside (9-0, 9-0 GPAC)
Saturday, Nov. 12 | 1 p.m.
Bulldog Stadium | Seward, Neb.
Webcast/Live Stats: Concordia Sports Network
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Parker Cyza and Ross Wurdeman
Online Tickets: HomeTown Ticketing (also sold on site)
*2022 national rankings out of 98 NAIA football programs
Offensive PPG: 26.4 (45th)
Defensive PPG: 22.0 (43rd)
Total Offense: 417.4 (13th)
Pass Offense: 277.7 (10th)
Rush Offense: 139.8 (45th)
Total Defense: 350.6 (56th)
Pass Defense: 185.9 (38th)
Rush Defense: 164.7 (68th)
Turnover +/-: +6
Offensive PPG: 57.7 (1st)
Defensive PPG: 14.0 (13th)
Total Offense: 574.0 (1st)
Pass Offense: 402.1 (1st)
Rush Offense: 171.9 (25th)
Total Defense: 297.8 (30th)
Pass Defense: 196.4 (52nd)
Rush Defense: 101.3 (27th)
Turnover +/-: +8
2022 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (27-30, 6th season)
Passing: DJ McGarvie – 198/334 (.593), 2,235 yards, 15 td, 4 int, 127.9 effic.
Rushing: Devin Zeigler – 140 rushes, 580 yards, 4.1 avg, 4 td
Receiving: Korrell Koehlmoos – 89 receptions, 989 yards, 11.1 avg, 11 td
Defense: Michael Grindey – 86 tackles, 4 tfl’s, 1 sack, 1 ff, 1 fr
Head Coach: Steve Ryan (217-41, 21st season)
Passing: Joe Dolincheck – 179/250 (.716), 2,935 yards, 35 td, 2 int, 214.8 effic.
Rushing: Ryan Cole – 152 rushes, 935 yards, 6.2 avg, 19 td
Receiving: Austin Johnson – 66 receptions, 1,284 yards, 19.5 avg, 16 td
Defense: Weston Schultz – 38 tackles, 10 tfl’s, 6 sacks, 2 ff
Concordia (4-5, 4-5 GPAC)
9/3 at Doane, L, 10-12
9/17 vs. Hastings, L, 17-21 (homecoming)
9/24 at (4) Northwestern, L, 10-34
10/1 at Dakota Wesleyan, W, 20-12
10/8 vs. Jamestown, W, 30-15
10/15 vs. Mount Marty, W, 47-24
10/22 vs. Dordt, L, 28-29
10/29 at (14) Midland, L, 31-41
11/5 at Briar Cliff, W, 45-10
11/12 vs. (1) Morningside, 1 p.m. (senior day)
Morningside (9-0, 9-0 GPAC)
9/3 vs. (3) Northwestern, W, 30-29
9/10 at (21) Dordt, W, 49-21
9/17 vs. Briar Cliff, W, 59-23
10/1 at (17) Midland, W, 47-12
10/8 vs. Hastings, W, 70-17
10/15 at Jamestown, W, 59-7
10/22 at Mount Marty, W, 77-0
10/29 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, W, 70-14
11/5 vs. Doane, W, 58-3
11/12 at Concordia, 1 p.m.
In the rankings
Concordia picked up three points in the 2022 NAIA preseason coaches’ poll but fell off the national radar due to the 0-3 start. The program’s most recent top 25 appearance came in November 2017 when they landed at No. 25. Current Massey Ratings list Concordia at No. 51 and Morningside at No. 1 in the NAIA. The Mustangs have made themselves comfortable with the top ranking in the nation. Since winning the national title last season, Morningside has been ranked No. 1 in all nine NAIA coaches’ polls this season.
GPAC preseason: 4th
Current Massey Ratings: 51st
GPAC preseason: 1st
Current Massey Ratings: 1st
Last time out
A 14-10 lead midway through the second quarter gave way to a rout at Memorial Field in Sioux City as the Bulldogs rattled off the final 31 points of the game. Concordia outgained Briar Cliff, 538-285, in the process of earning the 45-10 victory. Two touchdowns apiece were scored by receiver Korrell Koehlmoos (23- and 15-yard catches) and fullback Brandon Vega (one- and three-yard runs) while running backs Mark Arp and Devin Zeigler found the end zone once apiece. Ty Harold also connected on a 34-yard field goal. Quarterback DJ McGarvie threw both scoring tosses to Koehlmoos and finished his day 26-for-38 for 274 yards. Koehlmoos hauled in 15 receptions for 163 yards in another monster effort. Defensively, Concordia held the Chargers off the scoreboard in the second half. Both Isiaha Conner and Nick Leader came up with an interception apiece.
McGarvie breaks CUNE HOF’er Pimentel’s record
With his 274 passing yards at Briar Cliff, DJ McGarvie became Concordia’s program record holder for most passing yards in a single season. His 2,235 yards eclipsed the previous standard of 2,178 by Concordia Athletic Hall of Famer Jarrod Pimentel in 2001. In addition, McGarvie has set a new school standard for completions (198) in a season while tying the record for pass attempts (334) in a season. McGarvie broke Von Thomas’ record of 197 completions. On the NAIA national leaderboard, McGarvie ranks sixth in passing yards per game (279.4). Over the past six outings, McGarvie has posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 15-to-3. In his career, McGarvie has completed 328-of-577 passes (.568) for 3,719 yards and 34 touchdowns compared to 11 interceptions. McGarvie owns a record of 10-5 as a starting quarterback.
Last six games:
--at Dakota Wesleyan: 26/40, 255 yards, 3 td, 1 int
--vs. Jamestown: 28/41, 393 yards, 1 td, 0 int (rushing td)
--vs. Mount Marty: 24/34, 235 yards, 3 td, 0 int
--vs. Dordt: 34/67, 458 yards, 4 td, 1 int
--at Midland: 24/46, 296 yards, 2 td, 1 int (rushing td)
--at Briar Cliff: 26/38, 274 yards, 2 td, 0 int
Koehlmoos adds to school records
Korrell Koehlmoos has enjoyed the best statistical season for a receiver in Concordia history. While catching 15 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Briar Cliff, Koehlmoos broke the program single season record for receiving yards with 989 and tied the record for touchdown catches (11) in a season. The previous record for receiving yards was 951 by Clarence Woods in 1988. Not only that, the Pilger, Neb., native rose to the top of the career receptions list in the win over Jamestown on Oct. 8 and then set a new standard for career receiving yards in the victory over Mount Marty on Oct. 15. In 47 career collegiate games, Koehlmoos has caught 215 passes for 2,859 yards and 23 touchdowns. Koehlmoos sports NAIA national rankings this season of second in receptions (89 – also a school record), seventh in receiving yards (989) and eighth in receiving touchdowns (11). Koehlmoos needs 11 more yards to become the first Concordia receiver to ever reach 1,000 in a season.
Receiving yards, career
1. Korrell Koehlmoos – 2,859 (2018-present)
2. Jared Garcia – 2,495 (2014-17)
3. Ross Wurdeman – 2,458 (1998-01)
4. Clarence Woods – 2,011 (1984-88)
5. Eric Pralle – 1,974 (1987-1991)
1. Korrell Koehlmoos – 215 (2018-present)
2. Ross Wurdeman – 168 (1998-01)
3. Jared Garcia – 161 (2014-17)
4. Eric Pralle – 147 (1987-91)
5. Dan Danielczyk – 140 (1968-71)
Receiving TDs, career
1. Jared Garcia – 35 (2014-17)
2. Ross Wurdeman – 24 (1998-01)
3. Korrell Koehlmoos – 23 (2018-present)
4. Brian Naber – 17 (1967-70)
5. Marlin Zobel – 16 (1948-51)
Offense piles up yards
After the first three games of 2022, Concordia ranked 73rd nationally in total offense and 83rd in scoring offense. The numbers have rocketed skyward since halftime of the win over Dakota Wesleyan. The Bulldogs have moved up to No. 13 nationally in total offense with an average of 417.4 yards per game. If that number holds, the 2022 team would break a school record for total offense. The current record is 401.6 by the 2014 team. Concordia has totaled more than 400 yards in six straight games: 434, 552, 431, 499, 501 and 538. A big reason for those numbers has been McGarvie and the passing game. The Bulldogs rank No. 10 nationally in passing offense (277.7). McGarvie also ranks 10th among all NAIA quarterbacks in overall passing yards (2,235).
Lang breaks out
An injury has prevented tight end Garrett Schardt from competing in a fifth season of college football. While his absence has been unfortunate, Luke Lang has taken advantage of the opportunity and could push for First Team All-GPAC accolades at tight end. Lang reeled in three touchdown catches at Midland as part of a day that included five receptions for 77 yards. That contest at Midland marked the third straight game Lang had found the end zone. He has bumped his season totals to 33 catches for 508 yards and five touchdowns. Lang ranks second to Korrell Koehlmoos on the team in each of those categories. As a comparison, Schardt caught 32 passes for 504 yards and five touchdowns last season when he was named first team all-conference.
The defense shook off a tough outing at Midland and put together a fine performance at Briar Cliff, not allowing the Chargers to score in the second half. The unit has been solid overall in holding opponents to an average of 22.0 points per game. Four Bulldogs have collected at least 50 tackles this season: Michael Grindey (86), Gabe Knisley (66), Kam Baker (63) and Kyle Sterup (57). Other category leaders include Devon Polley in sacks (6.0) and tackles for loss (11), Baker in forced fumbles (four), Jayzen Armstrong in pass breakups (nine) and Isiaha Conner in interceptions (four). Among GPAC teams, Concordia ranks sixth in scoring defense (22.0) and sixth in total defense (350.6).
Next man up
It’s been a situation of next man up on the offensive line. The Bulldogs opened the season with an offensive line of (from left to right): Kaden Peters, Toby Hager, Johnny Robinson III, Christian Schlepp and Gavin Mull. In recent action, Robinson III, Schlepp and Mull have all sat out due to injuries. To help make up for that loss of beef up front, Concordia moved true freshman Carson Fehlhafer over from the defensive line. He made his first career start in the win over Mount Marty while playing at left guard. Jackson Anderson (center) and Blake Schlegel (right tackle) have also stepped into starting positions and helped the offense put together its best stretch of offensive football in several seasons.
Arp/Zeigler both go for 100+ yards in win
That offensive line came together last week to help both Mark Arp (130) and Devin Zeigler (102) break 100 yards rushing. Those two backs have received the lion’s share of the carries this season. Zeigler leads the team in rushing with 580 yards and four touchdowns on 140 attempts in 2022. Arp has carried the ball 67 times for 370 yards and a touchdown. The success last week bumped the team averages this season to 139.8 rushing yards per game and 4.0 rushing yards per attempt. Austin Jablonski (230 rushing yards and three touchdowns) has also factored into the run game. Jablonski is a former walk on at the University of Nebraska who began this season as the team’s starting quarterback.
Former Bulldogs make return to Seward
It will be a homecoming for two assistant coaches on the Morningside sideline: Reggie Corbin and Tarence Roby. Both Corbin and Roby played at Concordia and were starters. Roby was named an NAIA First Team All-American in 2017 when he served as a lockdown corner. As for Corbin, he started at quarterback and was also a member of the 2004-05 basketball team that finished as the national runner up. Corbin had previously served as the Offensive Coordinator on Daberkow’s staff.
Series vs. Morningside
It's been one-sided as Morningside is 19-1 all-time versus Concordia. That one win for the Bulldogs came in 2003 by a 34-19 score in Seward. Courtney Meyer was the Bulldogs’ head coach at the time. Concordia would like to forget last year’s meeting, which occurred in the 2021 season opener. The Mustangs won that matchup 63-7 while outgaining the Bulldogs, 652-254. The only score for Concordia came on DJ McGarvie’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cayden Beran late in the fourth quarter.
Morningside has become a standard setter in the GPAC and on the NAIA national scene. Not only has Steve Ryan’s program won 12 consecutive GPAC championships, it also has captured three of the past four NAIA national titles (2018, 2019 and 2021). A hallmark of the program has been an offense that decimates opponents. The ’22 Mustangs lead the NAIA by a wide margin in the categories of scoring offense, total offense and passing offense. Only Northwestern has held Morningside to fewer than 45 points in any game this season. The Mustangs won that showdown with the Red Raiders, 30-29, in the season opener. Morningside already has the GPAC title and NAIA playoff berth in hand, but it will likely be motivated to go for another undefeated season. If Joe Dolincheck doesn’t start this week at quarterback, freshman Luke Johannsen is likely to get the nod (as he did against Doane).