Season opener spoiled at No. 3 Morningside

By Jacob Knabel on Sep. 4, 2021 in Football

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Concordia University Football program drew the ultimate test in its 2021 season opener on Saturday (Sept. 4) night as it invaded the home field of 10-time defending GPAC champion Morningside. The Mustangs looked the part of the No. 3 team in the NAIA while racking up 652 total yards in the process of routing the Bulldogs, 63-7, in Sioux City, Iowa. In game one of year five of his college football career, Concordia All-American linebacker Lane Napier made 12 tackles.

Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad will have to flush this one as they attempt to regroup. The Bulldogs are 2-3 in season openers during Daberkow’s tenure.

Based on its showing underneath the lights on Saturday, Morningside looks like it has put together another potential national title contender. Quarterback Joe Dolincheck and the Mustang passing game showcased an aerial assault that resulted in 515 passing yards and six touchdowns. Dolincheck completed 29-of-35 attempts for 461 yards and five touchdowns. Talented receivers Zach Norton, Reid Jurgensmeier and Austin Johnson each recorded at least 97 receiving yards. The running game (137 yards) took a back seat to the thriving passing attack.

As a sign of how this night went, Concordia fumbled away a chance to cut into a 21-0 deficit early in the second quarter. The turnover followed a 47-yard pass play from Bulldog quarterback Wyatt Ehlers to Cayden Beran. It gave Concordia first and goal at the 10. This marked the second career start for Ehlers, now in his third year in the program. He finished 13-for-24 for 148 yards.

Morningside was ferocious along its defensive line while consistently putting pressure on Ehlers. The Mustangs recorded seven sacks and limited the Bulldogs to an average of 2.2 yards per rush. Returning first team All-GPAC running back Jonah Weyand ran for 58 tough yards on 15 carries. Devin Zeigler added 36 rushing yards on four attempts.

At last, the Bulldogs got on the board with 1:21 left in the game. That’s when backup quarterback DJ McGarvie found Beran for an 11-yard touchdown connection in the left corner of the end zone. The scoring toss finished off a seven-play, 70-yard drive. Beran led the receiver group with three grabs for 80 yards and a touchdown. Davonte Mouton caught two passes for 39 yards and Korrell Koehlmoos reeled in four receptions for 31 yards.

Morningside has won 48 consecutive regular season games and had its way in virtually every statistical category on Saturday. The Mustangs averaged 8.3 yards per play while holding Concordia to 4.2 yards per play. While Napier’s 12 tackles were a team high, three other Bulldogs registered at least eight stops: Caydren Cox (nine), Kam Baker (eight) and Michael Grindey (eight).

The Bulldogs will host their home opener next Saturday (Sept. 11) when Briar Cliff (0-2, 0-1 GPAC) pays a visit to Bulldog Stadium for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff. The Chargers began GPAC play on Saturday with a 17-3 home loss to Doane while under the direction of first-year head coach Shane LaDage. In last season’s Concordia-Briar Cliff matchup, the Bulldogs won by a 24-9 score in Sioux City.