Bulldogs fall victim to No. 3 Morningside in blowout defeat

By Jacob Knabel on Oct. 7, 2023 in Football

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Bulldogs forced Morningside to punt on the game’s opening possession on Saturday (Oct. 7), but it was all downhill from there for the visitors. The third-ranked Mustangs got on the board first via a defensive touchdown and cruised to a 62-6 rout of the Concordia University Football team. Morningside celebrated its homecoming by piling up 597 total yards of offense.

In the 2023 season opener, Head Coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad pushed No. 1 Northwestern for all four quarters (48-35 loss). The Bulldogs were unable to bottle up that type of effort in Sioux City, Iowa, where they slipped to 2-4 overall.

“Turnovers definitely hurt us,” Daberkow said. “Sometimes it’s just about simple fundamental football and doing the basic things at a high level. That’s something that we have taken a lot of pride in up to this point, as far as not fumbling the football. That was a surprise today. We didn’t execute on the simple things. We’ll have to do that better moving forward.”

Concordia fumbled away its first two offensive possessions, leading to 10 quick points for Morningside. That wasn’t a good sign with the margin for error already tight against a team with the Mustangs’ firepower. Things got worse when Morningside quarterback Cash Parker found Zach Norton for touchdown connections of 28 and 34 yards in the first quarter in running the score to 24-0 after 15 minutes. At that point, the Mustangs were well on their way to a fifth straight blowout victory within conference play.

The deficit grew to 55-0 before the Bulldogs finally cracked the scoreboard with DJ McGarvie’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Austin Jablonski. The touchdown completed an impressive 16-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter. Concordia made one more trip to the red zone in the fourth quarter via an eight-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a turnover on downs.

Parker enjoyed an efficient 20-for-27, 284-yard passing day while up against a young Bulldog secondary. Parker threw for four scores, three of which went to Norton, who amassed 140 receiving yards on nine grabs. Jaylen Burch paced the rushing attack with 133 yards on 11 attempts. The Bulldog defense did not have much success getting off the field as Morningside (6-0, 5-0 GPAC) picked up 29 first downs and went 7-for-11 on third downs.

Said Daberkow, “They’re a very physical team. They have a ton of depth. They’re well-coached. They outplayed us and outcoached us today. We’re going to learn from it and move forward. There are lessons to learn from this … Three starters in the secondary were freshmen. There’s a lot of learning going on about what it takes to play at an elite level. I think the character of our group can handle the lessons that needed to be learned.”

McGarvie finished his day 19-for-37 for 179 yards and a touchdown. His top target was Jablonski, who hauled in six passes for 56 yards. Daylan Russell and Max Bartels made three receptions apiece. In the running game, Devin Zeigler carried 16 times for 70 yards and Mark Arp rushed 12 times for 58 yards. Defensively, CJ Dyhrkopp led Concordia with nine tackles and a stop for loss. Carson Core collected two tackles in the backfield and broke up a pass.

The Bulldogs will be on the road for the second straight week as they prepare to play at Hastings (3-4, 2-4 GPAC) next Saturday (Oct. 14). Kickoff from Lloyd Wilson Field is set for 1 p.m. CT. Concordia will attempt to avenge the 21-17 home loss it endured at the hands of the Broncos in 2022. The Bulldogs won their most recent trip to Hastings, 17-7, in 2021.