Concordia Football: No. 6 Cardinals rally to improve to 2-0 on the season; home opener is this Saturday

(Bourbonnais, IL) – Concordia football traveled to Olivet Nazarene on Saturday afternoon for an MSFA crossover matchup.  The Cardinals entered with the #6 ranking in the country while the Tigers came into the tilt receiving votes.  Olivet Nazarene scored two early touchdowns, but CUAA surged back in the 4th quarter to earn a 22-14 win.

Roger Engle (SR/Lorain, Ohio) started at quarterback, throwing for 100 yards, while Peter Morrison (JR/Fort Wayne, IN) entered later and passed for 73 yards and a touchdown.  Parker Graham (SO/Livonia, MI) was a strong runner from the QB position, rushing for a team-high 63 yards and a touchdown. Clay Coltson (SR/Hastings, MI) and Roderick Dailey (SR/Detroit, MI) led the receiving core with 113 yards combined on 7 receptions.

On defense, Treyon Freeman (FR/Fort Wayne, IN) led the Cardinals with 12 total tackles.  Reggie Thompson (SR/Chicago, IL) finished second with 10 tackles along with a fumble return for a touchdown.  Ryan Fish (JR/Allen Park, MI) recorded 8 tackles and an interception while Alex Hinojosa (JR/Allen Park, MI) also notched 8 tackles and 2 forced fumbles.

The Cardinals received the ball to begin the game, but an early fumble gave possession to Olivet Nazarene.  The Tigers took advantage of the favorable field position and scored an early touchdown just over 2 minutes into the game.  On the ensuing kickoff, a Concordia fumble in the endzone was recovered by Olivet Nazarene for a touchdown.

Both offenses struggled to put together a sustained drive for the remainder of the 1st half.  The Cardinals’ best offensive play came late in the 2nd quarter when Roger Engle fired deep and Clay Coltson hauled in a 49-yard reception.  While the drive stalled, punter Kenneth Webb (FR/Scottsboro, AL) was able to pin the Tigers at their own 1-yard line.  Neither team added any more points before halftime and CUAA trailed 14-0 heading to the locker room.

Both teams continued to exchange defensive stops in the second half with a promising Concordia drive stalling on 4th down. With 5:00 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Peter Morrison came in to play quarterback and led the Cardinals’ first scoring drive of the contest.  Omar Sinclair (SO/Norcross, GA) and Morrison both rushed for 4th down conversions, and Donovan Johnson (SO/South Euclid, OH) caught a touchdown off a slant route to put CUAA on the board. The Cardinals scoring drive featured 13 plays, totaling 67 yards and nearly 6 minutes setting what would be an eventful fourth quarter.

Momentum continued to shift in the Cardinals’ favor when Ryan Fish came up with a critical interception on the next series.  Concordia penalties stalled the drive, but another solid punt from Kenneth Webb rolled out of bounds at the Tigers’ 1-yard line.

The Concordia defense made another big impact when reigning MSFA Defensive Player of the Week Alex Hinojosa forced a fumble that was scooped up by Reggie Thompson returned all the way for a touchdown.  Coach Schumacher kept the Cardinals momentum rolling calling for the offensive unit to go for the 2-pt conversion. Peter Morrison lined up with 4 receivers to his right, but he fired to his left and found Roderick Dailey to give the team a 15-14 lead.

The CUAA defense continued to dominate in the 2nd half, forcing a turnover on downs with Alex Hinojosa recording a 3rd-down sack.  Parker Graham rushed straight up the middle on the next series for a 25-yard touchdown, giving Concordia a 22-14 lead. 

The Cardinal defense was able to make one more stop when Alex Hinojosa forced a fumble on Olivet Nazarene’s last possession.  CUAA was able to kneel down to run out the clock and secure the 22-14 victory.

Concordia improves to 2-0 overall with the win.  The Cardinals will host their home opener on Saturday, September 21 when Saint Francis (IL) comes to Cardinal Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 1pm.