(Chicago, IL) – Concordia football played a significant MSFA crossover match on Saturday afternoon when the team traveled to Saint Xavier. The #5 Cardinals came in with a 3-0 record while the #9 Cougars entered 1-1 overall. CUAA erased an early 21-point deficit by scoring 42 unanswered points and the team held on to secure a 42-35 victory.
Peter Morrison (JR/Fort Wayne, IN) threw for 272 yards and 3 touchdowns in the game. Omar Sinclair (SO/Norcross, GA) rushed for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Roderick Dailey (SR/Detroit, MI) led Concordia receivers with 127 yards and a touchdown. Donovan Johnson (SO/South Euclid, OH) also notched 61 receiving yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Amaan Payne (SR/Holt, MI) tied with Reggie Thompson (SR/Chicago, IL) and Ryan Fish (JR/Allen Park, MI) for a team-high 10 total tackles. Fish added 2 interceptions in the game while Payne notched one. Alex Hinojosa (JR/Allen Park, MI) led the team with 2 sacks while also recording 8 tackles.
Saint Xavier controlled the game early, scoring on their first 3 offensive possessions. The Concordia offense struggled to move the ball and the Cougars led 21-0 at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Cardinals broke through on their next series when Peter Morrison found receiver Donovan Johnson for a 50-yard gain. Parker Graham (SO/Livonia, MI) was able to punch in a 3-yard rushing touchdown to break the shutout and put CUAA on the board.
Momentum continued to shift when Ryan Fish made the first of his two interceptions in the game. Despite a Concordia three-and-out, Fish came up with his second interception on the next drive. This time, the Cardinals were able to capitalize with a 5-play, 42-yard scoring drive. Omar Sinclair broke a run down the left sideline and rushed for a 14-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-14.
The CUAA defense forced another stop and the offense assembled a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive in the final minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Cardinal receivers efficiently managed to get out of bounds to stop the clock, and Peter Morrison eventually found Parker Graham in the back of the endzone for a 9-yard touchdown. Wyatt Mast (JR/Delton, MI)’s PAT tied the game 21-21 heading to halftime.
Both teams exchanged defensive stops to begin the 3rd quarter. Concordia took their first lead with a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took nearly 5 minutes off the clock. The Cardinals picked up four 1st downs during the drive, and Donovan Johnson hauled in a 1-yard receiving touchdown to put CUAA up 28-21.
The Cardinals extended their lead 35-21 later in the 3rd when Peter Morrison hooked up with Roderick Dailey for a 47-yard touchdown. The CUAA defense made an impact when Amaan Payne made an interception in the endzone, ending a Saint Xavier drive that spanned 18 plays and 66 yards.
The Concordia offense needed just one play to capitalize on the turnover as Omar Sinclair rushed up the middle and broke a 91-yard touchdown run. The longest run of the sophomore’s career gave CUAA a commanding 42-21 lead.
Saint Xavier refused to go away quietly, scoring a touchdown on their next two possessions to cut Concordia’s lead to 42-35. The Cardinal defense had to make one last stand late in the 4th quarter as the Cougars looked to tie the game. Saint Xavier quarterback Alex Martinez fired deep to the endzone on 4th down, but Ryan Fish was able to break up the pass and force a turnover on downs. CUAA moved into victory formation and ran out the clock, securing the 42-35 win.
Concordia now improves to 4-0 with the win. The Cardinals will return home this Saturday, October 5 when the team hosts rival Siena Heights for homecoming. The Saints currently enter the match ranked #20 overall and the game will begin MSFA Mideast division play for CUAA. Kickoff is set for 1pm.