Concordia junior quarterback Jesse Nelson gets ready to sling a first half touchdown pass in the Cobbers' 34-32 last-second victory over MSU Moorhead in Power Bowl IX.  

Concordia vs. MSU Moorhead

Power Bowl IX

Saturday, Sept. 1, 1:35 p.m.
Jake Chrisitiansen Stadium

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Concordia vs. MSU Moorhead Line Score


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Gameday Recap:

MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/01/07)--In the end there was nothing but utter joy. With :03 seconds remaining in Concordia's game against rival MSU Moorhead, quarterback Andrew Larson looked to his left and found wide open Nick Alton for an 11-yard scoring pass to give the Cobbers an improbable 34-32 come-from-behind victory. The score triggered a sideline long celebration that ended when the final whistle had sounded and Concordia had regained control of the Power Bowl trophy.

With just under 2:00 to play in the fourth quarter, it lookd as if Concordia's afternoon of pushing NCAA Division II MSU Moorhead to the limit would come up just short. The Cobbers trailed 32-27 and the Dragons had just made a first down on CC's 34-yard line. That's when Concordia's defense drew a line in the sand and didn't let the prolific Dragon offense cross. After a 3-yard loss on a first down running play and successive incomplete passes, a surprise play call enabled the Cobber defense to sack MSU M quarterback Dustin Long for a loss all the way back to the 48-yard line.

Enter sophomore quarterback Larson who had relieved starter Jesse Nelson in the third quarter because Nelson went down with leg cramps. Larson calmly led the Cobbers down the field to the Dragon 11-yard line. In the process, CC survived a critical fourth-and-three situation. After two incomplete passes from the 11, Larson connected on the pass to Alton who corralled the ball just before a Dragon defender could break up the play. The score capped an improbable comeback and allowed Concordia to carry away the Power Bowl trophy for the fifth time in the nine-year history of the event.

After the game Cobber head coach Terry Horan will have a dilemma of a different kind. Struggling to find a quarterback who could consistently move the offense down the field in 2006, Horan watched a pair of signal callers rack up 487 yards of total offense and two touchdown passes. That is officially more yards in a single game than they had in all but one game last season and one more touchdown toss than they had the ENTIRE year.

Nelson stepped up and marched the team to 27 points before having to leave in the final stages of the third quarter due to cramps. Nelson finished the game by going 8-of-12 for 133 passing yards. He also had 35 rushing yards. Larson, doing his best Joe Nathan impression to come in and close the game out, was 3-of-14 for 33 passing yards. He did most of his damage on the ground as he ran for 66 yards on 16 carries.

The other star of the game was the Cobber defense. Despite giving up 347 passing yards, the CC defensive unit stuffed the MSU Moorhead running attack, holding the Dragons to -24 rushing yards on 22 carries. They also came out of the gate and established the tone of the game by holding the MSU M offense to -15 total offensive yards.

With the defense containing the Dragons throughout the first 15 minutes, CC put up 14 points on the board - a lead they would only relinquish at the start of the fourth quarter.

Defensively, the linebacking trio bottled up the Dragons all day long. Senior captain Brennen Lewis finished with a team-high 10 tackles and had 2.0 tackles for a loss. He was matched by outside linebacking partner Dave Moll who came away with four tackles and made several key stops along the way. Middle linebacker Isaac Berling was a steadying influence in the middle and had four tackles as well.

The front line was led by Jon Hanson who tied a Power Bowl record with 2.0 sacks. He came up with the big sack of Long on fourth down with time winding down in the game. Clinton Strother and Justin Hensch also had a sack for the Cobbers.

Defensive back Jason Jude recorded the only interception of the game for Concordia. Jude stepped in front of a Long pass on the Cobber goal line to snuff out a would-be MSU M scoring attempt.

The Cobber ground game returned to the form that saw them earn back-to-back NCAA playoff trips in 2004 and 2005. CC ran the ball 71 times and gained 318 rushing yards. That allowed Concordia to hold onto the ball for 36:47 - a telling statistic as they were able to keep the Dragon offense on the sideline for most of the afternoon.

Senior fullback Adam Swindorf had a breakout game in the opener. After living in the shadows of All-Conference back Kevin Williamson for the past two seasons, Swingdorf hammered the MSU M front line and linebackers for 105 yards on 22 carries. He also scored two touchdowns and routinely put the Dragon defenders on their back.

Cory Johnson added the outside threat for the CC running game. He scooted around end for 78 yards on 12 attempts.

Four different Cobber receivers finished the game with two receptions. Alton made the biggest catch of the game but Riley Sammon had a circus catch for a TD in the opening quarter to give Concordia a 14-0 lead. He had two catches for a game-high 51 yards.

Long had the best day for MSU Moorhead. He went 21-of-33 through the air and ended with 347 passing yards. His favorite target was Jabari Taylor who ended the game with seven receptions for 106 yards.

Concordia will travel to Dickinson State next Saturday to take on the Blue Hawks at 2:30 p.m. (cst). MSU Moorhead will host Mayville State on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m.