2007 Cobber Football - Game Recaps
Concordia senior running back Nick Reinisch has the ball knocked away on the goal line during the Cobbers' 48-45 triple overtime loss to Bethel on Saturday.

Historic Overtime Classic!

Gameday Scoreboard


Opponent's Website: Bethel University Football

Gameday Rewind:

Video Highlights: Concordia vs. Bethel Video Highlights - Now Online!

Photo Gallery: Concordia vs. Bethel Photo Gallery - Now Online!

Game Stats: Concordia vs. Bethel Box Score - Now Online!

Gameday Game Recap:

MOORHEAD, Minn. (9/15/07)-- Where does one start? The game between Concordia and Bethel on Saturday in Moorhead had something for everyone. You like offensive battles with lots of points? Got that covered. How about outstanding defensive stands? Had that too. Offensive trickery? It's in the game. Drama? Yep. Something never seen before in the 42-year-old history of Jake Christiansen Stadium? Check? MIAC history? Taken care of. Tremendous individual efforts worthy of conference MVP consideration? Yes, yes and yes.

All the drama, individual greatness and historic achievement took place in a span of a little of three hours when the Cobbers and Royals battled through three overtime periods before Bethel outlasted Concordia 48-45 in one of the most exciting games ever played at "The Jake."

The teams combined for 93 points and 896 total offensive yards in the first overtime game played at Jake Christiansen Stadium and the longest game ever played in MIAC conference play.

Not only did fans get to see history in the making they also witnessed the Concordia offense break tradition and come away with more passing yards than rushing yards. CC also threw for four touchdown passes, the most in a single game since Oct. 9, 2004 when they had six against Hamline.

The opening four drives of the game set the stage for the dramatic afternoon as both teams marched down the field with little effort and scored touchdowns in their first two possessions. The score after the first ten minutes of play also added to the unique nature. Despite scoring two TD's, Concordia trailed 14-12 after missing both extra points - one by a kick and one by a run.

In the first quarter alone, the two teams combined for 41 offensive plays, 289 total yards and 26 first downs.

The track meet finally slowed down in the second quarter. Each team's defenses finally stepped to the forefront after watching the offenses steal the show in the first 15 minutes. The Cobber defense was the first to make a stand, stopping the Royals on all three drives in the second period. The CC offense continued its success, taking an 18-14 lead at the 12:08 mark on a possession that started in the first quarter and continued for three minutes into the second frame. Riley Sammon's second touchdown reception of the game gave Concordia a four-point lead. CC then missed its third straight extra point when quarterback Jesse Nelson was stopped on an option attempt. The three missed extra points would come back to haunt the Cobbers at the end of the game.

With the Concordia defense finding a way to stop the 1-2 running punch of quarterback Ben Wetzell and freshman running back Logan Flannery throughout the second quarter, the CC offense tacked on three more points before halftime - taking an unconventional 21-14 lead into the break. After Wetzell and Flannery combined for 103 rushing yards in the first quarter, the two were held to only 32 in the second 15 minutes. That change was on account of a tougher Cobber rushing defense and a surprise shift by the Royals offense to try and pass the ball. BU had 156 offensive yards in the first quarter, running the ball 15 times and throwing six passes. They also recorded 14 first downs. In the second quarter, they had eight rushes for 31 yards, had one pass intercepted and did not post a first down.

The third quarter swung in favor of Bethel. They were able to score the only points of the period on a 85-yard pass and run from Wetzell to Flannery. On the play, Flannery caught a screen pass just beyond the line of scrimmage and then weaved his way through the Cobber defense until finally collapsing in the end zone. The score at 2:55 tied the game at 21-21. On the ensuing kickoff, Concordia fumbled the ball and Bethel was able to get possession at CC's 31-yard line. The Cobber defense was able to force the Royals into a 38-yard field goal attempt that ended up falling just short.

The fourth quarter started with a punt by the Cobbers and then the two teams traded interceptions. The game then started to build with excitement. Midway through the period, Bethel had a fourth-and-one situation on the Cobber 10-yard line. Electing to go for the first down, running back was stopped for no gain by CC middle linebacker Isaac Berling.

After six plays, Concordia was forced to punt and the Royals took control of the ball at their own 47-yard line. On second down, Cobber defensive lineman Justin Hensch forced a fumble and CC would fall on the ball at the Bethel 45-yard line.

The Cobbers then reached into their offensive bag of tricks by throwing a halfback option pass that went for a 30-yard touchdown. Facing a third-and-eight situation, running back Aron Goraczkowski sprinted around the right end. As he got to the corner, he pulled up and heaved a perfectly thrown pass into the corner of the end zone where junior receiver Nick Alton was able to run onto it in full stride.

The Royals then got the ball on the kickoff with 3:13 left in the game and facing the prospect of having to go 69 yards for the game-tying score. Wetzell then went 4-for-5 through the air to push the ball down to the Concordia 38-yard line. After three straight running plays that set up a third-and-six at 32-yard line, Wetzell then came up with one of his two jaw-dropping, game-changing plays. Flushed from the pocket and sprinting to his right, Wetzell looked to his left, planted and threw a looping pass into space on the far side of the field. As the ball floated towards the open left sideline for what seemed like 35 minutes, BU receiver Kyle Lee came out of nowhere to track the ball down - like Minnesota Twins Gold Glove outfielder Torii Hunter chasing down a fly ball in the gap - and made the key reception at the Cobber 1-yard-line.

Wetzell scored on the QB keeper on the very next play and the game was tied at 28-28 with 1:30 to play. For Wetzell it was his second one-yard TD run of the game.

Concordia was only able to advance the ball to their own 47-yard line before having to punt on fourth down. Bethel then decided to take a knee to kill out the game clock and send the contest into the historic overtime session.

In the first overtime, Wetzell once again pulled the rabbit out of his hat as he duplicated his "run one way, throw a ridiculously accurate strike across the entire field" feat on fourth-and-nine from the 24-yard line. His crowd-quieting strike put the ball on the CC 3-yard-line. Before that play, Concordia had stopped the Royals for only one yard on three plays.

Feeling like they had the reincarnation of John Elway lining up under center for the team, BU scored two plays later on a Flannery 3-yard run. After a successful point after, Concordia's offense was forced to score a touchdown in order to keep the game alive.

Nelson refused to let CC fall without a fight. Three straight runs set up a 12-yard strike that found the hands of Alton for his second clutch TD catch of the day. Sitting on pins and needles, the crowd of 6,180 watched as sophomore Carl Hauser calmly connected on the extra point to send the game into the second overtime.

Bethel once again took possesion first and wasted little time scoring another touchdown. Wetzell, now elevating from Elway to Joe Montana status went 3-for-3 in the second OT and capped the scoring drive by throwing a 5-yard scoring pass to Wahl.

Once again Nelson was put in charge of keeping the Cobbers' unbeaten record alive. That's when the game took an even more dramatic turn. On first down, Nelson was sacked for a 9-yard loss and now faced second-and-19 from the 34-yard line. On second down, he completed a pass to Sammon for a 13-yard gain. He then went to Jake Krause for a 12-yard pass on third-and-nine and suddenly Elway was wearing a maroon and gold jersey. With a first-and-goal from the nine-yard line, two straight Cory Johnson rushes put the ball on the two-yard line. Junior fullback Nick Birchem then plowed his way into the end zone to push the score to 42-41. Hauser then trotted on and once again connected on a pressure-packed PAT.

The Cobbers started with the ball in the third extra session which sent the game into uncharted territory in a conference game. CC made a first down after a four-yard run, an incomplete pass and a seven-yard pass from Nelson to Kyle Hilleren.

The Bethel defense then made the game-changing stand as they held CC to a 1-yard run, a 2-yard run and a 1-yard pass. The third-down pass reception almost turned the tide in the Cobbers' favor as Goraczkowski was able to wrestle the ball out of a defenders hands to make the grab. The reception made sure that CC would not come away by not scoring any points in the overtime period. Facing a fourth-and-six at the 10-yard line, Cobber head coach Terry Horan called timeout and then chose to kick a field goal. Hauser, feeling the confidence from his two overtime extra points, drilled a 27-yard field goal to give Concordia a 45-42 lead.

Wetzell and Flannery then sealed the game for Bethel on two plays. After an incomplete pass on first down, Wetzell ran for seven yards on second down. On third-and-three from the 18-yard line, Flannery danced through the tired CC defense and crossed the goal line to end the game and send the Royal sideline into pandemonium.

In the end, Bethel outgained Concordia 513-383. The Royals rushed for 252 yards and threw for 261 yards. The Cobbers rushed for 112 yards but threw for 271 yards, the most in 2007 and most since the same game against Hamline in 2004. Both teams recorded 24 first downs in the game. Bethel had the edge in time of possession as they held the ball for 31:13 during regulation. The Cobber defense did force the Royals into three turnovers - all interceptions. The CC offense turned the ball over twice, both by pickoffs.

Individually, Concordia was led by Nelson. He was 20-of-29 and passed for 241 yards and three scores. His 20 completions, 241 passing yards and three TD's are all career highs. His 20 pass completions are also the seventh highest game total in Cobber history. Sammon was the favorite target for Nelson on the day. He caught seven passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Alton caught five passes for 71 yards and one TD. Johnson was the team's leading rusher. He went for 40 yards on 13 carries.

There were no surprises on the Bethel statistical score sheet. Wetzell went 17-of-28 and passed for 261 yards. He also tossed two touchdown passes. Not to be outdone, he was also the game's leading rusher as he carried the ball 27 times and racked up 119 rushing yards and two TD plunges. He accounted for 380 of the team's 513 total offensive yards. The freshman Flannery ran the ball 24 times and gained 108 yards. He also had 98 receiving yards on three receptions.

Defensively, Cobber senior co-captain Brennen Lewis had a career day. He came away with a game-high 21 tackles and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Both numbers are career bests. Defensive back Levi Pole recorded a pair of interceptions and added five tackles.

bethel linebacker Lucas Blodgett had a team-high 10.5 tackles, while Brandon Carr and Nathan Holm collected the team's interceptions.

Concordia will try and rebound against No.4-ranked St. John's on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in Collegeville, Minn. The Royals will host Carleton next Saturday.