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Concordia scored the first points of the game and the last, but it was all Bethel in between as the Royals were able to down Concordia 36-19 in in a critical early-season matchup for both teams.
The Cobbers drove the ball into Bethel territory eight times, but only converted on three of the opportunities, as the Royals came away with the convincing 17-point margin of victory. With the win, Bethel improves to 2-0 in the MIAC and 3-0 overall. The Cobbers are handed their first defeat of the season, falling to 1-1 in league play and 2-1 overall.
The Royals avenged last year's game, a 35-14 Cobber win, by reversing roles. Last year, the Cobbers took advantage of Royal mistakes, including eight turnovers, and ran off to the 19-point victory. The tables were turned this year, as the Royals committed no turnovers but forced the Cobbers into three, and ran off 36 consecutive points to put the game away in the second half.
Concordia scored the first seven points of the game - on a 50-yard pass from Ryan Hebrink to Andrew Passanante - and the last 12 points of the game - on an Ed Oehlers run and a Hebrink pass to Shawn Reile. However, Bethel put 36 points worth of meat in the scoring sandwich to earn the 36-19 victory.
Quarterback Scott Kirchoff led the way, throwing for three touchdowns and running for a fourth. Perhaps the most important play of the game, though, was only worth three points. Down 7-6 and facing fourth down, the Royals sent out kicker Paul Tschetter to attempt a 52-yard field goal into a moderate cross wind. Considering Tschetter had just put an extra point attempt wide to the left, not many in the stadium expected the kick to succeed. But the kick was perfect, barely dropping over the center of the crossbar, giving the Royals a 9-7 lead and squarely turning the momentum in their favor. The Cobbers never seemed to recover and didn't score again until late in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
For Concordia, Hebrink finished the game 16-for-30 for 229 yards in passing and also contributed 51 yards on the ground. Bobby Clark carried the ball 18 times for 71 yards.
Fresh off his medical red-shirt season of 2002, Kirchoff had another stellar afternoon. He completed 16 of the 23 passes he threw and totaled 239 yards through the air. In the past two games against Concordia (2003, 2001) he has thrown for seven touchdowns, rushed for one and thrown for over 450 passing yards.
Jesse Dick led the Royals rushing attack. He ran for 88 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown.
Senior safety Sam Lacy was a thorn in Concordia's offensive side all day long as he combined to make 20 tackles. Matt Wassink made 5 unassisted tackles and assisted on 11 others in the winning effort.
Cobber cornerback Josh Vickerman had four solo tackles and assisted on five others, while Doug Runke had two tackles and assisted on seven to lead the Concordia defense.
Concordia will travel to Northfield to take on Carleton on Saturday, September 27 at 1:00pm. The Royals will play at Hamline on saturday, September 27 at 1:00pm.
BC Pregame Notes
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