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Sunday Press Recap
A look at what the newspapers are saying about the Cobbers: Fargo Forum
Kings of the MIAC: Cobbers win outright
NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- Twenty-two maroon and gold flags flanked parts of St. Olaf's Manitou Field on Saturday afternoon.
The flags, erected before the game by some of the large contingent of Concordia football fans, whipped in the wind and represented more than a tangible sign of Concordia team spirit.
When the final horn sounded with the No. 7-ranked Cobbers beating the Oles 50-7, the flags symbolized the mountain Concordia had just climbed.
The Cobbers reached their most significant peak in years, winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title outright for the first time since 1986.
The Cobbers (9-0 overall, 8-0 MIAC) shared the title with St. John's in 1995, but there will be no sharing this season.
"We've been working on this for four years. We've been getting better every year," said Cobbers head coach Terry Horan, who took the helm four years ago. "We're exactly where we want to be. With the great football tradition that Concordia has, it's nice to see us back on top of the conference."
What happens on Concordia's next scheduled climb, the NCAA Division III playoffs, remains to be seen. The Cobbers play a nonconference game against struggling Menlo College (Calif.) on at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Fargodome to end the regular season. The playoffs follow.
"We're not satisfied with just this," said Concordia quarterback Brian Schumacher, who threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns in addition to scoring on a 36-yard run. "We want to go out against Menlo next week and have a good showing and carry some momentum into the playoffs."
Saturday's climb started slow for the Cobbers. It took yet another acrobatic catch by senior receiver Andrew Passanante to get Concordia over the crest.
Passanante's first touchdown, in which he pulled the ball out of a defender's hands and over the defender's back for a 40-yard reception in the end zone, put the Cobbers ahead 8-7. It also sparked 48 unanswered Concordia points.
On St. Olaf's next possession, senior defensive end Adam Campbell's block set up an Ed Oehlers' 1-yard touchdown run for a 15-7 lead with 30 seconds remaining in the first half.
The rout was on, and a St. Olaf team that upset St. Johns last weekend for its fourth straight victory couldn't stem the Cobbers' onslaught.
Concordia senior cornerback Jordan Talge, who gambled and lost on St. Olaf's lone touchdown, picked off two passes in the second half. Senior linebacker Josh Dietz also intercepted two passes, both of which led to Concordia scores.
"After that first pick, we knew we had another level," said Concordia linebacker Doug Runke, referring to Talge's interception that led to a Cobber touchdown. "Our offense does a good job scoring off of turnovers."
Concordia finished with 470 yards of total offense while holding the Oles (6-3, 4-3) to only 262 total yards. The Cobbers forced five turnovers in addition to blocking a punt.
"I've got to tip my hat to the defense," said Schumacher, who battled flew-like symptoms Friday and Saturday. "They gave us great field position the whole second half."
Passanante finished with five catches for 154 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown catch. Fullback Ed Oehlers rushed for 81 yards.
"We've gotten on top. We're going to climb the highest mountain as possible, and it won't change in the playoffs," Dietz said.
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Don Hansen's DIII Gazette