The Concordia football team was on the wrong side of a 0-49 final at the hands of a strong St. John’s team on Saturday. Johnny shot caller Aaron Syverson ended his day at halftime with a line of 20-24, 289 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with a 2-yard rushing score. Cobber QB Tanner DuBois was 25-39 with 149 yards and 2 interceptions, along with 8 carries for 33 yards.
The Cobbs will look to rebound this Saturday as they continue MIAC play when they travel to St. Paul to take on Macalester in a matchup with two teams looking for their first conference win.
The Johnny offense started hot as they were able to score on their first seven possessions of the game and were able to go into the locker room at half with a comfortable 42-point lead. The visitors had three receivers with over 80 yards, with Ravi Alston racking up 7 catches for 92 and a touchdown, Alex Larson with 6 for 91 and a touchdown, and Jimmy Buck with 5 for 85 and two scores.
St. John’s was able to do what they needed to against the Cobber offense, which came into Saturday with the ninth-ranked passing attack in the country for D3, averaging 345 yards per gain through the air and 425 total, and held them to just over half of their usual offensive production, with 215 total yards to end the day. The Johnny defense swarmed at every level, rushing DuBois and keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket all while leaving no room for the Cobber receivers, leading to two turnovers through the air.
“We knew they had great players and their coaches put together a great game plan against us. There’s a reason they’re No. 5 in the nation with how well they play together each week,” said senior receiver Andy Gravdahl.
A loss like this can be discouraging to a team, and it can be hard to push through to get ready for the next game. That does not seem to be the case for the Cobber blackshirt defense, especially senior LB Sam Hegg-Entzion. “Saturday just wasn’t our day. Plain and simple. But the blessing we have is another opportunity this coming Saturday which means another week to get better. It’s imperative we maintain a hungry mentality and we have to put this past Saturday behind us.”
While no one ever wants to lose, games like this can bring out the true colors of a team. “Every one of us couldn’t wait to get started on preparing for Macalester and to get back on the field on Monday to get better. That was the first thing on our minds after Saturday. We know you’re not defined by one moment or one game, you’re defined by how you respond. And respond we will.”
Andy Gravdahl knows they can take something good out every game, even this one.
“Even though the score showed nothing positive for the Cobbs, we still can find positives from these types of games,” Gravdahl said. “There were times we felt we were able to move the ball against a really good defense.”
Cobber QB Tanner DuBois and Gravdahl understand the work they need to put in to bounce back and know how far they can still go this year.
“We learned that we can’t show up on any given Saturday and expect good things to happen. not saying that’s what happened but moving forward we have to do the little things to prepare for the upcoming games. Sitting at 1-3 and still having a chance to make the playoffs means we still have a lot to play for. We won’t let one rough game throw us off our goal,” DuBois said.
“Losing big games can easily take the wind out of a team’s sails, but we understand the importance of what’s ahead of us and what needs to be done in order to find success,” said Gravdahl.
When it comes to the offense and their lack of firepower as of late, DuBois puts the pressure on himself in the coming weeks. “We can’t let the scoreboard change the way we play. On Saturday there were times where I put the ball in harm’s way, trying to get all the points back at once. As the QB, I have to make smarter decisions. We have the confidence in each other and the playbook for it, we just have to execute.”
DuBois is ready to put St. John’s in the rear-view mirror in preparation for Macalester. “We put St. John’s behind us by getting ready for this week. None of us are proud of how we played on Saturday, but we have so much season left to learn from our mistakes.”
The Cobbers will look to take down a fresh Macalester team that is in their first year back in the MIAC since 2001 after spending six seasons in the MWC. “Macalester is a relatively unfamiliar opponent with their football team having just re-entered the MIAC. They have an offense that uses an array of funky formations but being able to defend against that falls on our preparation and doing the little things right. We’ll be ready.”