MOORHEAD – On a hot Saturday afternoon with less than a minute on the clock, the Carleton Knights silenced the Concordia fans at Jake Christiansen stadium as they finished off the Cobbers with a play-action two-point conversion, putting them up 35-34, sending Carleton home with a 4-0 nonconference record.
The game began as a tug-of-war battle, with Carleton quickly scoring their first touchdown with a one-yard pass from Jack Curtis, who is second in the MIAC for passing yards, to his wide receiver, Ntense Obono, putting Carleton up 7-0.
Concordia responded with a 29-yard pass from Cooper Mattern received by Eric Cockhill who scored a touchdown and balanced the score.
Carleton replied early in the second quarter with a pass interception from Isaac Simmons, eventually transferring the momentum into a touchdown with another pass from Curtis to Obono.
Carleton failed to complete another touchdown in the second half because Griffin Decker intercepted a pass with 3:05 left in the quarter. After a couple of quick passes and long rushing yards from Mattern, Dawson Schaffer caught a 15-yard pass from Mattern, sending the teams into halftime with the scoreboard reading 14-14.
Momentum built when Concordia came out of halftime with Mattern diving for a 1-yard touchdown during a fourth down.
Curtis responded with a 9-yard pass to Nathan Streiff, tying the game 21-21 with 3:18 left in the third quarter, but Concordia was not finished. With 48 seconds left in the third quarter, Mattern threw a 13-yard play action to Ben Blancas waiting in the endzone, setting Concordia up 28-21.
To begin the fourth quarter Mattern threw a 40-yard pass to Schaffer, putting them at the one-yard line and allowing Zavier Carroll to run in the touchdown, giving Concordia a 14-point lead.
With a little over seven minutes on the clock, Luis Miranda blocked a punt, allowing Carleton to take the offensive. Curtis completed a 27-yard pass to Streiff with two men on him, catching it in the air and landing in the endzone, putting their first touchdown of the fourth quarter on the board.
Concordia wanted to keep the ball for the rest of the game but failed their attempt when they went for first down at fourth-and-3. Jordan Summers came up a yard short rushing 2-yards giving Carleton another chance to score.
With 2:17 left in the game, Carleton quickly made their way down the field until they found themselves facing a third down and only eight yards away from a touchdown. The ball snapped, and Curtis sat comfortably scanning the field keeping the crown anticipating. Until he found Streiff again, snapped a fast pass, and added another six points to the board, leaving Carleton to trail by one point with 20 seconds left.
Carleton decided to go all in when they subbed Nick Toole, the backup quarterback, for Curtis and lined up for a two-point conversion. Carleton took home the win when Toole found Rye Storrs waiting wide open, sealing the victory for the Knights.
“That fourth down…we’ve got to convert that,” Mattern said. “If we get that it puts the game away and we don’t put our defense back on the field.”
Cooper Mattern is fourth in the MIAC for rushing yards this season, with 222 yards. Mattern has quick reaction times and always looks to scramble and gain yardage when he finds an opening.
“Credit goes to the O-line,” Mattern said. “Carleton’s defense is really good…they play technically sound and if they give me holes, it doesn’t happen very often, so we have to take advantage when it does.”
Concordia is now 2-2 in nonconference and 1-1 in conference games. Their next game is away at St. Johns.
“We just have to get back up next week and go play again,” Concordia’s head coach, Terry Horan, said. “Bottom line is we have to go out and execute…and we just came up a little short today.”