D2 Football: Turnovers costly in Concordia 35-28 homecoming loss

ST. PAUL, Minn. –  Concordia-St. Paul committed a season high six turnovers but still managed to take Northern State to the wire before coming up short in a 35-28 homecoming loss at Sea Foam Stadium on Saturday. 


Sophomore Lujuan Preston rushed for 141 yards in the loss for the Golden Bears         Photo by Paul Langfellow

Concordia racked up 494 yards of total offense including 232 on the ground, out-gained the Wolves by 142 yards overall and 132 on the ground, had a 34:00 to 26:00 time of possession edge and converted 8-of-12 on third down while holding NSU to 6-of-14 on third and 0-of-2 on fourth down. The Golden Bears were in NSU’s red zone five times, coming up with three touchdowns while the Wolves drove into the CSP end zone just twice, coming up empty once.

Concordia also doubled-up NSU on sacks, 4-to-2 and had a 5-to-2 margin in tackles for loss.

But the Golden Bears threw a pick-six on their opening drive at the NSU 21 yard line, and also committed turnovers at the NSU 14, NSU 34 and NSU 15 yard line to wipe out four scoring opportunities in the first three quarters, and had an interception and a fumble in their own territory in the fourth quarter.

Northern State capitalized, scoring 28 points off of Concordia turnovers.

After the interception for touchdown in the first quarter, Concordia would tied the game every step of the way as the two teams traded touchdowns the rest of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, Concordia made quick work of trying to flip the momentum as senior quarterbackDom McKinzy found junior wide receiver MJ Williams for a 44 yard gain deep down the middle. On the next play, senior Emanuel Jones broke loose for a 36 yard touchdown run to tie the game at 28.

McKinzy completed 19-of-31 for 262 yard and a touchdown and also had one yard plunge for a rushing score but he was sacked twice and intercepted four times by the NSU defense.

Williams had a big day with seven catches for 115 yards while sophomore Keyon Walters contributed 5-52 receiving including a nine yard touchdown catch and senior tight end John Damrow had three catches for 56 yards with a long of 34 yards.

Jones had his breakout rushing performance with 10 carries for 74 yards while sophomore Lajuan Preston had his second straight 100-yard game, rushing for 141 yards on 21 carries for a 6.7 average. Redshirt freshman running back Jeremiah Johnson added a 1-yard touchdown run as well.

After the long Jones touchdown run, the defense responded, stopping Northern State on downs as junior Kelly Pierce picked up a fourth down sack, turning it back over to CSP with 6:42 to play.

The Wolves struck back quick, intercepting the first play of Concordia’s go-ahead drive, returning it to the six yard line, scoring on the next play for a 1-play touchdown drive and a 35-28 lead with under six minutes left.

Northern State quarterback Hunter Trautman finished the game completing 16-of-27 for 235 yards and four touchdowns, adding 15 rushing yards despite being sacked four times and also had a 17-yard reception on a reverse option pass from Dakota Larson. Larson was Trautman’s top target with seven catches for 141 yards and two scores.

The Golden Bear defense was led by sophomore defensive end Chris Garrett who produced 2.5 sacks and tackles for loss and made seven tackles (five solo). Sophomore Andy Aune and redshirt freshman Dez Bassett each produced a team-high eight tackles. Redshirt freshman cornerback Marcus Haskins had his five game interception streak come to a close, but he still made a pair of pass breakups in the secondary to give him 13 on the year for a total of 18 passes defended.

The Golden Bears, who had their three game home winning streak come to a close, will look to bounce back next Saturday with a 2 p.m. kickoff at UMary at the Community Bowl in Bismarck, North Dakota in the third of four weeks of NSIC North-South Divisional play.

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