SEWARD, Neb. – After 35-7 homecoming loss to Midland, the Concordia University football team hopes to regroup by earning a second GPAC road win this season. For the fourth year in a row, the Bulldogs will take on the Defenders in Sioux Center, Iowa. Saturday’s kickoff from Open Space Park is set for 1 p.m. CT. Concordia is 9-1 all-time versus Dordt with nine series victories in a row.
The offense is still a work-in-progress for second-year head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad. Things have not quite clicked just yet for a unit with a new quarterback and a completely new offensive line. Quarterback Jake Kemp and the passing game took a step forward in the game with Midland. Kemp has solid receiving options in Arthur Anderson and Vincent Beasley. They’ll try to take advantage of a Dordt pass defense that ranks 71st nationally.
While the Defenders have struggled in some aspects of their defensive play, they can rack up points on the offensive end. Third-year head coach Joel Penner’s squad has the ability to devastate opposing defenses in the run game. Dordt is coming off a 55-17 win at Hastings. In the blowout, Levi Schoonhoven rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns.
Concordia (2-1, 1-1) at Dordt (2-1, 1-1)
Saturday, Sept. 29 | 1 p.m.
Open Space Park | Sioux Center, Iowa
Webcast: Live Stream
Radio: 104.9 Max Country
Commentators: Tyler Cavalli and Roger Fitzke
Live Stats: Dakstats
*National rank out of 90 NAIA football programs in parentheses
Offensive PPG: 16.0 (79th)
Defensive PPG: 22.7 (29th)
Total Offense: 242.7 (87th)
Pass Offense: 111.7 (87th)
Rush Offense: 131.0 (63rd)
Total Defense: 386.0 (53rd)
Pass Defense: 240.3 (59th)
Rush Defense: 145.7 (42nd)
Turnover +/-: +2 (T-27th)
Offensive PPG: 45.7 (7th)
Defensive PPG: 27.0 (T-44th)
Total Offense: 490.3 (10th)
Pass Offense: 184.0 (56th)
Rush Offense: 306.3 (3rd)
Total Defense: 407.0 (61st)
Pass Defense: 257.0 (71st)
Rush Defense: 150.0 (44th)
Turnover +/-: 0 (T-39th)
Head Coach: Patrick Daberkow (8-5, 2nd season)
Passing: Jake Kemp – 33/61 (.541), 301 yards, 2 td, 2 int; rushing td
Rushing: Ryan Durdon – 68 rushes, 389 yards, 5.7 avg, 4 td
Receiving: Vincent Beasley – 9 catches, 113 yards, 12.6 avg
Defense: Lane Napier – 40 tackles, 5.5 tfl, 3 sacks
Head Coach: Joel Penner (12-12, 3rd season)
Passing: Brock Lamle – 28/63 (.444), 525 yards, 6 td, 3 int; rushing: 23 att, 110 yards, 4.8 avg, 2 td
Rushing: Levi Schoonhoven – 42 rushes, 311 yards, 7.4 avg, 4 td
Receiving: Levi Jungling – 11 catches, 241 yards, 21.9 avg, td
Defense: Julius Buchanan – 12 tackles, 5 tfl, 2.5 sacks
Concordia (2-1, 1-1)
9/8 vs. Buena Vista, W, 27-20
9/15 at Jamestown, W, 16-13
9/22 vs. Midland, L, 7-35
9/29 at Dordt, 1 p.m.
10/6 vs. Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
10/13 at Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
10/20 vs. Hastings, 1 p.m.
10/27 at (3) Morningside, 1 p.m.
11/3 vs. (7) Northwestern, 1 p.m.
11/10 at Doane, 1 p.m.
Dordt (2-1, 1-1)
9/1 at Waldorf, W, 61-40
9/15 vs. Doane, L, 21-24
9/22 at Hastings, W, 55-17
9/29 vs. Concordia, 1 p.m.
10/6 at (5) Northwestern, 1 p.m.
10/13 at Dakota Wesleyan, 1 p.m.
10/20 vs. Jamestown, 1 p.m.
10/27 vs. Briar Cliff, 1 p.m.
11/3 at (2) Morningside, 1 p.m.
11/10 at Midland, 1 p.m.
In the rankings
Concordia cracked the NAIA top 25 national poll last Nov. 6 but then dropped out after falling in the 2017 finale. The Bulldogs did not receive any votes in the preseason national poll this preseason or in the first three regular-season polls. They were picked fourth among the 10 GPAC football schools by both the coaches and media in the preseason. Massey Ratings currently lists Concordia as the 47th ranked team nationally in the NAIA.
In the history of its program that dates back to 2008, Dordt had not sniffed the national ratings until breaking into the receiving votes category last season. The Defenders went into this season with raised expectations having been pegged fifth in the GPAC preseason polls by the coaches and media. While not receiving votes in the official NAIA poll, Dordt is ranked 34th nationally by Massey Ratings.
GPAC preseason: 4th (coaches); 4th (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Sept. 24): not ranked
Massey Ratings: 47th
GPAC preseason: 5th (coaches); 5th (media)
NAIA coaches’ poll (Sept. 24): not ranked
Massey Ratings: 34th
Napier paces NAIA in tackling
Lane Napier is a constant the Bulldogs can count on each week. The sophomore linebacker from David City, Neb., enters the week ranked No. 1 among all NAIA players for most tackles per game (13.3). That pace puts him ahead of his rate from last season (9.7 per game) when he led the GPAC during the regular season with 97 stops. Napier is also making more plays behind the line of scrimmage. He’s already collected 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks (one in each game). Napier has piled up 137 tackles over his first 13 collegiate games, putting him on a pace that could allow him to challenge the program GPAC-era career tackles record of 290 by Sean Stewart (1999-02).
Most tackles per game, NAIA
1. Lane Napier (CUNE) – 13.3
2. Austin Archey (Kentucky Christian) – 12.8
3. Caleb Coe (Olivet Nazarene) – 12.5
4. Jason Ferris (Montana Western) – 12.3
5. Kegan Schumann (Baker) – 12.0
5. Malik Guillory (Texas College) – 12.0
Patrick Daberkow and his staff see potential in the passing game. Pass protection continues to be a focus. That part of the equation improved in the second half versus Midland and gave quarterback Jake Kemp a chance to connect with the likes of top receivers Arthur Anderson and Vincent Beasley. Both Anderson and Beasley caught five passes in the contest. Anderson’s catch of 45 yards in the fourth quarter represented a season long pass play for Concordia. Anderson also hauled in a one-yard touchdown toss from Kemp on a fourth-and-goal play in the third quarter. The third receiver has been sophomore Lane Castaneda, who caught 23 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns last season. At tight end, freshman Logan Kreizel has made six grabs for 66 yards.
Offensive line on the mend
With three starters still sidelined by injury, the Bulldogs again went young up front on offense. The starting offensive line last week included freshman Wendell Banks at left tackle, sophomore Roy Garza at left guard, freshman Johnny Robinson at center, freshman Trenton Sanders at right guard and sophomore Cole Baumgartner. At some point, the offensive line could look a lot more veteran. Seniors in tackle Grady Koch, guard Stuart Kolpin and center Evrett Shaw have all been bit by the injury bug. Koch has been a mainstay in recent seasons. He earned honorable mention all-conference accolades in 2017. Meanwhile, Kolpin is a converted tight end and Shaw was expected to replace a first team All-GPAC player at center. All three aforementioned seniors have yet to play this season.
Durdon busts career best
Over the last two weeks, Ryan Durdon has found less room to run free with Jamestown and Midland focused on limiting the star Bulldog back. However, Durdon did get loose for a career long run of 84 yards on the final play of the half against Midland. After being fed the ball 42 times in the opener versus Buena Vista, Durdon has carried the ball a combined 26 times over the past two weeks (no carries in the fourth quarter vs. Midland). Despite the youth up front, the overall numbers have been healthy for Durdon. He’s rushed for 389 yards on 68 attempts (5.7 per carry) and has found the end zone four times. This week he goes up against a Dordt run defense that ranks 44th nationally (150.0) and yields 4.0 yards per rush. Last season at Dordt, Durdon carried the ball 41 times and rushed for 136 yards. With 1,638 career rushing yards, Durdon has cracked the top 10 on the program’s all-time list. He’s currently No. 9 with eighth-ranked Don Baker (1,799) well within his reach.
Third down struggles
Better third down success on both sides of the ball will be a key moving forward. It was a major area of futility last week. While Midland moved the chains on 14-of-18 third down plays, Concordia went just 1-for-10 on third down. On the season, Bulldog opponents have been successful on 46 percent of their third down tries. On the flip side, Concordia has converted only 26 percent of its third downs. Another troubling early-season trend has been slow starts for the Bulldog offense. Concordia has scored only two points in the first quarter through three games – on a safety that resulted from a bad punt snap at Jamestown. The Bulldogs have scored nearly all of their points in either the second or fourth quarter.
Series vs. Dordt
The Dordt football program is now in its 11th season of existence. Concordia has played the Defenders each year since 2008. Dordt actually got its first-ever football win in 2008 when it topped the Bulldogs, 17-14, in Sioux Center, Iowa. Since then, Concordia has defeated the Defenders nine-straight times. The last three meetings have all taken place in Sioux Center with the Bulldogs winning by margins of 13, seven and seven points, respectively. The deciding points came on the first play of the fourth quarter in last season’s matchup. Quarterback Riley Wiltfong delivered a 17-yard touchdown pass to Kiyoshi Brey to put Concordia in front.
All-time series vs. Dordt
2017 – W, 24-17 (Sioux Center)
2016 – W, 35-28 (Sioux Center)
2015 – W, 34-21 (Sioux Center)
2014 – W, 38-14 (Seward)
2013 – W, 32-0 (Sioux Center)
2012 – W, 52-12 (Seward)
2011 – W, 21-7 (Sioux Center)
2010 – W, 24-7 (Seward)
2009 – W, 28-12 (Seward)
2008 – L, 14-17 (Sioux Center)
Concordia saw its 10-game home win streak snapped by Morningside in the final game of 2017, but then got back to protecting its home turf in game No. 1 this season versus Buena Vista. Winners of 11 of their last 13 at home, the Bulldogs went 5-0 at home in 2016 and then 4-1 inside Bulldog Stadium in 2017. The only GPAC teams Concordia hasn’t defeated at home since the start of the 2015 campaign are Dordt, Jamestown and Morningside. Jamestown has never played at Concordia and Dordt has not been back to Seward since 2014.
Last 13 home games
9/22/18 | L, 7-35 | Midland
9/8/18 | W, 27-20 | Buena Vista
11/11/17 | L, 0-35 | No. 3 Morningside
10/28/17 | W, 38-16 | Dakota Wesleyan
10/14/17 | W, 44-14 | Midland
9/23/17 | W, 29-18 | No. 7 Doane
9/9/17 | W, 24-6 | Ottawa (Kan.)
11/12/16 | W, 31-28 | Hastings
10/22/16 | W, 20-14 | No. 22 Midland
10/8/16 | W, 56-0 | Briar Cliff
9/17/16 | W, 9-7 | Northwestern
9/3/16 | W, 23-7 | Mary (Kan.)
11/14/15 | W, 48-0 | Briar Cliff
In its young history, the Dordt football program has never been in a better position. Third-year head coach Joel Penner has worked wonders with an outfit that had never won more than two games in a season before his arrival. Now the Defenders have the look of a team capable of a top three or four finish in the GPAC. Lane Napier and the Concordia defense will have its hands full trying to handle a Dordt running game that ranks third nationally with an average of 306.3 yards per game. That running game features Levi Schoonhoven and also includes University of Iowa transfer Noah Clayberg, who has averaged 8.4 yards per carry on 21 attempts. Quarterback Brock Lamle has thrown for 38 touchdown passes in his career. His favorite target is Levi Jungling (11 grabs for 241 yards and a touchdown). On paper, the Dordt defense appears susceptible through the air. The Defenders sport national ranks of 66th in pass efficiency defense and 71st in passing yards allowed per game. Dordt may been sitting at 3-0 right now had it not been for its three turnovers in a 24-21 home loss to Doane. The Defenders present a significant challenge as one of the top offensive teams in the NAIA.