JAMESTOWN, N.D. – By the time Saturday (Oct. 5)’s four-overtime slog came to a conclusion, players from both sides were caked in mud from head to toe. The sloppy conditions at Taylor Stadium in North Dakota ensured there would be no style points for either the Concordia University football team or Jamestown. On their homecoming, the Jimmies celebrated a 13-10 victory that ended with Sean Fenelon’s 22-yard field goal in overtime No. 4.
Other than the 44-0 win at Hastings, the Bulldogs have had their fans on pins and needles throughout the first half of the season. Four of five games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Head coach Patrick Daberkow’s squad has slipped to 2-3 overall and to 2-2 in conference play.
Rain before and during the contest made for a quagmire, particularly between the hash marks of one of the only grass fields still left in the GPAC. Unfortunately, the conditions negated Concordia’s athletic advantage at the skill positions and forced the visitors to virtually abandon a passing attack that has proven capable of making big plays. Still, the Bulldogs had their chances to escape North Dakota with a win.
A major blow to Concordia came on its possession to begin the fourth overtime. A personal foul on Jamestown and tough Ryan Durdon rushes of four and five yards had the Bulldogs knocking on the door. However, the Jimmies rose to the occasion with a stuff of Durdon on fourth down. On the ensuing possession, Jamestown moved into prime field goal range with the help of a pass interference penalty. After three-straight running plays went nowhere, Fenelon booted the game winner.
To put it simply, the offensive numbers were ugly, but hardly shocking given the mud pit surface. Both sides averaged fewer than 3.0 yards per play. Total yards were slightly in Concordia’s favor, 198-190. Durdon did his best to carry the mail. The Decatur, Texas, native toted the rock 35 times for 118 yards and a score. His touchdown in the first overtime knotted the game, 10-10.
There were a combined seven pass completions for 62 yards. Nearly all of the Bulldog yards through the air came on a 14-yard connection from Jake Kemp to Cayden Beran in the opening quarter. Concordia had entered the game having completed 15 passes of 20 or more yards.
The Bulldogs wound up plus-one in turnovers, though their only giveaway (a lost fumble in the first quarter) led to Jamestown’s lone three points in regulation. Concordia’s elite defense just about bailed it out at every turn. All-American linebacker Lane Napier came away with 18 tackles (three for loss) and two sacks. Chase Hammons added a pair of sacks and AJ Jenkins plucked an interception for the second week in a row. Spilinek’s pick occurred on fourth down of the first possession in the third overtime. Kicker Jordan Spilinek missed wide right on the next Bulldog possession with a chance to win it.
It took 68 attempts for Jamestown (1-5, 1-3 GPAC) to accumulate its 145 yards rushing. Jimmie receiver Garrett Mitchell caught three passes for 37 yards and scored his team’s lone touchdown. Jamestown earned a measure of revenge for last season’s 16-13 home loss to the Bulldogs.
Concordia will be at home each of the next two Saturdays with Dakota Wesleyan (1-5, 0-4 GPAC) coming up next week (Oct. 12). In last season’s defensive battle, Concordia edged out the Tigers, 14-9. This will mark the third year in a row that Dakota Wesleyan has traveled to Seward. In action on Saturday, the Tigers were beaten at home, 38-20, by Doane.