RIVER FOREST, Ill. -- Concordia
University Wisconsin (3-6 overall) had all the momentum and head
coach Greg Etter's Falcons could see victory within reach after
cutting an early 10-point deficit against arch-rival Concordia
University Chicago to 17-14 and moving into scoring position at the
end of three quarters.
The stage for an upset was set as CUW snapped the ball from the Cougar 17 yard line. Suddenly everything turned sour as freshman quarterback Austin Damaschke's (Bristol, Wis.) short pass was intercepted and returned 86 yards for a back-breaking score that made it 24-14 CU-C.
Lady momentum deserted the Falcon sidelines at that point and the hosts went on to a 31-14 win that upped their season record to 6-2.
The Falcons scored first in this battle after an impressive 14-play, 77-yard opening drive that was capped by junior Carlton Austin's (Kingsford Heights, Ind.) 1-yard scoring plunge.
CUC got three points back on a Danny Colapietro field goal on the ensuing possession and then the Cougars took the lead on a 3-yard run just before the end of the quarter after a Falcon turnover.
The second of three killer CUW giveways came midway thru period number two when Damaschke's errant pass was returned 51 yards for a touchdown by Malcolm Godwin to make it 17-7.
Unfazed, the Falcons retaliated via a 21 yard Damaschke to freshman Garrett Wenzelburger (Hartland, Wis.) touchdown aerial on the final play of the first half to make it 17-14.
After a back and forth third quarter, CUW was poised to tie the game or take the lead when Jamel Gray outdid his defensive back teammate Godwin by racing 86 yards to the end zone with his own "pick 6".
Now leading 24-14, the Cougars added a late score on Jake Koehler's 1-yard run to account for the 31-14 final.
Austin led CUW with 79 rushing yards on 19 attempts and Damaschke finished 18-for-37 for 196 yards, one touchdown, but suffered the two critical interceptions.
The Falcons owned the stats column with 20 first downs and 316 yards of offense compared the the victor's 269 yards, but speed kills and the Cougars of recent seasons have plenty of that commodity on both sides of the football.
On this day the CUW defense was
exceptional, holding CU-C 140 yards under their per game yardage
average, essentially shutting down the vaunted Cougar passing
Etter's team will host Lakeland in their 2011 Northern Athletics Conference finale next Saturday at 12 p.m. at Century Stadium.