The University of Sioux Falls utilized solid second half defense and an effective passing attack to hold on for a 31-23 victory over Concordia University Saturday night at Bob Young Field. Taylor Perkins recorded 305 yards and 4 TD, while cornerback John Tidwell had a big day on defense with two interceptions including one on the Golden Bears final drive. Entering the game for tied for first in the nation, the Cougars tallied three interceptions against CU to bring their total to 16 on the year. USF improves to 5-1-0 and 2-1-0 in NSIC South play, while CU drops to 2-5-0 (1-2-0, NSIC South).
USF got the passing game going early, scoring on their opening drive for just the second time this season. Perkins and the Cougars marched 75 yards in 14 plays, completing the drive with an impressive five yard strike to Jeremiah
Oates on a comeback to take a quick 7-0 lead.
Five plays into CUs first drive Tidwell made recorded his first interception. USF turned his pick into seven more to hold a 14-0 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Opposite to USF, the Golden Bears went to the ground game in the first half, gashing USFs defense for 60 yards on their second drive. However, it would be CU quarterback James Peterson who capped the drive, diving into the endzone to make it 14-6 with 12:48 left in the second quarter.
Fans would see an additional score from each side to make for a 21-13 game at the break.
USF made adjustments and went back to the run game in the second half, and actually found success, picking up back-to-back first downs from Jordan Taylor. But Taylor didnt have the ball in his hands when he made his biggest play of the game. He laid a key block on a CU corner back to spring free Jeremiah Oates for a 40 yard catch and score. The Cougars went ahead 28-13 with 4:47 left in the third.
Just when they looked out of it, CU went deep into the playbook for a fake punt. Tom Obarski picked up 18 yards on fourth down plus a late hit penalty to move into USF territory. Obarski completed the drive with a 52 yard field goal to begin the fourth quarter.
Braden Wieking answered with a 36-yard field of his own to give the Cougars a decisive 31-16 lead with 9:28 on the clock.
CU didnt lie down and they kept things interesting with a Cordell Smith 18-yard TD with 2:56 to play. They proceeded to execute a flawless onside kick, which Jermaine Clemon recovered to give the Golden Bears another chance.
But USFs defense came up big again. Tidwell picked off Peterson for the second time of the game to seal it.
Perkins went 21-39 for 305 yards 4 TDs, his third 4-plus TD game of this season. His primary target was Carrington Hanna, who recorded eight catches and 113 yards. He found the endzone once.
After a quiet game at Winona State, Jeremiah Oates returned to his scoring ways, tallying two TD receptions tonight. He added four catches and 107 yards.
Eric Anderson and Robert Virgil led the defense with nine tackles each. Michael Frericks added seven stops and one interception.
Up next, USF stays in Sioux Falls for a revamped rivalry game October 20 at Augustana. It will be their first meeting on the gridiron in 26 years.
Courtesy: Dennis Gamble, USF Athletics