The Cougars of Concordia University Chicago opened up the 2008 campaign with a strong offensive showing on Saturday defeating Blackburn College 41-15.  After a scoreless first quarter of play, Concordia drew first blood scoring on a 12 play 51 yard drive capped by a six yard run by sophomore running back Khyree Copeland. The extra point was missed but the Cougars would score again on a 10 yard pass from junior quarterback Mike Marotta to junior receiver Mike Egebrecht. Blackburn would answer with an 11 play 67 yard drive, but could not punch the ball in the end zone and settled for a 25 yard field goal from Brad Shaner.

With 1:22 remaining in the first half the Cougars took the ball and drove 70 yards on four plays, including a 42 yard reception by freshman Jamal Thomas, and ended with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Marotta to junior receiver Lukas Weeks making the score 20-7. But with just 29 seconds remaining in the half

Concordia wasn’t done scoring. After senior kicker Ben Price pinned the Beavers inside the ten yard line, sophomore defensive end Cory Howard recovered a fumble on the Blackburn eight yard line. Two plays later Copeland would cross the goal line for his second touchdown of the day. The half would end with the score 27- 3. Blackburn threatened to get back into the game early in the third quarter after a Marotta pass was intercepted by Josh Glisson and returned to the Concordia 17 yard line. The Beavers would score on a one yard run from Harold Lewis making the score 27-9 and cutting the Cougar lead to 18. But Concordia’s offensive unit would respond on the very first play of the next drive. With remaining in the third quarter Copeland found a huge hole in the defense and sprinted 67 yards for a Concordia touchdown and following Price’s extra point, a 25 point lead.

A little over three minutes later the Cougars would add one more touchdown on a 69 yard touchdown pass to Thomas to put the game out of reach. Blackburn added a touchdown late, but the game would end with Concordia on top 41-15. On the day Concordia’s offense had both a 200+ yard passer and a 100+ yard rusher. Marotta finished the day 12/23 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns, Copeland rushed 17 times for 136 yards, and Thomas had three receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown. Concordia head coach Lonnie Pries was pleased with the offensive performance but knows there is still work to be done.

“It was great that the offense came out so sharp. We still have a few things to improve on, such as turnovers and cutting down on third down conversions,” he said. “But we saw some good defensive flashes and were happy the offensive unit was clicking better than we thought,” he continued.

The Cougars have a good opportunity to start the season 2-0 as they travel to Eureka College next week. Concordia will look to build on their offensive efficiency and solid special teams play while improving their defensive consistency. The Cougars face off against the Red Devils Saturday at one.

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