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From the Press Box: Carthage at Concordia Football Preview

From the Press Box: Carthage at Concordia Football Preview

After losing a couple of tough games to two quality opponents the past two weekends in Minnesota, the Concordia football squad wraps-up their non-conference schedule with their home-opener against the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin's Carthage College Red Men.

Carthage, fresh off a thrilling overtime victory at Lakeland, heads to Century Stadium with a 2-0 record. Besides their 35-34 win over the Muskies, the Red Men opened their 2010 campaign with a 30-27 victory over Indiana's Franklin College. In both games, Carthage third-year starting QB Evan Jones has shined, having completed nearly 57% of his passes while throwing for 575 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception.

It shouldn't really come as a surprise that Jones has had great success through the first two weeks of this season, considering that last year Jones set the school's single-season records for total offensive yards, passing yards, passing attempts, passing completions and touchdown passes thrown - all bettering his own marks set during the 2008 season.

Already Jones has been able to utilize seven different receivers, including Mike Koeneman, Tim Lukas and Jake Smith. Koeneman and Lukas each made six catches and Smith recorded five receptions last week in Howards Grove, with Koeneman having hauled in 11 total catches, Smith having snatched nine passes and Lukas registering eight receptions this year.

-NOTE: Smith is also very effective on the ground, leading the team with an average of 44 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns.

Of Carthage's average of 389 offensive yards per game, 289 of those yards come in the air. Besides the fact that the Red Men can be very effective with the pass, Carthage has also been involved in some lengthy games thanks to their offensive scheme. Through two weeks of play, an average Red Men football game lasts three hours and five minutes - which is nearly 20 minutes longer than the D3 College Football average thus far in 2010.

*Here are some other tidbits to know prior to Saturday's kickoff:

-With a win, the Falcons would snap their current nine-game non-conference losing streak (with their last non-conference win coming at home against then non-conference opponent Wisconsin Lutheran on September 15th, 2007). It would also be the first non-conference win in the Coach Greg Etter era.

-CUW Head Coach Greg Etter, now in his third season at the Falcons helm, came to Concordia following a stint as the Defensive Coordinator at Carthage. His Red Men defenses were nationally ranked in turnovers, scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense.

-Last season the Falcons finished 2-3 at home, after going 4-1 on the home turf in 2008.

-CUW kicker Dan Winsey has made 25 straight PAT's. The last time the preseason first team All-American (according to a number of sources) kicker missed a PAT was in the 2008 regular season finale against Rockford (his final attempt in that game was blocked).

-Carthage punter Tyler Funk was named a preseason first team All-American after setting a school record and leading the nation last season with an average of 44.4 yards per boot.

-Carthage is attempting to go 3-0 in non-conference play for a second straight season, while the Falcons are looking to avoid going 0-3 in non-conference play for a third straight season.

Surprisingly, this will be the first ever meeting between Concordia and Carthage (surprising when you factor that Carthage football began in 1895). These two programs are no stranger to one another however, being that Concordia and Carthage have met a number of times to scrimmage before each season.

Kickoff is slated for 1pm at Century Stadium, with both teams heading into their bye week following the game. Enjoy!