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Football Hosts No. 6 Bethel in Non-Conference Action Saturday

Football Hosts No. 6 Bethel in Non-Conference Action Saturday

MEQUON, Wis. - Concordia University Wisconsin's football team is looking to bounce back from a season-opening loss when they host No. 6-ranked Bethel University on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Century Stadium.

Matt Menzl returns for his 10th season as the play-by-play voice of the Falcons and will call Saturday's contest. To watch and listen, click here. Or you can follow the action with Twitter updates, by clicking here.

CUW (0-1) dropped its thrilling 34-31 season opening game to Augsburg College this past Saturday in an offensive and weather-filled affair. After waiting out several lightening delays, the clash between the two squads didn't start until 3 p.m., two hours after the scheduled start time. The back-and-forth game featured eight lead changes and nearly 600 yards of offense.

The Falcons built a 24-13 lead in the third quarter behind 153 rushing yards, 99 coming from junior Carlton Austin (Kingsford Heights, Ind.) on 13 carries (7.6 average) and a touchdown. Junior Patrick Czerwiec (Norridge, Ill.) led the aerial attack with 98 yards two TDs. Augsburg answered with a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown and a key drive in the final minutes to go ahead for good on a 10-yard touchdown run with 5:23 remaining.

Defensively, linebacker Zac Wielepski (junior, Oak Creek, Wis.) forced a crucial fumble and finished with nine tackles, while defensive end Carlton Nolen (junior, Milwaukee, Wis.) picked off a pass and defended two passes.

CUW's 31 points was the most scored in a season opener during head coach Greg Etter's tenure. It was also tied for the seventh highest scoring output by the Falcons with Etter at the helm.

Under first-year offensive coordinator Henny Hiemenz the Falcons ran a balanced offensive attack to finish with 33 rushing attempts and 25 passing attempts for an average of 4.0 yards per play. CUW entered the red zone on four occasions and scored on all four attempts - 3 TDs, 1 FG.

One of the Falcons game goals is to control the clock and they did that with 31:16 time of possession. However, it turned the ball over twice with two interceptions, one which was returned for a score. Exiting halftime the offense used a Czerwiec to sophomore running back Ryan Zaporski (Jackson, Wis.) connection to build a 24-13 lead, the fifth largest lead built under Etter's direction in a non-shutout contest. Czerwiec connected with nine different receivers throughout the game. Junior wide receiver Erik West (Plymouth, Wis.) hauled in three passes and a touchdown - the TD put the Falcons in front 31-28 with 10:58 remaining in game.

Prior to the season, Etter said he was going to use a three-headed running attack and he stuck true to his word. Austin, sophomore Joseph Paul (West Bend, Wis.), and senior Matt Gould (Prattville, Ala.) all carried the ball at least six times. The trio combined to average 5.5 yards per carry, with a long of 31 and two touchdowns.

The defense is facing a daunting task on Saturday against the No. 6-ranked Bethel, who has scored an average of 48 points and totaled over 450 yards in each of its last three victories over CUW. However, forcing turnovers is a crucial aspect of any defense and CUW forced a pair of Augsburg miscues. Wielepski created the biggest play for the Falcon defense when he forced a fumble, which the offense capitalized on to go ahead 24-13 in the third quarter.

The biggest surprise of the game was Nolen's play as a defensive lineman. Not very often does a 6-foot-1, 255 pound lineman drop back into coverage, intercept a pass and return it 15 yards. In all, it was a team effort as CUW recorded six tackles for loss, defended four passes, forced two fumbles, and record a sack.

Senior punter Bobby May (Palm Beach, Fla.) was needed just four times in the season opener and averaged 36.8 yards per punt - 1.2 yards more than last season - including a 44 yard punt and one inside the 20-yard line.

In the return game the Falcons averaged just 16.3 yards per return on a combined eight returns. Senior wide receiver Vincent Greefkes (West Bend, Wis.) took over the kick return duties and averaged 18.8 yards on five returns, with a long of 34.

Bethel (1-0) enters with the third highest powered offensive attack in the nation (DIII) after piling up 605 yards during last week's 55-3 win over Simpson College. The Royals 439 yards on the ground ranks first in the nation among DIII schools. Brandon Marquardt and Josh Aakre each ran for over 100 yards and combined to score four touchdowns.

Aakre, the Royals quarterback, scored three times on the ground - including a 75-yard TD scamper - and completed 10-of-14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Aakre was a part of the first five Bethel scores as it entered the intermission with a 34-0 lead.

While the Royals offense can light up the scoreboard, their defense is just as powerful after holding Simpson to 109 total yards and three points. The defense allowed just seven completions for 32 yards and held the opposition's rushing attack to a 2.6 yard average.

CUW will begin its longest road trip of the season, three games, when it travels to Carthage College for a Saturday, Sept. 17 matchup at Art Keller Field beginning at 1 p.m. The Falcons won't return home until Saturday, Oct. 15 - homecoming - for a Northern Athletics Conference showdown against preseason favorite Benedictine University.

For more information on the CUW football team or all 23 Falcon athletic programs, visit or the Athletic Department's Facebook page, Twitter feed, or YouTube playlist.

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