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A look at Minnesota Duluth football's next opponent: Concordia-St. Paul

Saturday's game kicks off at 1 p.m. at Sea Foam Stadium in St. Paul

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Minnesota Duluth placekicker Curt Cox kicks a field goal against Concordia St. Paul on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Malosky Stadium in Duluth, Minn. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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National rankings: Neither team is ranked.

Series: Minnesota Duluth leads 11-3 and has not lost a game against the Golden Bears since 2004. That includes a 33-13 victory Oct. 16, 2021, when the Bulldogs broke from a 12-0 lead after three quarters with a couple touchdown passes from Logan Graetz and a 10-yard TD run by Cazz Martin.

Coaches: Curt Wiese is 84-20 in nine seasons at UMD; Shannon Currier is 48-57 seasons at Concordia, which includes two stints with the Golden Bears sandwiching five seasons as the head coach at Truman (2004-08).

Outlook: Minnesota Duluth is coming off a 49-14 home victory over Mary as freshman quarterback Kyle Walljasper ran 14 times for career highs of 123 yards and four touchdowns. Starting quarterback Garrett Olson was 16-for-23 passing for 250 yards and also hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass. The Bulldogs also intercepted three passes and had seven quarterback sacks in their most complete game of the season. … Brandon Alt was 17-for-26 passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns as Bemidji State broke from a 13-0 halftime lead to down Concordia-St. Paul 44-0 last week. Conner Cordts was 12-for-28 passing for 134 yards and Jaylin Richardson rushed 16 times for 84 yards but the Golden Bears couldn’t penetrate the end zone. … Cordts is 90-for-183 passing for 1,071 yards, with five TDs to three interceptions, numbers you wouldn’t normally expect for a winless team.

“Honestly, they’re not a lot different than last week’s opponent (Mary),” Wiese said. “They’re a team that in the win/loss column has struggled but they’re a talented football team that has been in a lot of games this year, so it’s a team you’re going to need to prepare hard and play well against to make sure you’re not the first (to lose to them).”

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Richardson, meanwhile, has rushed 78 times for 455 yards, good for 5.8 yards per carry, so Concordia can move the football. The Golden Bears have had very competitive games with Augustana (5-1), Southwest Minnesota State (4-2) and Minnesota State-Mankato (4-2).

“They’re young, and they’ve got a lot of transfers, really in every spot,” Wiese said. “They’ve got guys from kind of all over who are probably still trying to figure some things out, but athletically I like them. Offensively, their quarterback runs around really well and they’ve got a big tailback, so this is not a much different matchup than we’ve seen the first six weeks.”

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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