College football: Big plays cost Aurora University
By Bill Kindt For Sun-Times Media November 3, 2012 5:50PM
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:47AM
When a football game turns into a turkey shoot, the team with the most ammunition usually wins.
Concordia-Wisconsin had more bullets Saturday afternoon and rolled to a 45-31 victory over Aurora University Saturday at Vago Field on senior day.
AU (4-5, 3-3 Northern Athletics Conference) had no answer to Concordia’s offense, particularly quarterback Austin Damaschke who burned the Spartans for 390 yards (26 of 37) and five touchdowns.
“I’m disappointed in a lot of different ways,” AU head coach Mark Walsh said. “I thought we weren’t great in any one area.”
The Spartans dug themselves into an early 14-0 hole as Damaschke threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first six minutes.
AU did show spunk by battling back to tie the game on a TD pass from Jimmy Bevell (24 of 42 for 219 yards) to Derek Powell and a TD pass from Jace Koerner (6 of 7, 107 yards, 2 TDs) to Michael Beasley-Hart.
The joy didn’t last.
The Falcons (6-3, 5-1), helped by two 15-yard penalty calls on the Spartans, scored the go-ahead TD on a 1-yard plunge by Damaschke. AU answered with a 30-yard Fernando Albarran field goal to remain in striking distance.
Then AU’s secondary turned into burnt toast.
Damaschke connected with Erik West on a 66-yard scoring play then with Garrett Wenzelburger (8 catches, 148 yards) for 85 yards and another score as the Falcons went into halftime holding a 35-17 lead.
At one point in the first half, Damaschke had carved up the AU secondary with 11 completions for 267 yards. The Falcons needed only 20 plays to score five touchdowns, and AU held a 22:19 to 7:41 edge in time of possession.
It was the big plays that killed AU.
“We talked about getting off to a good start (and) we didn’t get off to a good start. We talked about not giving up big plays and we immediately gave up big plays,” Walsh said.
Actually, AU’s best weapon was Derek Powell. The senior not only caught six passes for 82 yards and a TD but averaged 40.7 yards on six punts.
Bevell, who had played two straight outstanding games throwing for over 700 yards, wasn’t at his best in his final home game. Even though he finished with 219 yards and a pair of TDs, Bevell also was intercepted three times.
It wasn’t all his fault. Penalties were also a huge factor. The Spartans were flagged eight times for 130 yards, some helping Concordia’s offense while others crippled AU’s offense.
“To me, the penalties weren’t just about yardage,” Walsh said. “It was a disruption of rhythm and it’s also demoralizing because now all your hard work is flushed away. It’s really frustrating.”
The Spartans end the season next Saturday at Rockford with an opportunity to finish with a 5-5 record.