Taylor Edged by No. 13 Concordia in Overtime Thriller
UPLAND, Ind. – Taylor and No. 13 Concordia locked horns in a defensive struggle on Saturday night, treating the fans inside Turner Stadium to a classic tilt that needed extra time before the guests escaped with a 17-14 victory.
Both defensive units flexed their muscles early, with the score knotted at 0-0 until Concordia (4-0, 4-0 MSFA) found the end zone with 1:54 to play in the opening half. Taylor had limited the Cardinals to two first downs and 50 yards of total offense until CU went 68 yards on nine plays to take the lead.
The Cardinals ended the half with just 118 total yards of offense but the Trojans were held to 104 total yards, with 52 yards coming through the air and 52 coming on the ground.
The Taylor offense broke through on its first possession of the second half however, using a 15-yard return from Preston Scott on a short kickoff to start at its own 43-yard line. After the drive opened with an eight-yard reception from Drew Bagley, Brendan Lamb broke loose for a 19-yard run and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass on the next snap to complete the three-play possession and draw the score even at 7-7.
TU took the ball back on a fourth down stop on its own 27 but an interception three plays later gave the ball back to the guests at the Taylor 30. The Cardinals capitalized on the short field with a seven-play touchdown drive to reclaim a 14-7 lead with 4:07 to play in the third.
The two sides then traded interceptions on the next two possessions and neither squad scored again until Taylor took over with 8:43 left in the contest.
The Trojans strung together a 14-play drive that spanned 79 yards and 7:36 of game action, resulting in the game-tying score with 78 seconds left in regulation. Zac Saltzgaber powered the extended march by completing five-of-five pass attempts and rushing three times. Saltzgaber delivered the final blow by calling his own number and beating the Cardinal defense to the pylon on a fourth-and-five play to tie the game at 14-14.
The TU defense provided one final stop in the closing seconds, as Josh Saltzgaber hauled in an interception to preserve the tie in regulation.
Overtime lasted just two possessions, with CU managing seven yards before splitting the up-rights from 35 yards out for the 17-14 lead. Taylor also failed to move the ball for a first down and saw its 40-yard field goal try, as well as its upset bid, fall short.
The contest was evenly played throughout, with Concordia posting 247 yards on 67 plays with eight punts and Taylor going for 242 yards on 68 plays with eight punts.
The Trojans finished with 104 yards on the ground for their fourth-straight game with at least 100 yards rushing in as many outings this season.
Lamb led the way with career-highs of 25 carries and 82 yards, while also setting personal bests with five catches for 42 yards and his first collegiate receiving touchdown. Zac Saltzgaber finished with 17 completions for 138 yards and added one touchdown through the air and one on the ground.
Jacob Hockett led the Taylor defense once again with a new career-high of 13 tackles for his third-straight game with at least 10 tackles. Josh Saltzgaber also set a career-high with 11 stops and joined De’Ariss Hope in collecting his first collegiate interception. Sam Bartu was busy once again with three quarter pressures and TJ Swore added six tackles.
Taylor (1-3, 0-3 MSFA) is set to resume play on Friday, March 26 with a 6:00 pm start at Indiana Wesleyan (1-3, 1-2 MSFA).