Turnovers Prove Costly as Cougars Take Down Regents

Mar Sean Vercher
Mar Sean Vercher

RIVER FOREST, Ill. - The Rockford University football team entered Saturday's game against Concordia University Chicago hoping to win its first NACC game of the season and its third straight against the Cougars. Although the Regents never led, Rockford was within striking distance for much of the afternoon as the Regents entered halftime trailing just 14-7. However, the Regents turned the ball over 4 times leading to 21 Cougar points, and Concordia Chicago would eventually put the Regents away in the second half scoring 21 straight points en route to a 35-14 win. 

The game appeared to get off to an excellent start for Rockford as the Regents took the opening kickoff and drove the ball 71 yards down to the Concordia Chicago 10-yard line. However, it was the Cougars who came up with the big play as they intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the RU scoring threat. The Cougar offense then capitalized on the turnover going 80 yards on 9 plays capped off by a 13-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead. 

The Rockford offense answered right back with a long touchdown drive of its own on the Regents very next possession. Rockford used 20 plays to cover 81 yards capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by RU freshman quarterback Darion Hornickel (Lowell, Ind.). On that drive the Regents converted on a pair of fourth downs and used a very balanced attack running the ball 11 times and passing it 9 times. The Rockford offense seemed to have control of the game as the Regents had the ball for 18:14 compared to just 4:32 for the Cougars through the first quarter and a half of play. However, the Cougars were able to scratch out one additional touchdown in the opening half to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.

The second half got off to a rocky start for Rockford as Concordia Chicago scored three touchdowns on its first four possessions. The Cougars received the opening kickoff of the second half and needed just 3:11 to cover 65 yards and take a 21-7 lead. Rockford then turned the ball over on its next possession giving the Cougars a short field. Concordia Chicago took advantage as it used just 6 plays to score its second touchdown of the quarter and jump out to a 28-7 lead. The Cougars final score of the game came after another Rockford turnover gave the Cougars a short field once again. Concordia Chicago used 10 plays to travel 48 yards and extend their lead to 35-7. 

Rockford however continued to fight as it has all season long and scored one late touchdown. Junior Joe Breeden (Burlington, Ill.) set up the drive with a 70-yard kickoff return to give the RU offense the ball on the CUC 28-yard line. Eight plays later, Hornickel connected with Mar Sean Vercher (Chicago, Ill.) for a 3-yard touchdown pass as Rockford pulled back to within three scores at 35-14. Unfortunately it was not enough as the Regents dropped their fourth straight game to fall to 1-5 on the season.

The Regents finished with 314 yards of total offense including 228 yards passing and 86 yards on the ground. Wide receiver Kalan Miller (Cordova, Tenn.) had another excellent game, catching 6 passes for 96 yards. Fellow wideout Mar Sean Vercher hauled in 4 passes for 39 yards and one score. The RU ground attack was led by sophomore Chance Manning (Durand, Ill.) who carried the ball 20 times for 63 yards. 

Defensively Rockford was led by the duo of Jose Robles (Round Lake, Ill.) and Jacob Cremeens (Roscoe, Ill.). Robles finished with a team-high 8 tackles, while Cremeens recorded 6 tackles.

Cornielius Downes (Detroit, Mich.) forced the Cougars' only turnover of the day with his second interception of the season.

The RU football team returns home next Saturday, October 22 to take on rival Aurora University. Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM at Sam Greeley Field.