Tradition, bragging rights and the opportunity to be a part of history are three things that come to mind when thinking of the MSUM and Concordia College rivalry.
Whether it is on the wrestling mat or on the track, MSUM and Concordia are competing against each other. But there is one sport where they are not: football. A tradition that started back in 1916 and went until 2007 hasn’t been played since.
With students at both campuses wanting to see the game back, they ask why it hasn’t been played. The answer is that there are scheduling conflicts and obligations that both schools have to make to their respective conferences.
MSUM plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and is Division II, while Concordia plays in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and is Division III. MSUM has an 11-game schedule and only plays within its conference. Concordia has a 10-game schedule that includes both conference and non-conference games.
“Because of the way the NSIC schedules its football games and with 11 conference games, that doesn’t allow for a non-conference game … until that changes, the game won’t be played,” MSUM athletic director Doug Peters said.
But that doesn’t stop the teams from playing one another in other contests. With the Dragons and Cobbers playing each other for more than 90 years on the gridiron, there is plenty of history that comes with the game.
The Cobbers lead the series 49-25-12 and narrowly defeated the Dragons the last time the teams faced, earning a 34-32 victory.
The game has seen many changes throughout the years, and there were sponsors as well. From Northern States Power to American Crystal Sugar Company, the game brought a lot of interest from the Moorhead community.
“The probability of the game being sponsored is very high,” Peters said.
Whether or not the game is sponsored doesn’t draw away from the interest of the game being played on both sides of the ball. Both MSUM and Concordia students agree that the game should be played, and it would be a great thing to get back.
“It would be a good rivalry and a cornerstone for both football teams,” MSUM communications studies junior Brady Kauk said. “The rivalry is something we have always had with Concordia, but it would be a town coming together and cheering for their team.”
It’s not just the football teams that take part in the game, it is the student bodies and the community of Moorhead. The game used to be a part of Greater Moorhead Days and was attended by many Fargo- Moorhead residents.
“There are very few things that rivaled the game,” Peters said.
With the schools only three blocks apart, the distance is short, and students on both campuses often interact with each other on a daily basis. From the classroom to the gridiron, Cobbers and Dragons are working and competing against each other in more than just a football game.
Not only was the game well-attended but also televised regionally across Minnesota. With more than just a game on the line, it is also about the campuses coming together for a Saturday afternoon and cheering on their team.
“It brings a great atmosphere and to see the colleges come together.” Peters said. “The community pays attention, and it makes for a great rivalry.”
Not just the players are affected by the game but coaches as well.
MSUM head coach Steve Laqua was a part of rivalry game when he played at North Dakota State University. He played for the Bison when they took on University of North Dakota, a game that was played for many years.
“I think with the close proximity it would make for a pretty good rivalry game,” Laqua said. “I think it is a great event that the student bodies from both campuses could rally around.”
Whether it was at the beginning of the season or the end, it doesn’t matter for students.
“I think it would be awesome to play MSUM,” Concordia communications junior Kristian Erickson said.
It would bring more interaction between the colleges, Erickson said.
“It would be better than homecoming,” Concordia business management and psychology senior Jesse VonWald said.
Both MSUM and Concordia students said it would bring the campuses and students together and interact more.
VonWald, Erickson and Laqua said that the stadiums would be packed at both sites, and that the student bodies would come together and go to the MSUM and Concordia fields.
VonWald and Erickson said that maybe the schools should play for something.
“I don’t know what it would be, but it would be fun to have something,” VonWald said.
With students at both schools holding out hope that the game will be played, Peters agreed with the students: “Hopefully someday we will play again.”
BY BREANN LENZMEIER