Cobbers sophomore QB gets first taste of rivalry with Johnnies

Concordia sophomore quarterback Griffin Neal

MOORHEAD – Concordia sophomore quarterback Griffin Neal will be making his fourth collegiate start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium, but it will be Neal’s first against the Cobbers’ top rival, St. John’s.

Concordia coach Terry Horan said his advice for his young QB is simple heading into the big rivalry game.

“Don’t try to do too much,” Horan said. “play within the system and do what you’ve done all along.”

The Cobbers are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2005 after winning their Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener at St. Olaf last weekend.

St. John’s is the MIAC home opener for the Cobbers.

Neal isn’t completely green when it comes to the big-game atmosphere. He helped lead Fargo South to the 2010 North Dakota Class 3A state title. In that game, Neal passed for 243 yards and three TDs in a 28-14 victory against Bismarck High.

“He’s been in big games, it doesn’t matter the level,” Horan said. “A big game is a big game and he’s handled himself very well. … He’s calm, cool and collective and I don’t think any of that is going to change.”

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Neal has completed 30 of 46 passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns in three starts for Concordia.

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