QB Dunham enters senior season as Cobbers’ leaderMOORHEAD, Minn. — Soon after he made a big play during a home game last season, Mike Dunham made the mistake of standing next to Concordia head football coach Terry Horan. Horan smiled when he recalled the scene.
By: Eric Peterson, Forum Communications Co.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Soon after he made a big play during a home game last season, Mike Dunham made the mistake of standing next to Concordia head football coach Terry Horan.
Horan smiled when he recalled the scene.
“He was by me on the sideline and I smacked him on the butt and I said, ‘That a baby, Dunham!’ ” Horan said. “He comes back about two plays later and says, ‘Coach, easy next time.’ It was one of those Brett Favre smacks.”
Not even the raw emotion of Horan could crack the calm exterior of Dunham. The senior quarterback became the Cobbers starter during his sophomore year and has been a fixture at the position since, developing into a team leader.
“He is kind of a quiet leader,” Cobbers senior wide receiver Bronson Shepherd said. “I don’t think he has to be a ‘rah, rah’ guy. I think everyone knows he’s the captain and everyone looks up to him.”
The production speaks volumes for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Dunham. He set single-season schools record last fall in pass attempts (304), pass completions (193) and passing yards (2,027) – even though his missed one game due to injury. Dunham is on pace to set Concordia career records in each of those three categories heading into his final season.
Concordia opens this season against Dickinson State (0-1) at noon today at Jake Christiansen Stadium.
“I’d say that we are a more confident team this year than we have been in years past,” Dunham said. “We feel more like a top-tier team than we did last year.”
Dunham’s value to the Cobbers was evident in the lone game his missed last season, a 56-7 loss at St. Thomas. Prior to that, the Cobbers hadn’t lost a game by that large a margin since 1976.
“Our top player was out and it showed,” Horan said. “St. Thomas was good, real good, and not having your best kid in such a key spot, it took some of the wind out of our sails that day.”
As good as Dunham was a season ago, Horan sees an improved player through this fall camp. Dunham has a quicker release and his grasp of the team’s offense continues to improve, Horan said.
“You can just smell the confidence in the kid,” Horan said. “There are a lot of programs across the country that are higher (ranked) than us who would love to have him in their camp. That’s the level he is playing at. He’s that good and he can go down as being one of our best.”
Dunham wants to make his last season with the Cobbers a memorable one, and that includes vying for Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.
Concordia was 5-5 overall and 4-4 in the MIAC last season, finishing tied for fourth in the conference.
Dunham said building toward that larger goal starts Saturday.
“The first two non-conference games are very important, just to set the tone for our season,” said Dunham. “This year it kind of means more being my last year here and just the confidence and swagger that we have right now.”
Peterson is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.