The Cobbers will start a pair of freshmen in the offensive backfield.
"Itís the first time," Christopherson said. "For sure the first time against St. Johnís. Theyíre going to have to grow up in a hurry. However, by this time of the year, theyíre almost sophomores."
Freshman Marcus Ludtke will man the halfback position, while freshman Len Crouse will fill the fullback spot.
Ludtke is starting in place of senior Dan Steinbeisser, the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conferenceís leading rusher, who is out with strained knee ligaments. He suffered the injury in last Saturdayís 28-7 triumph over St. Thomas.
Steinbeisser wonít dress against the Johnnies and could possibly miss the Augsburg game the following week.
Crouse broke the starting lineup after a monster performance against Bethel two weeks ago. The 6-foot-3, 200 pound Hazen, N.D., product ran for 131 yards against the Royals.
Both played well against the Tommies, combining for 185 yards (95 from Ludtke and 90 from Crouse) on the ground.
"Theyíve definitely been responding well," Christopherson said.
Concordia will also see some changes on the defensive side of the football. Junior defensive end Ryan Albrecht will start in place of sophomore James Poock, who is suffering from a hip injury.
But Christopherson is still happy with the teamís health situation.
"Itís amazing to be this deep into the season and have so few serious injuries," Christopherson said.
Some of the luster might have been rubbed off the St. Johnís matchup. The Johnnies already have lost two conference games and three overall. But donít expect Concordia to take this game lightly.
"Since Iíve been here, we havenít beat St. Johnís," said senior linebacker Cory Polzine. "Youíre only guaranteed 10 games each season. Saturday is what we practice for. Weíll be ready to go against St. Johnís."
Concordia is in position to win its 18th MIAC championship.
"These are championship games," Christopherson said. "Whether St. Johnís is playing for a title or not, we are. I told the team there are two things that can stop us right now Ė injuries or attitude. We canít control our injuries, but we can control our attitude. Itís up to the players now."
1997 Cobber Football