Augustana accounted 329 yards of total offense, its most since the season opener on Sept. 7 in a 27-10 loss at Sioux Falls on Saturday night. The Cougars (5-3, 3-1 NSIC South) went for 433 total yards, including 234 on the ground in the win over the Vikings (3-5, 1-3 NSIC South).
Augustana held Sioux Falls to just two field goals in the first half, but wasn't able to push the ball into the end zone until midway through the fourth quarter.
Ben Skelly led Augustana defensively with 13 tackles, 12 of which were solo tackles. He posted three tackles for loss in the game for the Vikings. Brandon Mohr intercepted his first career pass and returned it 34 yards while picking up 10 tackles.
Dajon Newell led Augustana on the ground with 59 rushing yards and a touchdown, his 20th career rushing touchdown. The Vikings finished with 142 rushing yards in the game. CJ Ham added 50 rushing yards, including a career-high 39-yard run.
Trey Heid completed 27 of 48 passes for 187 yards while running for 33 yards. Grant Gebhardt led Augustana's receiving corps with 59 yards on nine catches. Matt Gerry caught seven passes for 39 yards while Noah Huisman grabbed five passes for 67 yards.
USF was led offensively by Nephi Garcia, who rushed for 159 yards on 29 carries with three touchdowns. Carrington Hanna completed 21 of 37 passes for 199 yards and threw one interception.
Wes Smith led USF with 64 receiving yards on five catches while Austin Vanhove caught six passes for 40 yards.
USF started the scoring in the game when Bradley Hatfield hit a 41-yard field goal just under four minutes into the first quarter. The Cougars converted twice on third and short on the opening drive but the Viking defense held USF on third down and six at its own 24-yard line to force the field goal.
The Cougars extended its lead to 6-0 with 4:27 remaining in the first quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Hatfield.
Augustana got the ball with 1:16 to play in the second quarter and took a shot at the end zone. On first-down and 10-yards to go from the USF 40-yard line, Heid found Huisman in the end zone and he made the catch but was called out of bounds and for offensive pass interference.
The call pushed the Vikings back to their own 45-yard line with seven seconds left in the half.
USF would take its 6-0 lead into the half. The Cougars accounted for 205 yards of total offense in the first half, but the Vikings would hold them to just two field goals.
Augustana finished the half with 166 yards of total offense, including 91 rushing yards and 75 passing yards. Ham led the Vikings with 49 rushing yards in the half, including a career-high 38-yard run in the first quarter.
Gerry and Gebhardt each had four receptions in the first half, for 26 and 24 yards, respectively.
Augustana got just what it needed midway through the third quarter when Brandon Mohr intercepted a Hanna pass and returned it 34 yards into USF territory. Ben Albrecht cut the Cougars lead in half hitting a 28-yard field goal to make it a 6-3 game with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
USF got a big surge on special teams when Wes Smith returned a punt 42 yards before being knocked out of bounds by Dunn. Three plays later, Garcia broke-off a 35-yard run for a touchdown to give USF a 13-3 lead with 44 seconds to play in the third quarter.
Augustana's defense forced USF to punt for the fourth time on the Cougar's next possession but Gebhardt muffed the punt return on a fair catch attempt and USF recovered at Augustana's seven-yard line. Garcia made it a 20-3 game on a one-yard touchdown run.
Augustana got on the board with 4:35 left in the game on a sneaky play. On fourth-down and one-yard to go from the USF 19-yard line, Heid appeared to attempt a quarterback sneak but pitched the ball to Newell, who darted 19 yards for a touchdown. The score brought Augustana to within 10 at 20-10 with just over four minutes left in the game.
Augustana extended its lead to 27-10 with 1:48 left on a one-yard touchdown run by Garcia.
Gabe Dunn had another great day punting for Augustana. Dunn punted for 314 yards (39.2 yards/punt). Dunn averaged 39.2 yards per punt, including a long of 55 yards while pinning four inside the 20-yard line.
Augustana returns to Kirkeby-Over Stadium next Saturday to host Concordia-St. Paul at 1 p.m.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College