For 26 years, football fans in Sioux Falls and elsewhere have wondered aloud, how this season’s USF team would fare against Augustana and vice versa. But, now on Saturday, that wondering is all over.
The very first 'Key To The City' Rivalry game gets underway at 1 p.m. and players and coaches are feeling the pressure to win.
The last Augie v. USF game was played back on September 4th, 1986. The Vikings handed the Cougars a 20 to 0 loss, then the two schools didn't play each other for more than two and a half decades.
That streak ends on Saturday when USF travels three blocks or so to Kirkeby-Over Stadium to meet up with rival Augustana. And there will be plenty at stake from a win.
"We talked about it as a group that we are definitely playing for those guys that came before us. A lot of those guys have been wanting to play Augustana for a lot of years,” USF Senior linebacker Eric Anderson said. “To be a part of the first time in 26 years is really special."
It's safe to say KO Stadium will be host to the largest crowd it's seen in its short history when these two teams hit the field. With all that said, loud fan noise is expected and players are prepared for the added excitement.
"You know the biggest thing is to be able to control your emotions. You can't get too caught up in the hype. You got to be able to feed off that crowd noise and energy but still be able to stay poised and able to do your job," Augie Senior linebacker Austin Luecke said.
While winning the game is at the top of everyone's list, the rebirth of competition between the two schools has taken the front seat leading up to the contest. And that rivalry should be very good to both programs for years to come.
"The one neat part about the game is there's only one time that you get to play this one first," Augie head coach Mike Aldrich said, "It's got a lot of potential to be a very good game on both sides by both teams. Hopefully the game can live up to the hype."
"You try to keep it civil and all those things because rivalries can be so good. That's a class program over there, that's a class school,” USF head coach Jed Stugart said. “We feel the same about our school and I'm proud that so far both of the Universities have represented that well and embraced that. It's fun; it's been an exciting week."
Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 1 p.m.