Senior quarterback Josh Hanson accounted for all five of Augustanas touchdowns leading the Vikings to a 35-14 season-opening win over Northern State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football action on Saturday afternoon.
Hanson threw four touchdown passes and rushed for one, Augustana to its ninth straight win over Northern State (0-1). Hanson has thrown three or more touchdown passes in a game seven times in his career.
Dajon Newell led the Vikings on the ground with 106 yards on 16 carries.
Newell has rushed for 100 or more yards five times in his career.
Augustana finished the game with 216 yards on the ground and 203 yards through the air. Hanson finished the game 13 of 24 for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
Northern State rushed the ball 39 times for 236 yards, led by starting quarterback Jared Jacobson who rushed 15 times for 153 yards.
The Vikings (1-0), improve to 46-41-4 in season opening games and 27-6-1 all-time against Northern State.
Senior preseason All-America kicker Drew Behrens drilled a career-high 79-yard punt in the first half.
Austin Luecke led the Viking defense with 13 tackles. Augustana gave up
393 yards of total offense but came up with some big stops, including a fourth and goal from its own three yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Huisman returned the opening kickoff 41 yards setting up the Vikings for a quick scoring drive to begin the game. Hanson then guided the Vikings to a drive of 53 yards in four plays to put the Vikings up 7-0.
Hanson found Gebhardt with a pass for 28 yards on the second play of the drive before taking it into the end zone himself on an 18-yard dash.
The Augustana defense stifled the Wolves offense on their first possession but NSU put together a six-play 76-yard drive capped off by a 30-yard touchdown run by John Hughes.
The Vikings regained the lead, 14-7, at the 7:14 mark of the second quarter when Hanson found Ben Parsley for a 32-yard scoring connection.
Parsley beat the defender on a fade route and leaped and made a one-handed grab for his seventh-career touchdown catch.
After the score the Vikings forced the Wolves into a three-and-out before Gebhardt returned a punt for 34 yards to the Northern State 13-yard line. Three plays later, Hanson found Gebhardt on a slant in the end zone helping the Vikings take a 21-7 lead with 4:41 left to play in the first half.
The Vikings got the ball back with 3:21 to play in the first half and went 13 yards on seven plays but the drive stalled at the Wolves
44-yard line. The drive took up much of the remaining clock in the half, allowing NSU one attempt as the half came to an end.
Augustana rushed for 122 yards in the half, led by CJ Ham who went into the locker room with 48 yards on nine carries. Hanson was 9 of 18 passing in the first half throwing two touchdown passes and one interception.
Hanson delivered his third passing touchdown of the game on a 64-yard connection to Gebhardt giving the Vikings a 28-7 lead with 11:27 remaining in the third quarter. Gebhardt finished the game with four receptions for 104 yards, and matched a career-high with two scores.
Northern State closed out the third quarter with a nine-play 22-yard drive that took 4:29 off the clock. The Wolves lined up on fourth and goal from Augustanas three yard line but Zach Sirek came up with a big sack to stall the drive and turn NSU over on downs.
The Vikings added some insurance when Hanson tossed his fourth passing touchdown of the game, an 11-yard strike to Huisman completing a 21-play 83-yard drive that took 6:48 off the clock.
Four possessions later, Northern State got in the end zone when second string quarterback Zac Emde found Jordan Freeman in the end zone on a 23-yard passing play to make the score 35-14 in favor of the Vikings.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Augustana Athletics