A late score and interception earns Key to the City win for USF

KELOLAND.com Original

Click the video player above to see highlights as seen on KELO-TV

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A late touchdown and a last minute interception help USF stun in town rival, #14 Augustana, 28-24 in the Key to the City Contest.

“In a rivalry game, I don’t know if there is such a thing as underdogs, and if there is, our guys didn’t believe that,” USF head coach Jon Anderson said. “I’m really proud of the way they played. It was a long week to deal with the way we played last week. I told them ‘if you play the way you can this Saturday and we win, it’s going to feel 100 times better than that loss we took.’ If you look around, I think that’s true today.”

“It feels great. There’s honestly no better feeling. We’re bringing the key back to Sioux Falls, so it’s all great right now,” USF wide receiver Dominic Pegley said.

Click the video player below to see the full highlights from USF’s win over Augustana


USF forced an Augie three and out, then answered with a scoring drive of their own. USF’s Adam Mullen found a wide open Hunter Schneider for a 17 yard touchdown. 

The Vikings answered on their next possession though it took nearly seven minutes.

Jarod Epperson took it 25 yards for the score, to cap an 18 play drive.

The game was tied at seven a piece, after one quarter.

In the second quarter, each team exchanged touchdowns, tying the game at 14. A last second touchdown from Jacqueve Lockett would put the Cougars in front 21-14 at halftime.

Augustana would score first in the third quarter as Kyle Saddler scored on a one yard touchdown run.

That sent the game to a 21-21 tie after three quarters.

An Augustana field goal would give the Vikings their first lead of the game at 24-21. That lead would hold up until a late drive by USF.

Adam Mullen connected on his career high third touchdown pass of the game as he found Dominic Pegley in the endzone for the 26 yard score.

“He’s comfortable back there, running a bunch of underneath patterns. Our coaches and coach Jim Chapin have put him in the right spot and you know, he executed. We knew with that series that it was probably going to be the last one that we got, so we determined to be aggressive,” Anderson said.

“I honestly, when I caught the ball and was in the endzone, I thought there was going to be somebody on me, but I was a lot more open than I thought. I don’t ask too many questions when stuff like that happens,” Pegley said.

A late interception would seal the win for USF as Gio Purpura intercepted Kyle Saddler. Saddler was the NSIC Player of the Week a week ago as he had seven total touchdowns, but the Cougars kept him in check.

Saddler was 20-44 for 212 yards and an interception. He rushed just one time for one yard and a touchdown.

“We just had to keep him off of his spots. He got a little uncomfortable at times. I don’t know if we sacked him today, but we made him uncomfortable,” Anderson said. “He’s a good quarterback, he’s been around forever and I’m glad I don’t have to face him again, but credit to our guys for changing up the looks and coming up at the end. We got the deal done.”

USF has now won seven of the nine Key to the City contests.

“Anytime you can win the Key to the City, and it was a long time since we had that because of the (Covid) delay and not playing last year, so that’s the thing that we wanted,” Anderson said. “It was go out and play the team this week and we see that we played pretty darn good.”

USF will play at SMSU next Saturday. Kick-off is set for 5:00 p.m. Augustana will host Upper Iowa next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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