Augie football punches its ticket to playoffs

KELOLAND Sports Basketball Classic

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AUGUSTANA) — The Augustana football team completed its 2019 home slate with a perfect 6-0 record after topping Southwest Minnesota State 45-21 Saturday afternoon inside Kirkeby-Over Stadium. The Vikings, holding a 9-2 record, await their opponent in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs which begin Saturday, Nov. 23.

Augustana jumped all over the Mustangs on Senior Day, opening a lead of 35-0 midway through the third quarter. Senior Zach Masoli made his first-career start and threw for four touchdowns in the first half and totaled five touchdowns on the day.

His first two touchdown passes were to junior Sean Engel. First, a 44-yard completion followed by a 30-yard pass. The Vikings’ third touchdown of the day was a 56-yard flea-flicker to junior Nickel Meyers. Those three touchdowns totaled four plays, 145 yards and used just 60 seconds of game clock.

The flood gates opened when Masoli connected with true-freshman Devon Jones for his team-leading sixth receiving touchdown of the season and a 28-0 lead at the half.

On the Vikings opening drive of the second half, junior Rudy Sinflorant capped a 5-play, 43-yard drive with a two-yard score.

After Southwest Minnesota State (3-8) put its first touchdown on the scoreboard, sophomore Luis Guarita connected on a career-best 41-yard field goal to push the lead to 38-7. The field goal was his 16th make of the season, tying the single-season record for made field goals.

The Mustangs put back-to-back drives together to pull within 17 points at 38-21 but Masoli capped a 13-play, 70-yard drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown with just over five minutes on the clock to seal the final score of 45-21.

Masoli’s first start concluded with 232 yards and four passing touchdowns while tallying 35 yards and a rushing touchdown.

The Vikings’ defense held SMSU to 42 yards rushing and dominated the line of scrimmage. Augustana totaled 11 tackles for loss led by sophomore Eli Weber with 3.5. Senior Kyle Theis led the team with 13 tackles, eight solo, while Weber tallied 11 tackles. Junior Logan Swanson tallied a half-sack which pushed his season total to eight, tying the Augustana single-season record for sacks.

Engel concluded his day with 94 yards receiving and two touchdowns while Meyers ended with 72 yards receiving. Sinflorant led the ground game with 59 yards while the Vikings tallied 395 yards of total offense.

The Vikings celebrated Senior Day before the game and saw senior Mitch Webster play his first game of the year. Webster, who has been out with injury, made the start at tight end.

Up Next:

The Vikings await their opponent in the first round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs and will find out at 4 p.m. Sunday on the NCAA Selection Show. The show will be streamed on NCAA.com. The Augustana football team is hosting a Watch Party inside the Froiland Science Complex on the Augustana University campus. The public is welcome to view with the team in room 113.

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