Augustana bounces back with Viking Days victory over Upper Iowa


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sean Engel totaled 10 receptions for 153 yards and three touchdowns as the Augustana football team prevailed 37-20 over Upper Iowa Saturday during Viking Days inside Kirkeby-Over Stadium.

Augustana, ranked No. 25 in the AFCA Coaches’ Poll, moves to 5-1 on the season while Upper Iowa drops to 0-6. The win is the ninth straight for Augustana on its home turf, a streak that entered the weekend as the third-best in the nation.

Augustana’s defense, led by the nation’s best rushing attack, allowed just 35 yards rushing. In addition, the Vikings got to the Upper Iowa quarterback five times, sacking for a loss of 43 yards.

The game got off to a fast start as it was one snap and the Vikings were on the scoreboard. It was a 68-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Saddler to Engel. The point-after attempt from Ben Limburg made it 7-0.

The Peacocks struck back on their first drive and scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass but after the PAT failed, AU maintained a 7-6 lead.

That proved to be the score in a penalty-filled first quarter. Limburg pushed the lead to 10-6 early in the second quarter thanks to a 44-yard field goal.

On its second drive of the second quarter, Augustana again used a one-play drive to get on the scoreboard. This time it was a 54-yard touchdown reception by Devon Jones from Saddler as AU went ahead 17-6.

Augustana struck one last time in the half, an 8-play, 90-yard drive put Augustana up 24-6 at intermission as Engel and Saddler connected again, this time just a nine-yard touchdown.

Much like how the game started, the first play of the second half went for a touchdown. However, this time it was for UIU. Zach Reader tossed an 81 yard touchdown to DJ Emsweller which also proved to be the first time the Vikings have been scored on in the third quarter in 2021.

Augustana struck back on its ensuing drive, again a Saddler to Engel touchdown. This time it was a 7-play, 65-yard drive over 3:03 of game clock as Engel caught the pass, tip-toed the sideline and dodged into the endzone for the 31-13 lead.

Limburg connected on this third field goal of the contest with 11:08 remaining in the game when he split the uprights on a 36-yard attempt to push Augustana’s lead to 34-13.

Upper Iowa had one more scoring drive, a 12-play, 75-yard drive which ate up 5:11 of game clock to pull within 14 points at 34-20. However, Augustana kept the pressure on and saw Limburg connect on one last field goal, this time a chip shot from 19 yards, to push the final score to 37-20.

Saddler tossed for a season-high 377 yards with four touchdowns against zero interceptions. Engel recorded a game-high 153 yards receiving and the three touchdowns while the fourth touchdown was the second-quarter pass to Jones. Augustana’s rushing attack was once again led by Jarod Epperson and his 62 yards.

Peyton Buckley snagged his NSIC-best fourth interception of 2021 while Eli Weber led the defense with eight tackles. He totaled four tackles for a loss, totaling 21 yards and also recorded 1.5 sacks. Sacks also came from Ryan Wesp, Grayson Diepenbrock, Sam Roble and Haden Wallace.

The Vikings travel to Wayne State on Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff in a battle of first-place teams. Wayne State and Augustana own identical 5-1 records in 2021.   

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