SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Augustana) – It was a Viking Days victory for the Augustana football team in a 31-27 triumph over MSU Moorhead inside Kirkeby-Over Stadium. While celebrating the 100th homecoming, the Vikings moved to 4-0 on the year while MSU Moorhead fell to 2-2.

The victory marked the 99th win in head coach Jerry Olszewski‘s career as AU got a jumpstart on the first play of the game. After Isaiah Huber returned the opening kickoff 45 yards, Jarod Epperson took the handoff and went to the left side of the field 53 yards for the touchdown.

The Dragons scored a touchdown on their opening drive, but missed on a 2-point conversion attempt, giving AU a 7-6 lead through the first quarter.

Stretching the end of the opening frame and into the second quarter, Augustana put together an 11-play, 90-yard drive to push a 14-6 lead as Casey Bauman threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Canyon Bauer.

With just six seconds on the clock, Epperson tallied his second touchdown of the game with a one-yard run to cap a 14-play, 75-yard drive. The score gave AU a 21-6 lead at halftime. The drive was kept alive as punter Avery Book took advantage of an offsides Dragon defender and rushed four yards for a first down.

The Dragons took the kickoff to start the second half and used a 13-play, 75-yard drive to pull within a touchdown at 21-14.

Augustana answered quickly as Huber took the kickoff back 86 yards for the touchdown. The run marked AU’s third special teams touchdown of 2023.

In the closing minutes of the third quarter, MSU Moorhead again pulled within a touchdown as Jack Strand threw a nine-yard pass to Madden Thorson for a 28-21 score.

Augustana then marched 52 yards while using 6:06 of game clock to have Jake Pecina split the uprights on a 34-yard field goal, pushing Augustana’s lead to 31-21.

After the two squads traded possessions, the Dragons scored their final points of the game on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Strand to Gage Florence. After the failed two-point conversion, the score stood at 31-27.

Forced to use an onside kick with 1:20 remaining, Jack Fisher leaped on the ball and didn’t give MSUM the chance to recover. Augustana then managed the clock with a steady dose of Epperson to move into victory formation and secure the win.

Augustana ended the game with 205 yards passing from Bauman and 131 yards rushing, led by Epperson’s 85 yards. Bauman added 30 yards rushing for AU. His top target in the passing game was Epperson with six catches for 48 yards while Logan Uttecht made three catches for 49 yards.

Augustana’s defense limited MSUM to just 90 yards rushing as Peyton Buckley totaled six tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. All six tackles were solo.

Book, quickly asserting himself as the NSIC’s top punter, punted three times for an average of 47 yards. Two of his punts were over 50 yards.

Augustana makes the short trek to the south side of Sioux Falls on Saturday in the ‘Key to the City’ game. Kickoff from Bob Young Field is at 1 p.m.