SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Augustana football team is off to a perfect 4-0 start this season. Much of their success stems from the second best scoring defense in the Northern Sun Conference, as the Vikings are allowing less than 16 points per game.
Augustana’s defense held Northern State in check on Saturday as the Vikings outlasted the in-state opponent, 21-13.
“We just had so many guys step up and make the plays that they needed to when their number was called and we ended up with enough points to win the game. It was definitely good to see,” Augustana senior linebacker T.J. Liggett said.
A third of the Vikings points came from their defense, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Grayson Diepenbrock.
“Ben Kemp ends up forcing that sack and then Grayson picks it up and makes a nice play to score it. It takes eleven guys and if you get eleven guys to make a play like that, it can change a game,” Liggett said.
Saturday’s defensive score was the second time this season that the Augustana defense has provided a spark with a touchdown.
“That’s special, getting somebody to turn it over is big and when you turn it into points, it’s big. That along with special teams is the biggest change of field position and when you can change the score, it’s tough to come back from in a big game,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said.
Augustana has forced nine sacks this fall, including six from Diepenbrock, which places him third in all of Division II football.
“He does it snap to snap, it’s not just the sacks. What people don’t realize is the plays he’s making to change a play, to make a cutback, and to make a bounce. He’s a phenomenal football player and he’s even a better person,” Olszewski said.
Each player focuses on doing their one-eleventh and that has helped build the consistency on defense.
“I think it starts way back to the beginning of fall camp. We have leaders in the front, the middle and in the back half and they’re playing a cohesive game right now,” Olszewski said. “I think communication has been tremendous and a big part of our success.”
“That’s what all the coaches preach, you’ve got to do your job first and when you do your job, the plays will come to you. You don’t have to be Superman and step up and make huge plays, everything will just come to us,” Augustana senior defensive end Grayson Diepenbrock said.
Augustana and their defense will have another tough test this weekend, when they host USF on Saturday. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. and you can watch the game on KELOXTRA, the CW of the Black Hills and KELOLAND.com.