Augustana’s Saddler Named Preseason NSIC South Division Offensive Player of the Year, Vikings picked 3rd

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BURNSVILLE, Minn. (AUGUSTANA) – Augustana quarterback Kyle Saddler has been picked as the NSIC South Division Preseason Offensive Player of the Year the league announced Tuesday morning. In the same release, the Vikings were tabbed to finish runner-up in the South Division and third overall in a poll of the NSIC coaches. In addition, Eli Weber was tabbed as the Vikings’ defensive player to watch.

Saddler enters the 2021 season as a four-year starter, the most experienced signal caller in the NSIC. In 26 starts, he has tallied nearly 7,000 yards passing with 53 touchdowns. In the 2019 season, he quarterbacked AU to an 8-2 record before an injury had him miss the final game of the regular season and the playoff appearance.

The 2019 season saw Saddler rank second in the NSIC with 225 passing yards per game while tossing 13 touchdown passes and threw a career-long 82-yard touchdown. He completed 54 percent of his pass attempts while racking up 2,255 yards passing.

Weber saw a breakout 2019 campaign as he was named First Team NSIC All-South Division and landed a spot on the Don Hansen Super Region Four team. He ranked second in the NSIC with 13 pass breakups while starting all 12 games. He recorded four interceptions on a defense that ranked 10th in the nation with 19 interceptions.

In the preseason poll, the Vikings earned a first-place vote in both the division and overall, claiming 27 points behind Minnesota State who tallied 35 points. In the overall poll, the Vikings totaled 140 points, behind the 144 from Minnesota Duluth and the preseason favorite Mavericks with 168.

“I am excited for this 2021 football team for many reasons,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said. “First, the leadership and experience we have coming back from a 2019 playoff team has been outstanding through the last year and is motivated to get back together and play to our standard. Secondly, I look forward to the new players that have developed over the past year and the competition and depth they add to our roster. Lastly, I believe we will be a good football team in all three phases with experienced personnel at most all positions that have experience and success in the NSIC.”

The Vikings tallied a 9-3 record in 2019 and advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the fifth time in program history and second under Olszewski, a two-time NSIC Coach of the Year.

Augustana begins its 2021 campaign at home where it puts the nation’s seventh-longest home winning streak on the line against Minot State. The Vikings went undefeated in Kirkeby-Over Stadium in 2019.

Season tickets start at $69 and can be purchased at GoAugie.com/Tickets.

Full NSIC Poll
Overall                                             Points

1. Minnesota State (12)………………… 168
2. Minnesota Duluth…………………….. 144
3. Augustana (1)………………………….. 140
4. Sioux Falls………………………………. 135
5. Winona State (1)………………………. 126
6. Bemidji State ………………………….. 117
7. Concordia-St. Paul……………………. 96
8. Northern State ………………………….. 75
9. MSU Moorhead………………………… 74
10. Wayne State …………………………… 60
11. SMSU……………………………………. 46
12. Minot State ……………………………. 38
13. University of Mary………………….. 28
14. Upper Iowa ……………………………. 27
first place votes in ( )        


North Division                                Points
1.  Minnesota Duluth (6)……………….. 36
2.  Bemidji State (1)……………………… 31
3.  Concordia-St. Paul…………………… 26
4.  MSU Moorhead……………………….. 16
5.  Northern State …………………………. 15
6.  University of Mary…………………… 13
7.  Minot State …………………………….. 10           
first place votes in ( )


South Division                                 Points
1.  Minnesota State (5)………………….. 35
2.  Augustana (1)………………………….. 27
3.  Winona State (1)……………………… 26
     Sioux Falls………………………………. 26
5.  Wayne State …………………………… 15
6.  SMSU…………………………………….. 10
7.  Upper Iowa………………………………. 8
first place votes in ( )

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