ST. PAUL, MN (KELO) — Augustana football scored the final fourteen points on Thursday as the Vikings opened their NSIC title defense with a 28-14 win over Concordia-St. Paul.

Augie relied on their ground attack as they rushed for 258 yards. Jarod Epperson rushed for 109 yards, while Casey Bauman rushed for 68 yards.

The Vikings finished last season as the NSIC regular season champions and they began their defense of that title on offense Thursday. However, an early interception by new Augustana quarterback and Montana State transfer, Casey Bauman set up the Golden Bears in great field position.

It didn’t take long for the Augie defense to respond as NSIC Preseason Player of the Year, Eli Weber, intercepted Concordia-St. Paul.

The next Golden Bear drive saw them push the ball into the redzone, but a missed field goal would keep the game scoreless in the second quarter.

The ensuing Augustana drive saw the Vikings rule the ground game. Their nine-play drive was fueled by eight rushes for 74 yards, including 44 yards from Jarod Epperson.

The drive ended with the first touchdown in an Augustana uniform from Bauman, as he ran it in from 17 yards out.

Following a Concordia-St. Paul three and out, the Vikings started in plus territory.

Six plays later, it was Bauman finding Jack Fisher for an 11-yard touchdown.

The Vikings led 14-0 at that point.

Concordia-St. Paul answered with a clutch touchdown drive. The Golden Bears went 68 yards over the next two minutes, to put a touchdown on the board.

Augie held a 14-7 lead at the break.

Concordia-St. Paul opened the second half with a near four minute drive that went 79 yards and concluded with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cordts to Drew Enke.

That evened the game at 14.

A couple minutes later, the Golden Bears had the ball and were looking for their first lead. That’s when standout defensive back, Eli Weber, stepped up again. He intercepted his second pass of the evening.

Five plays later, Epperson would score from three yards out, to lift the Vikings to a 21-14 lead, and they would never look back.

The Vikings started a third quarter drive, that finished on the first play of the fourth quarter as Bauman found Matt Francis for the touchdown pass.

Augustana had matched their largest lead at 28-14, with less than a quarter to play.

That’s when the Augustana defense took over.

The Vikings allowed a long drive into their own territory, but it was shut down with a fourth down pass break up by Weber.

The Golden Bears wouldn’t score in the final few minutes, as Augustana picked up the 28-14 win.

The Vikings will host Bemidji State on Saturday, September 10. Kick-off is set for 1:05 p.m. from Sioux Falls.