CHADRON, Neb (AUGUSTANA) – Playing a road nonconference game for the first time in 15 years, the Augustana football team emerged victorious, 27-3, at Chadron State Saturday afternoon. Augustana moves to 2-0 on the season while Chadron State, of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, slips to 1-1.
Augustana leaped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter on two big plays. First, it was an 80-yard touchdown reception by Jack Fisher, then it was a 60-yard reception by Canyon Bauer. The two long passes were part of a 291-yard passing day by Casey Bauman. Fisher was on the receiving end of 122 of those yards, a career-best.
In addition, Devon Jones broke the school record he set last week by returning a punt 89 yards for a touchdown. The reigning, and presumably favorite for this next week, NSIC Special Teams Player of the Week set the school record with an 85-yard punt return touchdown a week ago.
The Vikings racked up 400 yards of total offense while holding CSC to 214 yards including just 47 on the ground.
After opening the 14-0 lead, the Eagles split the uprights on a 45-yard field goal to close the first half while the second half was all Augustana.
The score moved to 20-3 as Jarod Epperson put an exclamation point on a 12-play, 88-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown. The senior running back scored his first touchdown in nearly a year after recovering from a season-ending injury early last season.
The final score of the game came courtesy of Jones’ punt return. He fielded the punt on the AU 11-yard line, took a few steps backward and let his blockers do the work along the left-side of the field. With two men to beat, he simply juke-stepped and watched both would-be tacklers fall while he split them into the open field.
Augustana’s defense was again strong, holding Chadron State to just the previously mentioned 47 yards rushing, an average of 1.6 yards per rush, and 2-of-16 on third-down conversion attempts.
Gradee Sherman tied what is thought to be the school record with three sacks in the contest, pushing Chadron State back 19 yards in the process. Myles Taylor and Zachary Richardson combined for a fourth Augustana sack in the game.
In addition, Logan Leonard picked off the CSC quarterback with a tip-toe interception, staying in bounds just long enough for his foot to hit the ground and squander another Eagles’ scoring opportunity.
Peyton Buckley and Kade Lynott led Augustana with seven tackles apiece, while Lynott recorded five solo.
Augustana remains on the road and rejoins the NSIC schedule on Saturday with a trip to Concordia-St. Paul. The contest is the Vikings’ lone night game of 2023 as kickoff in St. Paul, Minnesota, is slated for 6:30 p.m.