SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Augustana football scored in all three phases of the game, stacking up seven total touchdowns in route to a 48-16 win over U-Mary on Viking Days at Kirkeby-Over Stadium. With three games to go in the regular season, the Vikings (5-3, 2-2 NSIC south) have already surpassed their win total from last year. U-Mary falls to 0-8 (0-4 NSIC north) overall.
Augustana head coach Jerry Olszewski is proud of his team and specifically for his seniors. “We have some amazing senior leaders,” Olszewski said, “They have done a great job with this program and I loved watching them sing the fight song today at home.”
The Vikings started with games first possession and came out flying. Luke Fritsch brought back the opening kick 39 yards to give the Vikings great field position. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Kyle Saddler rolled out and hit Chet Peerenboomfor a 42-yard pickup. Moments later, Rudolh Sinflorant capped off the drive with a 1-run touchdown run.
U-Mary’s first possession featured a three-and-out from the Vikings defense. With the Marauders punting inside their own 20, Augustana sent the house and redshirt freshman Sam Roble got his hand on the ball. Isaac Weber fell on the loose ball in the end zone and it was 14-0 just minutes into the game. The punt block touchdown marked the first time the Vikings have accomplished that since Sept. 2016 (Brett Shepley vs. Crookston).
The Vikings offense got the ball back and went right back to work. Saddler drove the team into the red zone, and true freshman Braiden Petersen found the sideline for a 15-yard touchdown. At the 4:29 mark of the 1st, the Vikings had a 21-nothing lead. Equally impressive was the play of the Vikings defense in the first. Starting up front, Augustana allowed 23 yards and one first down in the first 15 minutes.
The second quarter opened with some trickery from the Vikings. Kyle Saddler handed off to Sinflorant, who pitched back to Saddler for a flea flicker. Saddler dropped a great ball over the shoulder to Nickel Meyers for a 43-yard touchdown, making it 28-0. Meyers and Saddler have now connected for a touchdown in four straight games, the longest streak this year. The Vikings defense continued to flex to finish out the half. Big tackles from Michael Kloza, Kyle Theis, and a sack from Joey Newman limited the Marauders to just 2 rushing yards and 62 total yards in the 1st half.
The second half started with the Vikings on defense, and they stayed stingy on the turf. On third and long, U-Mary quarterback Jason Hoekstra looked and threw right, but Kenneth Griffin stepped into the route and picked off the pass. The junior took it to the house for a 49-yard interception, marking the Viking’s first pick-six this year and first since Oct. 2017 (John Water vs. Upper Iowa).
Later in the third, U-Mary got the ball back and put together their best drive of the afternoon. A rush from Reggie Scott got them near the red zone, and Brody Riggs converted on a 39-yard field goal to give the Marauders their first points of the game.
However, the Augustana offense kept their foot on the gas. Saddler found Jake Welsheimer for 16 yards, and then moments later hit Meyers on a crossing route over the middle. The junior bounced off a tackle and found the end zone for his second TD of the game. Meyers, who finished with five catches for 93 yards, now has seven touchdowns in the last four games. Saddler finished the day with 277 yards and two touchdowns. For the third straight week, the Vikings offensive line allowed just one sack on the day.
From there, the Vikings defense slammed the door. Sacks from both Jonathan Lee and Robel shutdown the Marauders offense. In addition, both Eli Weber and Ryan Wesp added nice inceptions for the Vikings defense. Overall, the Vikings limited U-Mary to just 241 yards of total offense. Augustana held U-Mary to just 39 rushing yards, the Vikings lowest total of the year. Five Vikings led the way with five tackles a piece. Over the last four games, Augustana has allowed an average of just 256 yards and 17 points per game.
Late in the 4th, the Vikings got a chance to get some underclassman in, including quarterback Zach Masoli, who scrambled six yards for his first career Augustana touchdown. The 48 total points scored by Augustana matches a season-high and is the fourth time the Vikings have scored 40 or more this year.
The Vikings will now hit the road next Saturday for a matchup with Concordia-St. Paul. The Vikings, who are 4-0 on the road this year, will kick off at 1 p.m. vs. the Golden Bears. Fans can follow all the action at GoAugie.com/live.
The Vikings scored in all three phases of the game (offense, defense, special teams) for the first time this season.
With a block from Sam Roble and Isaac Weber recovery in the end zone, the Vikings got their first punt-block touchdown this year, and first since Oct. 2017 (Brett Shepleyvs. Crookston)
Kenneth Griffin picked off a 49-yard pass and returned it for a touchdown. That’s his first career interception and first pick-six since Oct. 2017 (John Walter vs. Upper Iowa).
Augustana record three interceptions on the day (Griffin, Eli Weber, and Ryan Wesp), which matches a season-high.
Nickel Meyers scored two more touchdowns on Saturday and now has seven in the last four games.
The Vikings offensive line has only allowed eight sacks in eight games.
The Vikings Kyle Saddler finished with 277 yards and two touchdowns.
The Vikings totaled four sacks and 11 tackles, their second-best totals of the year.
Augustana held U-Mary to just 39 rushing yards, the Vikings lowest total of the year.
In week seven, the Vikings allowed less than 50 rushing yards for the first time since Nov. 1, 2017 (32 vs. Concordia-St. Paul).
Over the last four games, Augustana has allowed an average of just 256 yards and 17 points per game.
Rudolh Sinflorant has 709 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this season. The program’s single-season rushing record is held by Joe Clark (2008) with 1,114 yards.
Augustana had five players finish with five tackles for the first time this year.
The Vikings are 36-28 all-time under head coach Jerry Olszewski, with coach ‘OJ’ earning his first ever win as a Viking at MSU Moorhead in the 2013 season-opener, 41-28.