Augustana fumbles away playoff hopes
Augustana and Minnesota State-Mankato entered Saturday’s clash at Kirkeby-Over Stadium knowing a loss would be a serious blow to their respective playoff hopes.
They played like it, too.
The Vikings battled back from down 18 points, but the Mavericks’ offense—and the Vikings’ miscues—eventually resulted in a 42-35 Mankato win.
Augustana (4-3) appeared to be in rough shape after a turnover on the first drive of the third quarter and subsequent Mankato (5-2) touchdown made the score 28-10 in favor of MSU.
The stadium was silent. The Vikings knew their predicament.
The Vikings responded with 18 straight points to tie the game, displaying a defensive intensity they hadn’t brought to the first half.
Kirkeby-Over Stadium was electric. But the ensuing kickoff changed that.
Mavericks’ junior returner Corey Brent took the kick 84 yards to the Augustana 12, and, one play later, senior quarterback Ricky Lloyd hit junior running back Erik Fuller for a touchdown.
Augustana marched back into Minnesota State territory but eventually turned the ball over on downs. The Vikings forced a punt and took over on their own four yard line, but another mistake cost them dearly.
Sophomore running back Caden Quintanilla fumbled. Mankato recovered. The Mavericks scored again a play later.
In a matter of minutes, a promising comeback turned into a 14-point deficit.
The Vikings continued to fight, though, going 70 yards in less than three minutes, a drive capped by a touchdown run by junior running back Jackie Davis to make it 42-35 with 7:48 remaining.
Brent took the ensuing kickoff around the left side, and, as he looked for a seam, sophomore linebacker Matt Wagner flew in and punched the ball away. It fell right to redshirt freshman receiver Drew Reinschmidt, and only 22 yards stood between the Vikings and another tie game.
The Vikings would get to the one-yard line before turning it over on downs.
It was Augustana’s second turnover inside the Mavericks’ 10-yard line of the game—the first coming on a Trey Heid first-quarter interception—and Augustana’s fifth turnover overall.
Heid finished the game 27-for-46 passing for 346 yards, three touchdowns and one pick. He also rushed for 139 yards. Senior receiver Charlie Hayes caught 15 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. Fellow senior Matt Heller caught seven balls for 70 yards and one score.
Augustana faces Upper Iowa at 3 p.m. Saturday in Fayette, Iowa.