Augustana University’s fourth quarter comeback came up short in a tough battle against Wayne State on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.
After three scoreless quarters, Augustana got on the board early in the fourth with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Saddler to wide receiver Trevor DeSchepper, putting the score at 16-6 with 12 minutes left to play.
On their last possession, the Vikings made one final push with a 45-yard completion to Drew Reinschmidt, leading up to a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jake Welscheimer. With 1:31 to play, and the Vikings down 16-13, the final drive was not quite enough to clinch the victory, and the Vikings fell to 2-3 on the season.
Offensively, redshirt freshman runningback Ryan Bradberry led the Vikings with 144 rushing yards. The Vikings posted 243 rushing yards and 193 passing yards for the day.
“I thought that our running game offensively was exceptional,” coach Jerry Olszewski said. “Ryan Bradberry showed the skills and abilities that he has, and played really well.”
The strong defensive effort by Augustana held Wayne State to only 222 total yards—138 passing and 84 rushing.
Matt Wagner, Jordan Determan and Kirby Hora led the defense in tackles, with 10, eight, and six respectively.
“Our defense played exceptional,” Olszewski said. “I think collectively our defense was able to make a change as the course of the game went. To flip the field and give our offense an opportunity to play was absolutely critical for us to have a chance to win the game with a possession after turning it over as many times as we did. We had the ball to win the game. That is quite the testament in the fight of our kids.”
Junior linebacker Kirby Hora still has a postive outlook on the game, despite the overall loss.
“Individuals stepped up and made plays,” Hora said. “The guys kept a confident attitude that we could win that game all the way till the last whistle. What needs to improve is how we start the game and our overall physicality. We gotta come out earlier with passion and tenacity, to set the tone for the game from the beginning until the end.”
The Vikings look to set the tone at practice this week as they prepare to face fifth-ranked, undefeated Minnesota State University Mankato on Saturday in Mankato, Minn.
“We are going to keep taking it day by day and get better each opportunity we can get,” junior linebacker Luke Wanous said. “We are going to try to make the most of every rep we get in practice and continue to get better and strive for our goals.”
The key to Augustana’s success against Mankato on the defensive side will be to contain the run game and not allow explosive plays from a Mankato team that averages 338 rushing yards per game. Offensively, the Vikings will need to run the ball effectively and eliminate turnovers, Olszewski said.
“[Mankato] is a good team,” Olszewski said. “They are a well-rounded football team that is 5-0 and knows how to win … With that said, what an opportunity for our guys to bounce back and play great football. To hopefully knock them off—to start our winning ways and start their losing.”
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