First-year head coach Jerry Olszewski has had an up-and-down season at Augustana, but he has loved the opportunity to coach at the Division II level.

"Two things - I love the staff and kids. It's a great place and it's only going to get better when things aren't new. I enjoy the people, and the commitment from the players for success. The season's gone by fast, the kids are learning, and normalcy finally kicked in last week."

The Vikings are 4-5 overall, 2-3 in NSIC South, and travel to Winona State on Saturday. Last week, the Vikings beat Concordia-St. Paul, 24-7. Augustana's defense shined brightly, holding the Golden Bears to less than 100 passing yards. Olszewski says the defense has become tough to defend because they are a disciplined group when they take the field.

"They understand what were doing. They play fast, aggressive, defend the run well, and have made teams one-dimensional. They make teams go deeper in their arsenal.  Against Concordia, they ran the ball well in the first half, but in the second half, the defense made them more one-dimensional by taking away the run."

The offense found their groove, too. Through the air, the Vikings passed for 152 yards, while the ground game produced 118 yards against the Golden Bears.

Going forward to this week, Winona State will provide another tough challenge for the Vikings. Winona State is third in the NSIC in scoring offense (40.0 points per game), while  Augustana is 12th (19.3 points per game).

On the flip side, the two teams flip-flop again. The Warriors are 12th in the NSIC in scoring defense (34.0 points per game), while Augustana is fourth (16.9 points per game).

Winona State is currently on a two-game losing streak, losing to No. 1 Minnesota State, and Southwest Minnesota State the last two weeks. Olszewski hopes his team can make the Warriors go the distance of the field.

"They are a big play offense, and we have to eliminate the big plays. We have to make them go 80 yards."

With just two games remaining, Olszewski would like to see two things from his team.

"No. 1, win the day, and win the game. No. 2, continue to show improvement. Play for pride and for the team going forward because you only get so many opportunities and have to understand your potential."

Augustana and Winona State kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Winona.