Turnovers, Missed Opportunities Doom Vikings
BISMARCK, ND -- Augustana missed three field goals and turned the ball over three times in a 31-25 loss against the University of Mary in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football action on Saturday afternoon. U-Mary (2-0, 2-0 NSIC) quarterback Craig Bagnell threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Marauders over Augustana (1-1, 1-1 NSIC).
Augustana held the Marauders to just 28 rushing yards but the turnovers and missed opportunities proved costly for the Vikings. Josh Hanson finished the game 27 of 52 passing for 343 yards and two scores but he also threw two interceptions and fumbled once in the game.
Grant Gebhardt had a career-day for the Vikings setting new highs with eight receptions and 148 yards. Dajon Newell had 100-plus yards rushing for the sixth time in his career, finishing with 111 yards on 20 carries.
U-Mary's Tyler Steffan caught 10 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Augustana's Austin Luecke led all players with 12 tackles, including his first sack of the season.
The Vikings struck on its second play from the line of scrimmage, 38 seconds into the game, on a 70-yard pass from Hanson to Gebhardt to give Augustana an early 7-0 lead. The 70-yard reception is a career-high for Gebhardt. U-Mary answered with an 8-play 71-yard drive in 1:33 to tie the game at 7-7. Bagnell hit Young in the end zone with a 15-yard pass.
Augustana was forced to punt on its next drive and Behrens was able to pin the Marauders at their own five yard line. On the ensuing drive, Austin Luecke drilled U-Mary quarterback Bagnell setting up the punt. Isaac Jorgensen got through the line and blocked the punt setting the Vikings up at the U-Mary 40 yard line.
Augustana then put a nice 10-play drive together that ended with a Behrens 32-yard field goal attempt that was blocked and gave the ball back to U-Mary at their own 20-yard line after a touchback.
Ben Skelly came up with a big sack on the following U-Mary possession setting up Augustana with the ball at its own 39-yard line where Hanson led the Vikings on a long drive that ended with him plunging through the line with his second rushing touchdown of the season on a quarterback sneak. The Marauders held the Vikings on the goal line three times before Hanson was able to break through with the score to put the Vikings up 14-7 after the extra point by Behrens.
Three minutes and two possessions later the Vikings had the ball on a third and 11 from their own 30-yard line when Hanson was sacked by Grant Singer and Gary Gellerman. Hanson fumbled on the play and the Marauders recovered the ball on Augustana's 18-yard line.
Bagnell needed just two plays to lead the Marauders into the end zone to tie the game at 14 on a 12-yard touchdown pass to Elby Pope. Bagnell tossed his third scoring pass of the game on their next drive to give the Marauders a 21-14 lead. Bagnell hit Steffan with a 31-yard pass followed by the 18-yard touchdown strike.
The Vikings looked poised to tie the game on the following possession going 82 yards on 13 plays before Hanson was intercepted at the U-Mary six-yard line with 2:45 left in the first half. Augustana got another chance in the half but Behrens sent a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right to end the half.
Augustana had three turnovers, a missed field goal and a blocked field goal all in the first half. The Vikings were held to 47 yards rushing in the first half but went for 237 yards through the air. Gebhardt led Augustana with 132 receiving yards in the first half of play.
The Viking defense held U-Mary to just 19 rushing yards in the first half but Bagnell was 15 of 24 passing for three touchdowns and 213 yards.
Augustana drove right down the field on its first possession of the first half but would have to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Behrens to come within four at 21-17. U-Mary answered on the following drive with another passing touchdown by Bagnell, this one a five-yard connection with Steffan giving the Marauders a 28-17 lead.
Hanson led the Vikings on another scoring drive to bring the Vikings within three (28-25) after a six-yard pass to Ben Parsley and a two-point conversion. Behrens had a chance to tie the game for the Vikings on their next possession but sent a 26-yard field goal attempt wide right, for his third miss of the day.
U-Mary stretched its lead to six at 31-25 with 3:48 to play after Tyler Ryan belted a 34-yard field goal with the wind at his back.
The Vikings started with the ball on their own 25-yard line on its final drive of the game and was able to move the ball up to midfield. Hanson hit Noah Huisman for 11 and 13 yards on consecutive plays to move to their own 49-yard line but that is where the drive would stall. Two incomplete passes and a sack set the Vikings up third and 17 before Hanson hit Gebhardt for an 11-yard completion.
On fourth down and six yards to go, Hanson scrambled and was called for intentional grounding squashing Augustana's hopes for a late comeback.
Huisman finished the game with a career-high seven receptions and 73 yards. Thomas Vanasek and Sean Kelly each finished the game with career-highs in tackles with nine. Linebackers Brandon Mohr and Sam Thorson also had career-highs with seven tackles.
Augustana returns home next Saturday to host Minnesota-Crookston at 1 p.m. at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.
Courtesy: Augustana College