Augustana Vikings football sealed the celebration of 100 years of homecoming with a win against Minnesota State University Moorhead. After taking down the Dragons with a score of 31-27, the Vikings now hold an undefeated record of 4-0.
In the first half of the game, senior running back Jarod Epperson ran a 53-yard rush for Augustana’s first touchdown on its first play. MSUM scored a touchdown in the first quarter but missed the 2-point conversion.
The Vikings scored twice more during the first half with a 5-yard pass caught by junior wide receiver Canyon Bauer and a 1-yard rush from Epperson. By halftime, the Vikings were up 21-6.
“Credit to Moorhead. That’s a lot better team than we have played previously,” Epperson said. “They played really hard, but I think we had the grit to push through and finish this one to stay undefeated.”
In the last half, the Vikings picked up another 10 points with an 86-yard kickoff return by sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Huber and a 34-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Jake Pecina.
“I didn’t like how we started defensively, but I thought that we really rallied back and played good defense,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said. “We answered offensively in the second half, and it’s the little things within the game that we need to get better at, such as turnovers. But overall, I’m really happy with the win, especially with homecoming.”
Casey Bauman, graduate student and quarterback, earned 23 completions out of 32 attempts with one interception.
“I thought [Bauman’s] eyes were really good and his patience in the pocket today,” Olszewski said. “If he had time to throw and when he didn’t have time, I thought he did a good job of getting out of the pocket and making plays with his feet. He made good decisions, threw good balls and he’s in the right place as a football player.”
MSUM scored three more times in the last half with a 10-yard rush and a 9-yard pass followed by a 20-yard pass at the end of the game with another failed 2-point conversion.
“We knew coming in they were going to spread the ball out and put it in the air,” junior defensive back Peyton Buckley said. “We just need to place trust in our coaches and trust in the game plan we came in with and make minor adjustments throughout the game to get it done.”
With a current undefeated season, the Vikings play again on Sept. 30 against the University of Sioux Falls in the “Key to the City” game at Bob Young Field at 1 p.m.
“I do love the grit and the maturity of this football team,” Olszewski said. “They believe in each other, they never panic and they don’t point fingers. They play ball and do their job.”