Bulldogs Bite Augie Late
Vikings Suffer First Loss 41-38 At Duluth
Minnesota Duluth (3-1) out-scored No. 16 Augustana 31-19 in the second half and held off a late drive by the Vikings in a 41-38 win. The Vikings (3-1) trailed by three with the ball and just over two minutes to play and moved into Bulldog territory as time was winding down.
Augustana had the ball first and 10 from the UMD 35 but the Bulldogs upped the pressure and forced Trey Heid into three straight incompletions. Augustana then lined up for a game-tying 52-yard field goal and a fake attempt was thwarted by a delay of game penalty. The Vikings were then called for a false start and were faced with fourth down and 20 yards to go from the 45-yard line. Heid’s pass to Trevor DeSchepper was broken up by UMD’s Mitchell Johnson-Martin handing Augustana its first loss of the season.
Trey Heid finished the game 23 of 41 passing for 388 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran 12 times for 87 yards and two scores.
Senior wide receiver Matt Heller hauled in nine passes for a career-high 244 yards and three touchdowns. Heller has caught three touchdown passes in back-to-back games and is the first Viking receiver with 200-plus receiving yards since Charlie Hayes hauled in 11 passes for 266 yards against St. Cloud State on Sept. 12, 2015.
Augustana put up 498 yards of total offense, marking its fourth straight game of 400-plus yards of offense, including a season-high 388 passing yards. The Vikings rushed for 110 yards as a team.
Minnesota Duluth ended the game with 596 yards of offense, including 331 passing yards and 265 rushing yards. Drew Bauer competed 21 of 35 passes for 331 yards and two scores while also rushing for 139 yards on 20 carries. Darren Walker rushed 18 times for 74 yards and two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
Kirby Hora and Matt Wagner led the Viking defense with 13 tackles each. The 13 tackles by Wagner is a career-high. Middle linebacker John Waters also added a career-high 10 tackles for the Vikings.
After two strong defensive stands to start the game, Augustana’s offense moved the ball well on its second possession of the game going 86 yards on 10 plays to score the game’s first points. Heid completed six passes to five different receivers on the scoring drive, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to Heller that gave Augustana an early lead.
Minnesota Duluth’s Gus Wedig jumped over the line to block Lucas Wainman’s extra-point attempt but the Vikings struck first and held a 6-0 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs were able to cut Augustana’s lead in half on their next possession when Cameron Hausman hit a 21-yard field goal to make the score 6-3 with 10:36 remaining in the first half. UMD put together a nearly six-minute scoring drive but the Viking defense was able to hold the Bulldogs to a field goal.
Augustana needed just two minutes to extend the lead as Heid and Heller connected for a pair of long passes that ended with a 35-yard touchdown catch by Heller giving Augustana a 12-3 lead. Heller picked up a first down on the first play of the drive on a 24-yard catch and on fourth down and one-yard to go at the UMD 35, Heller went into motion to his left and Heid found him wide open down the field for their second touchdown connection of the game.
UMD answered on its next drive when Bauer connected with Nate Ricci for a 38-yard touchdown pass to get the Bulldogs within three. UMD lined up for a two-point conversion and was called for a hold before deciding to kick the extra point and make the score 12-10 with 4:39 remaining in the half.
The Vikings got a good return on the ensuing kickoff for the second straight drive and the offense continued to pick up big chunks of yards. Heid found Heller for a 13-yard connection and a first down on third and 10 before Heid took over the drive with his feet. Heid picked up back-to-back first downs with carries of 14 and 16 yards before breaking off a 24-yard touchdown run giving Augustana a 19-10 lead with 1:32 remaining in the first half.
The Bulldogs missed a 40-yard field goal wide right with 39 seconds remaining in the first half and the Vikings would go into the locker room at the break with a 19-10 lead.
Heid finished the first half 11 of 20 passing for 161 yards and a touchdown while also leading the team in rushing with 76 yards and a score on nine carries. Augustana finished the half with 263 yards of offense.
UMD finished the half with 247 yards of total offense, including 151 rushing yards and 96 through the air.
Wagner led the Vikings with eight tackles in the first half while Hora put up five, all unassisted.
Augustana got the ball to start the second half but got off to a slow start after going three-and-out after starting its first drive from the 15-yard line.
The Bulldogs quickly got the ball back and got into scoring position on a 39-yard reception by Ricci to the Vikings’ one-yard line. Offensive lineman Nolan Folkert then lined up in the backfield and plunged into the end zone for the score and UMD got within two after the extra-point at 19-17.
Avram Tynes set the Vikings up with great field position after returning the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Minnesota Duluth 19-yard line. Four plays later, Heid went on a naked bootleg around the right side of the line into a wide open end zone for his second touchdown run of the game giving Augustana a 25-17 lead. UMD was called for a personal foul for leaping over the center on the extra point attempt but Wainman’s second attempt missed wide right and the Vikings held on to an eight-point lead with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
Augustana’s defense forced UMD to go three-and-out on its next possession and the Viking offense needed just four plays to extend their lead to 31-17. Heid found Heller for a 27-yard touchdown pass, for his third receiving touchdown of the game, giving Augustana a 14-point lead with 6:47 remaining in the third quarter.
The defense kept the Bulldogs out of the end zone on their next drive as UMD got within 11 after a 29-yard field goal by Cameron Hausman with 1:35 to play in the third.
Tynes came up with another big return, this time a 43-yard kick return set up the offense at the 47-yard line. On the first play of Augustana’s next drive, Sam Lynch intercepted a Trey Heid pass and the Bulldogs turned it into a touchdown making the score 31-27 with 13:45 to play.
The Bulldogs got the ball back quickly as they stripped Tynes of the ball on the ensuing kickoff and recovered it at Augustana’s 23-yard line. UMD then took its first lead of the game after a five-yard touchdown run by Darren Walker and the extra point gave the Bulldogs a 34-31 lead with 12:10 remaining in the contest.
Augustana moved the ball into UMD territory on its next drive but a miscommunication led to a bad snap and Minnesota Duluth recovered the fumble at its own 42 for their third forced turnover of the second half. The Viking defense came up with yet another huge stop as the Bulldogs went for it on fourth down and four from Augustana’s eight-yard line when John Waters came in on a blitz to force an incompletion.
The Viking offense needed just two plays to regain the lead after Heid connected with Heller for an 85-yard pass and catch to UMD’s seven-yard line. Heller hauled in a deep pass and broke three tackles before getting tackled at the seven. Heid then tossed his fourth touchdown pass of the game, this one to Nathan Merriman that allowed Augustana to regain the lead at 38-34 with 3:46 to play.
UMD did not go away quietly as Bauer connected with Nate Ricci for a 46-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldogs’ next drive that gave UMD a 41-38 lead, which would eventually hold as the Bulldogs finished the second half scoring 31 points.
Augustana will be at home Saturday, Oct. 1 for its first NSIC South Division game of the 2016 season. The Vikings will host USF in the “Key to the City” game at 1:05 p.m. at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.