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Augie Battles, Falls Late At 2nd Ranked Mankato



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MANKATO, Minn. – Augustana held a 10-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter but could not hang on as No. 2 Minnesota State scored 14 fourth-quarter points to earn a 20-10 victory over the Vikings. The Vikings (2-4, 0-2 NSIC South) scored as time expired in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead heading into the half on a windy afternoon in Mankato, Minn. 

The Mavericks remain the only undefeated team in the NSIC at 6-0 overall, 2-0 in South Division play. Minnesota State has now won three straight games over the Vikings.

The Viking defense held the high-powered MSU offense out of the end zone until two late scores.

Augustana, who was missing starting three starters on defense, including leading tackler Brandon Mohr, Joel Slinden and Justin Brown, had three players step up with career-highs in tackles. Ben Skelly led the Vikings with 14 tackles, including a career-high 2.0 for loss.

Ross Peterson matched his career-high with 10 tackles, including five solo stops while nose tackle Jake Lee posted a career-high with 10 tackles, which included 1.5 tackles for loss.

Minnesota State, who entered the game averaging over 255 rushing yards, finished the game with 231 rushing yards, led by quarterback Jon Wolf who finished with 91 yards and a touchdown.

Wolf finished the game 11 of 19 passing for 187 yards and a score. Dennis Carter was Wolf's hot target as he finished with 111 yards on five catches. The big blow came when Wolf hit Carter for a 53-yard touchdown with 1:36 to play in the game.

MSU's defensive front provided problems for Augustana's backs all day as MSU held the Vikings to 73 rushing yards on 29 attempts. Dajon Newell led the Vikings with 39 yards on 20 carries while Trey Heid finished with 18 yards on seven attempts.

Heid was finished the game just 7 of 20 passing for 103 yards and a touchdown. Heid threw his longest touchdown pass of the season, a 39-yard connection on a Hail Mary pass to Grant Gebhardt.

Gebhardt finished the game with two receptions for 51 yards while Darren Niklason caught two passes for 35 yards.

Minnesota State moved the ball 46 yards on 11 plays on its first drive of the game, but Augustana held the Mavericks to just three points on a 22-yard field goal by Sam Brockshus. The Vikings made the Mavericks earn the three points, as MSU had to convert a fourth down and one situation at midfield to continue the drive.

The defense shined throughout the entire first half as they held the Mavericks on a goal line stand late in the second quarter. After going 80 yards on 15 plays, Augustana held MSU out of the end zone on four straight plays from inside the five-yard line to force another field goal. Brockshus hit the 21-yard attempt to give the Mavericks a 6-0 lead with 1:27 to play in the first half.

The big stops by the Viking defense would set up the Vikings with the ball and the wind just before the half. Newell picked up a first down to move the ball into MSU territory with 10 seconds remaining in the half.

Augustana had one shot at a heave into the end zone with one second on the clock and Gebahrdt came down with the Heid pass as time expired to give the Vikings a 7-6 lead heading into the locker room after a Ben Albrecht point-after attempt.

Minnesota State accounted for 187 yards of total offense in the first half, including 119 rushing yards and 68 passing. The Vikings rushed for 14 yards in the first half while passing for 64 yards, including the 39-yard touchdown pass to close-out the first half.

Skelly led Augustana with seven tackles in the first half, while Kirby added six. Lee and Peterson each added five tackles.

After a scoreless third quarter, Minnesota State finished-off an eight-play 83-yard drive with 14:23 to play in the game with a 17-yard touchdown run by Wolf to take a 13-10 lead.

Two drives later, Augustana moved the ball effectively going 44 yards on 11 plays to get into MSU territory, but the drive would stall there after a Newell was dropped for a seven-yard loss and a false start penalty.

Just four plays later, Wolf connected with Carter for a 53-yard touchdown to give MSU a 20-10 lead.

Augustana got the ball with 3:25 to go but Patrick Schmidt intercepted a Heid pass allowing MSU to run out the clock.

Augustana returns home next Saturday to host Upper Iowa for Viking Days. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.

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