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#18 Augustana Stays Perfect With Thrilling Win Over MSU-Mankato

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -  Ryan Schuetz found Tyler Schulte for a 36-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left to give No. 8 Augustana the go-ahead score and lift the Vikings to a 17-13 victory over Minnesota State Saturday afternoon in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football in Sioux Falls, S.D. 

The win moves Augustana to 9-0 (8-0 NSIC) and marks the most victories for a Viking football team in school history.  MSU falls to 5-4 (4-4 NSIC).

Augustana started its final drive with 1:18 left and took it 70 yards in nine plays to erase the three-point deficit.  It was just the second time this season the Vikings have trailed in the fourth quarter.

It was an uncharacteristically quiet day for Augustana through the air as the Viking were held to just 143 yards passing.  Starting quarterback Josh Hanson left the game in the third quarter with an injury.  Schulte took a series of snaps before Schuetz took over for the last series of the third quarter.

Schuetz finished the game completing 5 of 11 passes for 91 yards and one touchdown.  Hanson was 3 of 8 for 30 yards, while Schulte completed two passes for 22 yards.

Hanson also rushed 11 times for a game- and career-high 124 yards.  Joe Clark carried the ball 21 times for 68 yards.

MSU struck first, but not until the second quarter after a turnover-laden first-quarter performance by both teams. After a Maverick fumble by Steve Pachan deep into the first quarter, Hanson proceeded to return possession to MSU on an option play that ended with the ball on the turf deep in Maverick territory. Sam Brockshus connected on a 19-yard field goal to open scoring.

The Viking responded with a ground attack on their ensuing drive. Clark and Hanson combined for 48 yards rushing to cover the bulk of the 60-yard drive. Drew Behrens finished the drive with a 26-yard field goal to knot the contest at 3-3.

Micah Nordin intercepted his first pass of the season three series later, setting up the Vikings for an energizing drive to take the lead. Augustana took the resulting possession and covered 75 yards—thanks to a 71-yard scramble from Hanson. The sophomore quarterback's rush was aided by a host of effective blocks, the majority coming from Clark.

The Mavericks had 1:34 to work with following the Viking score, and they were efficient, covering 61 yards with the help of a no-huddle scheme. Pachan found a tightly covered Dennis Carter in the corner of the endzone just before the half to even the contest at 10-10.

For just the second time this season, Augustana went into the half tied.

Hanson struggled through the air in the first half, completing just passes for 21 yards and throwing one interception. His ground attack, though, covered 119 yards. Clark added 43 yards rushing.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Mavericks threatened with a first-and-10 situation on their own 14-yard line, but a pair of stuffs from the Augustana linebackers held MSU to a field goal.

Augustana had a chance to tie two possessions later, but a Behrens field goal from 43 yards was wide left and gave MSU the ball with less than three minutes left.

MSU managed to pick up what seemed to be an important first down on the subsequent drive, but the Vikings coaxed a Maverick punt and took over from the MSU 30-yard line.

From there, Schuetz and Co. went to work, covering that pivotal 70 yards with passes to Eric Ellingworth and Schulte. The Vikings got a break in the middle of the drive when MSU was issued with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, giving them a first down and position at the 36-yard line. Schuetz hit Schulte three plays later.

Andrew Keel added the exclamation point with his interception on the final Maverick drive, which started with 26 seconds on the clock.

The Viking defense was led by Nick Andreas, who checked in with a career-high 15 tackles. Augustana also got interceptions from Micah Nordin and Zac Kallas.  It was the third time this season the Vikings sniped three interceptions.

Pachan completed 10 of 25 passes for 143 yards and one touchdown for the Mavericks Taylor Brookins also rushed 21 times for 88 yards.

Dan Fehlberg's 12 sacks paced the MSU defense.

Augustana will look for its 10th win next Saturday when the Vikings travel to Wayne State for a 1 p.m. conference tilt.
Courtesy: Tim Gerszewski, Augustana Athletics
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