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#14 Augustana Blanks Upper Iowa



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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Augustana defense pitched its third shutout of the season, holding Upper Iowa to 111 yards of total offense, to pick up a 32-0 win over the Peacocks Saturday afternoon in both teams' regular-season finales in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The No. 14-ranked Vikings finish the regular season with a record of 10-1 (9-1 NSIC); UIU drops to 2-9 (2-8 NSIC).

The victory earned the Vikings a share of the NSIC South Division title with a 5-1 record. Winona State defeated Wayne State Saturday afternoon to also finish 5-1 in the South Division.

The last time Augustana had three shutouts in one season was in 1942 when the Vikings blanked Nebraska-Omaha, Dakota Wesleyan and North Dakota.

Ryan  Isaacson anchored a powerful Viking defensive attack on the afternoon, tying a career-high with 13 tackles and returning an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter. Chris Janisch added 12 stops, and Zac Kallas also had an interception.

The Peacocks' 111 yards of offense came on 68 on the ground and 43 through the air.

Augustana's offense, which scored half of its points in the third quarter, got a boost from Joe Clark, who rushed for 109 yards and one touchdown.

Tyler Schulte started at quarterback and completed 10 of 22 passes for 115 yards and one score. Sam Holsen snagged five passes for 44 yards, while Eric Ellingworth had four catches for 61 yards.

With Schulte under center for the first series of the game, the Vikings immediately went to work as the senior completed four passes on the drive and found Holsen on a 16-yard score. The opening drive covered 71 yards in 11 plays.  Drew Behrens' extra point attempt was tipped to keep Augustana's lead at six points.

The Viking defense put together a strong first-half performance, forcing the Peacocks to punt on six of their possessions.

The defensive presence, though, did not initially translate into any additional points for the Vikings. Augustana turned the ball over twice and punted on four of its possession in the first half.

Isaacson was responsible for extending the Viking lead to 13-0 late in the second quarter, picking off UIU quarterback Jordan Otdoerfer deep in Peacock territory and finding the endzone on a 25-yard return.

Augustana held UIU to just 41 yards of total offense in the first half.

The Vikings started the second half much like the first, taking their first drive down the field via the legs of Nate Mahone, who rushed for 37 yards of Augustana's seven play, 73-yard drive. Clark plunged in from 1 yard out to extend the Augustana lead to 20-0.

After forcing a UIU three-and-out, Augustana set up for a punt of its own on the ensuing possession. Drew Behrens managed to pin the Peacocks on the 5-yard line, and two plays later, Brady MacIver stuffed Hovden in the endzone for the Vikings' second safety of the season.

The Vikings added six points on the resulting punt from the 20-yard line as Jordan Marshall scampered 70 yards to stretch his team's lead to 29-0.

Augustana tacked on a Behrens 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to close scoring.

The Peacocks' top rushing performance came from Sam Epsteen, who netted 29 yards on 16 carries. Hovden completed five passes for 43 yards.

Augustana will now wait to be seeded for the NCAA Playoffs. That announcement will come Sunday at or shortly after 2 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPNews. The bracket will also be posted at www.ncaa.com immediately after the committee determines rankings. 

The Vikings were ranked second in the Super Regional Three ranking released on Monday.  A No. 1 or No. 2 seed in Sunday's rankings would guarantee them a first-round bye.  A seed No. 4 or higher would ensure Augustana a home playoff game.  First-round games will be played on Nov. 20, while second-round games are Nov. 27.

If Augustana is selected for the playoffs, it would be the first time since 1989 that the Vikings have qualified for postseason action.  A home playoff game would be the first in school history.
 
Courtesy: Tim Gerszewski, Augustana Athletics
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