Augustana University finished with a season-high 576 yards of offense but came up short in a 42-35 loss to Minnesota State University, Mankato on Saturday afternoon. MSU improved to 5-1, 2-1 NSIC South while the Vikings dropped to 4-3 on the season, including 1-2 in South Division play.
Trey Heid delivered one of the best games of his career finishing with 346 passing yards and three touchdowns while running for a career-high 139 yards on 12 carries. The 100-yard rushing performance marked the second of Heid's career. He has thrown for 300-plus yards in two straight games and four times in 2016.
Charlie Hayes delivered his second career 200-plus yard receiving game to lead the Viking receivers. He hauled in a career-high 15 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown. Matt Heller caught seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown and Jackie Davis rushed 13 times for 80 yards and his team-leading sixth rushing touchdown.
Augustana passed for 346 yards and ran for a season-high 230 yards. Minnesota State finished the game with 412 yards of offense, including 223 passing and 189 rushing.
Nick Pieruccini was 14 of 20 passing for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Virgil Hammond ran 13 times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Ty Dennis caught four passes for 45 yards and two scores.
Kirby Hora led the Viking defense with 13 tackles, his fourth game with 13 or more tackles on the season. Jordan Determan finished with eight tackles and Matt Wagner added seven and a forced fumble.
The first half was an evenly matched on the offensive side of the ball. The Vikings picked up 229 yards of offense, including 162 yards through the air and 70 on the ground. Hayes had a big half for the Vikings catching nine passes for 116 yards.
The Mavericks put up 266 yards of offense, including 153 through the air and 120 on the ground. Minnesota State struck first going 75 yards on 11 plays on the opening drive of the game. Virgil Hammond scored on a 5-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead just under five minutes into the game.
Augustana marched right down the field on the following drive but MSU's Jayme LaPlante stepped in front of a Heid pass. The Viking defense responded by forcing the Mavericks to go three-and-out and Augustana needed just five plays to go 70 yards to tie the game at 7-7 after a 27-yard touchdown pass from Heid to Heller.
Minnesota State put together another long drive to regain the lead at 14-7 with 13:17 left in the first half after a two-yard touchdown catch by Ty Dennis. Augustana's offense continued to move the ball efficiently as the Vikings quickly got into MSU territory on the next drive. The drive stalled at the 2-yard line and Lucas Wainman split the uprights with a 19-yard field goal that made the score 14-10 with 6:16 to play in the half.
Augustana's defense came up with another three-and-out on MSU's next drive to put the ball back into the hands of the Viking offense with 4:10 remaining in the half. The Vikings moved into MSU territory before the drive stalled and they were forced to punt. The Mavericks were able to go the length of the field in just over two minutes to extend their lead to 21-10 just before the end of the half.
The Vikings got the ball to start the second half but on the second play from scrimmage, MSU recovered a fumble to take over deep in Augustana territory. Ty Dennis caught his second touchdown pass of the game five plays later helping MSU extend its lead to 28-10.
The Vikings cut into the lead on the very next drive going 76 yards on six plays ending with Chet Peerenboom's first career catch going for 26 yards and a touchdown to make the score 28-17 with 10:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Augustana cut further into MSU's lead after the defense forced MSU to go three-and-out. The Vikings got the ball near midfield and marched into MSU territory before being held to a field goal. Wainman hit his second of the game, this time from 27 yards, to make the score 28-20.
Minnesota State had the ball at midfield on its next drive before the Viking defense turned up the pressure forcing back-to-back incompletions on second and third and long. The Viking offense took over at its own seven-yard line and early in the fourth quarter got a huge play from Heid to move into MSU territory. Heid scrambled for a career-long run of 67 yards before tossing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Hayes to get the Vikings within two at 28-26. Augustana lined up for the two-point conversion and Heid tossed a laser to Trevor DeChepper in the back of the end zone knotting things up at 28 with 13:55 to play.
The Mavericks swung the momentum back in their favor, getting an 84-yard kickoff return by Corey Brent, which set up a 12-yard touchdown catch by Erik Fuller that gave MSU the lead back at 35-28.
Augustana got into MSU territory quickly on its next drive but the Vikings were forced with fourth down and 10 from the 36 and turned the ball over on downs. The defense came up big once again and forced the Mavericks to go three-and-out. MSU pinned Augustana at its own 4-yard line after a 56-yard punt by Ryan Persick.
The Vikings turned the ball over on the first play from scrimmage losing a fumble.
The Mavericks went up by two scores on an 8-yard touchdown run by Ricky Lloyd that gave MSU a 42-28 lead with 10:28 remaining in the game. The Vikings made it a one score game on the following drive after getting a big third down conversion on a diving catch by Hayes for 27 yards. Jackie Davis scored on a two-yard run bringing Augustana within seven at 42-35 after the extra point.
The momentum stayed in Augustana's favor on the ensuing kickoff when Matt Wagner stripped the ball from Corey Brent and Drew Reinschmidt recovered at the MSU 22 yard line. The Vikings picked up a first down on a 12-yard run by Heid on the first play of the drive but were unable to score after getting stopped on fourth down and goal from the one-yard line.
Minnesota State was able to run out the clock on the Vikings hanging on for the 42-35 victory.
Augustana returns to action next Saturday at Upper Iowa. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. in Fayette, Iowa.