Big First Half Carries Vikings Over Dragons In Season Opener
The Vikings raced out to a 41-7 halftime lead, then held off Minnesota State-Moorhead 41-28 in the season opener for both teams at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.
Augustana got on the board first. Devon Alber intercepted Demetrius Carr on the Dragons first play from scrimmage, leading to a 41-yard Lucas Wainman field goal and a 3-0 Vikings lead.
Carr drove MSUM down the field on their next possession, completing a 41-yard scoring strike to Cory Ambrose to go ahead 7-3.
The Vikings defense and special teams took control from there. Chad Curry returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Trey Heid ran 34 yards for another score to give Augustana a 17-7 lead after the first quarter.
Wainman extended the lead to 20-7 with a school record 53-yard field goal in the second quarter. The previous record of 52-yards was set by Dave Koehn on Sept, 22, 1979 against Morningside.
Augustana's special teams came up big again when Tegan Brown blocked a Dragon punt and recovered in the end zone for a 27-7 Viking lead.
On the next play from scrimmage, Zach Sirek forced a fumble that was recovered by Brandon Mohr at MSUM's 31 yard line. Three plays later, Heid connected with CJ Ham on a 16-yard touchdown pass, giving the Vikings a 34-7 lead.
After the Dragons went three-and-out on their next possession, Dajon Newell broke loose on a 40-yard touchdown run with 1:13 left in the first half, giving the Vikings a 41-7 lead at the half.
If the first half belonged to the Vikings, it was all MSUM in the second. Augustana lost fumbles on its first two possessions. Adam Jiskra recovered the first in the end zone to make the score 41-14. Preston Prince caught a pair of two-yard touchdown passes from Carr to pull the Dragons within 41-28 with 11:18 left in the game, but that's as close as MSUM would get.
Heid finished his first start as Augustana quarterback going 18 of 26 for 166 yards with one touchdown and an interception. He rushed 15 times for 83 yards and a score. Ham finished the game with 66 rushing yards and a career-high 43 receiving yards. Matt Gerry led all Viking receivers with five catches for 46 yards.
Mohr and Ben Skelly led Augustana defensively with seven tackles each.
Carr, a true freshman, was 30 of 45 passing for 369 yards and four touchdowns in his collegiate debut for Minnesota State-Moorhead.
Augustana goes on the road next Saturday to take on Minot State in a 6:00pm kickoff at Herb Parker Stadium.