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Turnovers Cost Vikings At St. Cloud State

Matt Gerry, Augustana Vikings football
Tom Slattery/ for Augustana College

ST. CLOUD, MN — No. 23 St. Cloud State (4-0) outgained Augustana in total offense, 419 to 162, to earn a 31-6 win over the Vikings (2-2) on Saturday night in St. Cloud, Minn. The win marks St. Cloud State’s first over Augustana since 2005.

The Huskies rushed for 149 yards and passed for 270 while the Vikings were held to just 61 rushing yards and 139 through the air. Augustana turned the ball over a season-high five times, including four interceptions and a fumble.

Phillip Klaphake finished the game 20 of 30 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Klaphake found nine different receivers in the game, led by Damon Treat who caught five passes for 46 yards. Michael Walker rushed for 71 yards on 19 attempts for the Huskies.

Trey Heid finished the game 16 of 25 passing for 139 yards and a touchdown. Heid also threw four interceptions in the game, three of which were picked off by NSIC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Jack Moro.

CJ Ham and Dajon Newell combined for just 41 rushing yards in the game. Grant Gebhardt caught six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season. Noah Huisman caught three passes for 55 yards, including a career-long 35-yard reception.

Ben Skelly matched his career-high with nine tackles for Augustana. Thomas Vanasek added nine tackles, including eight solo stops for the Vikings.

St. Cloud State had a chance to take an early lead on its first possession of the game but Eric Mielke missed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Augustana caught a big break with 6:25 remaining in the first quarter when St. Cloud State’s Mielke had to punt from his own 16-yard line and was only able to muster up an 18-yard punt setting the Vikings up first and 10 at the 34-yard line.

Augustana moved the ball to the SCSU 20-yard line but were dropped for a loss, rushed for no gain and sacked to set up fourth and 18 at the 28-yard line. The Vikings went for it on fourth down and Moro stepped in front of a Heid pass for his second interception of the game.

On the very first play from scrimmage on the ensuing possession, Klaphake hit Corey Henne with a 40-yard pass to bring the Huskies into Augustana territory. Klaphake would finish the drive himself, scoring on a seven-yard run, and giving his team a 7-0 lead after the extra point.

St. Cloud State accounted for 173 yards of offense in the first half on 33 plays. The Vikings held the Huskies to 48 rushing yards in the half but Klaphake was 10 of 18 passing for 125 yards.

Augustana was held to just 61 yards of total offense in the half. Heid finished the half 6 of 11 passing with three interceptions and just 35 yards. Of Augustana’s 43 rushing yards in the first half, Ham rushed for 22 on nine carries. Newell was held to just one yard on four attempts.

St. Cloud State started off the first half on a strong note going 84 yards on 17 plays to make it a 14-0 game. The Huskies took 7:10 off the clock on the drive, one which ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Klaphake to Renard Robinson. Late in the drive, the Huskies converted on a fourth down and one situation to set up the score.

On the Vikings’ next possession, Heid found Huisman on a 35-yard pass to set the Vikings up at St. Cloud State’s 32-yard line. Three plays later the Huskies recorded their third sack of the game on third and four, and the Vikings again would go for it on fourth down and turn the ball over after an incomplete pass.

St. Cloud State marched right down the field after a 22-yard pass and catch followed by a 50-yard touchdown reception by Dan Brown that gave the Huskies a 21-0 lead with 1:43 to play in the third quarter.

The Vikings put an end to SCSU’s shutout by going 65 yards on 10 plays ending with a 14-yard touchdown reception by Gebhardt. Gebhardt snagged a tipped ball in the end zone for his first touchdown of the season putting Augustana on the board. Gabe Dunn, kicking for an injured Lucas Wainman, sent the extra point hard off the right upright and the Vikings trailed St. Cloud State 21-6.

The Huskies responded with another long drive, taking 8:15 off the clock, and pushed their lead to 24-6 on a 30-yard field goal by Mielke.

The Huskies went ahead 31-6 when Aaron Pavek sacked Heid, forced and recovered a fumble and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown.

Justin Brown intercepted his second pass of the season in the game for Augustana. Brandon Mohr added seven tackles while Nate Kirby posted five, all solo stops.

Augustana returns home next Saturday to host Wayne State beginning at 1 p.m. at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.

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Courtesy:  Augustana College

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