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Matt Zimmer / Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Published September 07 2013

Dragons fall short on the road in season opener

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Jerry Olszewski won his first game as Augustana football coach, and from a teaching standpoint, Saturday’s 41-28 victory over Minnesota State Moorhead in front of 4,107 fans at sun-baked Kirkeby-Over Stadium was the perfect scenario for his team’s growth.

The Vikings dominated the first half, using a 28-0 second-quarter barrage to go into the half with a 41-7 lead. Then came a second half in which the Vikings were sluggish on offense and on their heels on defense, allowing the Dragons to outscore them 21-0 and force the Vikings to hold off a late rally.

“At the end of the day it’s a win, and you shouldn’t take any win lightly,” Olszewski said. “And it’s a great opportunity, too. We had a lot of really good things happen that we can build on and feel good about. But enough things happened in the second half to show us we have a long way to go to get where we need to be.”

Things got off to a strong start for Augie, as Devon Alber intercepted the Dragons true freshman quarterback Demetrius Carr on the first play from scrimmage. Augie turned it into a 41-yard Lucas Wainman field goal to go up 3-0, and the Dragons answered on a 41-yard strike from Carr to Cory Ambrose.

From there things got out of hand, and much of it was self-inflicted by the Dragons. Preston Prince fumbled after catching a quick out and Chad Curry scooped it up and went 34 yards to paydirt to put Augie back on top. The Vikings followed that with a 34-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Trey Heid to go up 17-7.

Then came a second quarter in which the Vikings were nearly flawless. They held MSUM to 17 yards of total offense while moving the ball effectively through the air and on the ground.

Wainman hit a school-record 53-yard field goal to make it 20-7, and Teagan Brown blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to make it 27-7. A turnover then set up a 16-yard toss from Heid to CJ Ham, and a 40-yard scamper by Dajon Newell made it 41-7 at the break.

“We had some first-game jitters on their first drive,” said Curry, who added five tackles. “But once we got that out of our system we settled down, got some turnovers and really played well the rest of the half.”

The Dragons moved the ball impressively under Carr after half, scoring twice in the third to make it 41-21, and cutting the deficit to 13 on Preston Price’s second touchdown catch of the game early in the fourth.

MSU got back into Vikings territory twice more, but Augie held their ground.

“I was proud of our kids’ effort,” Olzsweski said. “Moorhead really made some plays, and we still have to learn how to win. I don’t think our guys let up. We just made too many mistakes. That’s stuff we can fix.”

The second half overshadowed some strong individual performances for Augie, led by Heid, who was 18-for-26 for 166 yards through the air in his debut while rushing for 83 yards. Dajon Newell had 96 yards rushing (he was at 101 at half), while Ham had 66 to go with 43 yards receiving.

Carr put up the most impressive stats of the day, completing 30 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns. Adam Jiskra had eight catches for 120 yards.

“I don’t think we relaxed in the second half. We just hurt ourselves with some turnovers and sloppy play,” Heid said of his team’s lackluster finish. “We got the win, we’re 1-0, and that was our goal. It was great how we started, but obviously there’s a lot we need to clean up before next week.”

MSUM 7 0 14 7–28

AUG 17 24 0 0–41

A–Wainman 41 field goal

M¬¬–Ambrose 41 pass from Carr (Kramer kick)

A¬¬¬¬¬¬¬–Curry fumble recovery (Wainman kick)

A–Heid 34 run (Wainman kick)

A–Wainman 53 field goal

A–Brown punt return (Wainman kick)

A–Ham 16 pass from Heid (Wainman kick)

A–Newell 40 run (Wainman kick)

M–Jiskra fumble recovery (Kramer kick)

M–Prince 2 pass from Carr (Kramer kick)

M–Prince 6 pass from Carr (Kramer kick)

TEAM STATISTICS MSU AUG

First downs 25 21

Rushes-yards 34-62 41-227

Passing 369 166

Comp-Att-Int 30-45-1 18-26-1

Punts-Avg. 4-28.2 3-45.7

Fumbles-Lost 2 2

Penalties-Yards 7-51 11-104

Time of possession 25:54 35:06

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MSUM, Carr 20-47, Medhaug 10-30, Schell 3-13, Preston 1-6. AUG, Newell 16-104, Heid 15-100, Ham 9-66,

PASSING: MSUM, Carr 30-45-1 369 yards. AUG, Heid 18-26-1 166 yards.

RECEIVING: MSUM, Preston 9-83, Jiskra 8-120, Medhaug 6-53, Ambrose 4-86, Bredy 2-19, Ham 1-8. AUG, Gerry 5-46, Ham 5-43, Lee 4-40, Gebhardt 3-23, Heller 1-14.