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Winona State sneaks past Augustana

by
Augustana College
Augustana College
  WINONA, Minn. (KWSN)  – Winona State's Alex Jensen caught a seven-yard touchdown pass with 6:37 left in the game to lift the Warriors (6-4, 4-2 NSIC South) to a 28-24 win over Augustana (4-6, 2-4 NSIC South) on Saturday in Winona, Minn. Augustana took a 24-21 lead with 9:48 to play in the game on a 27-yard field goal by Ben Albrecht but Winona State took advantage of a short punt and used the field position to take the final lead. Augustana had the ball with 6:24 to play in the game but was only able to go eight yards on six plays after two straight sacks by WSU's Morgan Weaver that forced the Vikings to punt. The Warriors picked up a first down on a 16-yard run by Chichi Ojika before the Vikings stuffed the Warriors on the next three plays and burned all their timeouts. Winona State punted and Augustana sent all 11 defenders in on the block and when Winona State downed the punt time had run out on the Vikings chances at a comeback. Augustana out-gained Winona State on offense with 332 yards while holding the Warriors to 285. The 332 yards of total offense is the second highest total for the Vikings on the season. Augustana rushed for 88 yards on the game, led by Dajon Newell who finished with 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground. CJ Ham picked up 39 yards on the ground with a score. Ojika led Winona State offensively with 117 rushing yards on 22 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown run. Jack Nelson finished 12 of 27 passing for 141 yards and two touchdowns for the Warriors.Trey Heid finished the game 8 of 13 passing for 121 yards while throwing two interceptions. Heid did not play in the second half after getting injured towards the end of the second quarter. Justin Henrich stepped in and was 9 of 18 passing for 92 yards.Grant Gebhardt got in on the throwing mix, tossing his first career touchdown on a flea flicker play to Nick Lee. Lee finished the game with one reception, a 31-yard touchdown strike. Noah Huisman led the Viking receivers with 67 yards on five catches. Matt Gerry caught two passes for 51 yards, including a career-high 40-yard reception. Augustana recorded three sacks in the game and was led defensively by Brandon Mohr with 12 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and a sack. Augustana now has 26 sacks on the season, the most since 27 in 2010. Ben Skelly added seven tackles for the Vikings, six of which were solo tackles.  Winona State jumped out to an early lead after Ojika took Winona State's third offensive play of the day 62 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead. WSU looked like it would have a chance to add to its lead after picking off Heid on Augustana's second offensive play of the day but the Viking defense shut the door and turned the Warriors over on downs. The Vikings got after the quarterback on Winona State's second drive with Tanner Foth and Brandon Mohr each getting a sack to force the Warriors to go for it on fourth down.Gabe Dunn was able to pin Winona State deep into its own territory with a 47-yard punt setting up Chad Curry's interception to set the Vikings up at the WSU 29-yard line. The Vikings turned the ball right back over to the Warriors when Gebhardt fumbled after a nine-yard reception and Winona State recovered at its own 16 yard line. Three possessions later, Augustana moved the ball into the red zone on a 40-yard completion from Heid to Gerry setting up Ham's four-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 after the extra point attempt by Albrecht. Ham needed two attempts from the six-yard line and bulldozed his way into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the season. Augustana forced Winona State to go three-and-out on its next possession and the Vikings went 55 yards on seven plays, ending with a two-yard touchdown run by Dajon Newell to give the Augustana a 14-7 lead with 6:50 to play in the first half. The Warriors got a big break right before the half intercepting Heid for the second time in the game and getting the ball at Augustana's 29-yard line. After moving the ball into the red zone, Augustana stopped the Warriors on third down inside the five yard line but Thomas Vanasek was called for a late hit and on the next play Jordan Kos rushed for a three-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 just before the end of the first half. Augustana out-gained Winona State with 162 yards of total offense, including 41 rushing yards and 121 passing yards. Gerry led Augustana with 51 receiving yards on two receptions while Newell led the Vikings on the ground with 30 yards on seven carries. Winona State picked up 159 yards of total offense in the first half with 108 rushing yards, including Ojika's 62-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Augustana held Winona State to just 51 passing yards and picked off the Warriors once. Ojika finished the half with 77 rushing yards on 11 carries. Augustana forced the Warriors to go three-and-out on their first two possessions of the second half and the Vikings used a little trickery to take a 21-14 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. Justin Heinrich tossed a reverse to Gebhardt who then threw a pass to Nick Lee who took the pass 31 yards for a touchdown. Winona State answered right back on the next drive, picking up three plays of 14-plus yards, including a 32-yard completion by Tony Mueller. The Warriors were facing third-down and goal from the three yard line when Nelson hit Alan May for a two-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21 with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter. The Vikings sustained their longest drive of the game on their next possession going 67 yards on 13 plays taking over six minutes off the clock and took a 24-21 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Albrecht. Winona State took a 28-24 lead two possessions later after getting a short field after an 18-yard punt by Dunn right into the wind. The Warriors started the drive at Augustana's 39-yard line and scored on a seven-yard touchdown catch by Alex Jensen with 6:32 to play in the game.  Augustana will put a close to the 2013 season next Saturday when it hosts Southwest Minnesota State at 1 p.m. at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.   Courtesy: Augustana College

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