Maverick Football spoils Augustana Homecoming with 42-35 win

It proved to be a wild Augustana homecoming game at Kirkeby-Over Stadium Saturday afternoon, but Minnesota State was able to spoil the Vikings’ party with a 42-35 road victory.

With the win, the Mavericks improve to 5-2 on the season, including a 2-1 record in NSIC South Division action. With the loss, the Vikings fall to 4-3, including a 1-2 division record. The Mavericks have now won sixth straight games against AU dating back to the 2011 season.

Both offense were out in force as they combined for 988 total yards of offense, including 569 passing yards, to go along with a total of 77 points.

MSU opened the game with an 11-play drive that went 75 yards in just under five minutes to take a 7-0 lead after senior Virgil Hammond ran into the end zone from five yards out. AU managed to knot up the score at 7-7 with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Trey Heid to Matt Heller with three minutes left in the first quarter.

After the Augie touchdown, the Mavericks answered right back with another long drive to go up 14-7 with 13:17 to go in the second quarter. MSU, which began its drive on its own 25, marched 75 yards down the field, using 14 plays in 4:43. The drive included four pass completions by senior Nick Pieruccini, including a 28-yard catch by freshman Shane Zylstra and a two-yard touchdown catch by junior Ty Dennis.

Augustana was able to connect on a 19-yard field goal from Lucas Wainman with 6:16 left in the second, but the Mavericks answered right back with a 91-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-10 lead into the locker room. Pieruccini completed four passes during MSU’s third scoring drive, including a 32-yard pass to freshman Justin Arnold and a 13-yard touchdown strike to Shane Zylstra.

The third quarter started off promising for the Mavericks as the defense recovered an AU fumble on the Viking 25 yard line. Senior Rufus Wolokolie forced the Augie fumble, before senior Alex Vesper recovered the ball. Five plays later, the Mavericks reached pay dirt as Pieruccini completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Dennis to put MSU up 28-10 with 13:02 to go in the third quarter.

The Vikings then scored 18 straight points to knot up the score at 28-28 with 13:55 to go in the game. Along with a 27-yard field goal from Wainman, Augustana reached the end zone twice on a pair of touchdown passes from Heid. Heid first connected on a 26-yard touchdown pass with Chet Peerenboom, before hooking up with Charlie Hayes on a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Undaunted, the Mavericks answered right back on its first drive of the fourth quarter to retake the lead at 35-28. Junior Corey Brent provided a spark for the Mavericks as he returned the AU kickoff 84 yards to the Augustana 12 yard line, before senior Ricky Lloyd completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to junior Erik Fuller.

After both teams failed to score on their following drives, MSU was forced to punt. On the punt, sophomore Ryan Persick was able to pin the Vikings back on their four yard line after a 56 yard punt. The Maverick defense then came away with another timely turnover as sophomore Jayme LaPlante forced a fumble, before junior Larry Moore recovered the ball on the Augie eight yard line. On the next play, Lloyd was able to reach the end zone on an eight yard run to put MSU up 42-28 with 10:28 to go in the game.

Augustana was able to get back within seven points of the Mavericks after the Vikings went 70 yards down field to score with 7:58 to go in the game. Au’s drive, which lasted 2:33, was capped of by a two-yard touchdown run by Jackie Davis.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Mavericks fumbled and Augustana was able to recover the ball on the MSU 22 with 7:48 left on the clock. Four plays later, Augustana was looking at a fourth and goal on the MSU one yard line, but the Maverick defense kept the Vikings out of the end zone to preserve MSU’s 42-35 lead with 6:27 to go in the game. Augustana would not get another chance to tie the game as the Maverick offense ran out the clock on the following drive to secure the 42-35 win.

Pieruccini finished the game completing 14 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns. Lloyd completed four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown as well. A total of six Mavericks caught at least one pass in the MSU victory, including Dennis, who caught four passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns. Zylstra also caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.

Hammond led the MSU rushing attack with 73 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Both Wolokolie and senior Mat Andriano led the Maverick defense with 10 tackles each. LaPlante recorded MSU’s only interception of the game and also forced a fumble.

Heid finished his game completing 27 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns. He also led the Augie rushing attack with 139 yards. Hayes caught 15 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown.

Minnesota State returns home Thursday, as it takes on the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on The FAN Mankato AM 1230 FM 103.1.


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