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September 12, 2009

2009 Season - Offense keys 42-20 rout of Greenville

Augustana bounced back from a heartbreaking week one road loss at Coe to defeat the Greenville Panthers 42-20 at Ericson Field in Rock Island Saturday night. The Panthers were coming in off an impressive season-opening win at Washington University in a game in which they shut down the Bear offense on the way to a 17-7 win.

In contrast to that game, the Viking offense took control early and often against the Panthers. After Augustana won the opening toss and deferred, Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.) came up with an interception of an Austin Teer pass on the Panthers’ third play from scrimmage, setting the Vikings up with excellent field position at the Greenville 48-yard line. On the drive’s fifth play, Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) burst through the line and went 17 yards for the game’s first score. Ryan Gibbons’ (Richwoods HS, Peoria, Ill.) kick made the score 7-0, Augustana.

The Panthers picked up one first down on their next possession, but then were forced to punt. Taking over on its own 12-yard line, Augustana put together a nine-play, 88-yard drive capped off by a 35-yard David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) to Corbett Ball (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) touchdown pass. Gibbons converted the extra point and the Vikings led 14-0 with 4:55 left in the opening quarter. The Viking defense then forced another Panther three-and-out and the offense put together another impressive drive, going 77 yards in 11 plays, but came away empty when Gibbons’ 27-yard field goal attempt went wide right.

The Panther offense, which had done very little to that point, got a lift when Ketrone Banks took an option pitch and went 69 yards down the sideline to cut the lead to 14-6. The point after failed. Augustana responded quickly, however, going 60 yards in just four plays with Wood finishing the drive with a 49-yard touchdown run. Gibbons converted again and the lead was 21-6 with 10:10 left in the half. Greenville used some trickery on its next drive to cut the lead again. Blanks took an end-around pitch and instead of running with it, pulled up and found a wide open Daniel Cunningham behind the Viking secondary for a 60-yard gain to the Augustana 10-yard line. Adonis Brown bulled into the end zone on the next play to make the score 21-12. The score stayed that way when the Vikings got a hand on Reid Ackerman’s extra point attempt.

The Panthers intercepted Lee on Augustana’s next possession, but Andrew Rossett (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) picked off a Teer pass in the end zone on the very next play to set the Vikings up at their own 20-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Lee took a keeper 73 yards to the end zone to extend the lead back to 28-12 following Gibbons’ point after. Each team was forced to punt on their next possession and Alex Schroeder (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) appeared to have Greenville pinned down when his kick took Panther return man Edgar Townsend back to his own eight-yard line where he was hemmed in by several Vikings. However, somehow Townsend managed to escape and scoot 92 yards down the right sideline to put Greenville on the board again. This time the Panthers were successful on a two-point conversion and the teams went into the half with Augustana leading by a score of 28-20.

After a first half that saw the Vikings pile up 367 total yards, including 260 rushing yards on 23 carries, both defenses stiffened in the second half. The only offensive score came when Lee connected with Matt Downing (Morton HS, Morton, Ill.) for a 32-yard touchdown with 3:01 left in the third quarter, giving the Vikings a 35-20 lead. The final score of the night came when Greenville punter Jeremy Burrows mishandled a snap and Setchell scooped it up and went 22 yards for the touchdown with 1:14 left in the third quarter.

After struggling offensively versus Coe in week one, the Vikings put together a solid performance against Greenville. They finished the game with 288 yards on 40 rushing attempts led by Wood’s 105 yards on 12 carries. Lee added another 161 yards through the air with 16 completions in 25 attempts. Despite allowing the two big plays, the Viking defense played well also, allowing just 226 total yards and forcing three turnovers.
Augustana returns to action next Saturday, September 19 at Ericson Field in Rock Island when they’ll take on the Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers at 6:00 p.m.