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October 7, 2009

2009 Season - Fourth ranked Wheaton is next

With a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin win under its belt, Augustana will head to Wheaton, Illinois this Saturday, October 10, for the annual showdown with the Wheaton Thunder. After handling previously unbeaten Elmhurst 21-3 this past Saturday, the Vikings will be facing an undefeated opponent for the fifth consecutive game this year.

Augustana, now 3-1 overall, opened conference play Saturday by continuing its domination of Elmhurst. The Bluejays had entered the game undefeated for the fourth consecutive season and, as in the previous three years, Augustana handed them their first loss of the season. The Vikings have now won 51 of 55 meetings (23 in a row) between the teams since the series started in 1947. Elmhurst has posted three wins and the two teams tied 0-0 in 1986. Elmhurst’s last win in the series came in 1979 in Rock Island--the Bluejays only win ever at Ericson Field.

Elmhurst jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after a nice 55-yard drive to open the game, but after that the Viking defense completely shut down the Bluejay attack, giving up just 186 total yards, and 49 passing yards, in the game. Meanwhile Viking junior running back Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) gashed the Bluejay defense for 146 rushing yards on 24 carries and scored all three Augustana touchdowns.

Next Saturday’s opponent, the Wheaton Thunder, come into the game with a 4-0 record and a number four ranking in NCAA Division III, according to the Top 25. Wheaton will be the fifth straight undefeated opponent for Augustana. After opening the season at Coe (9-7 loss), the Vikings have beaten previously 1-0 Greenville 42-20, 2-0 Wisconsin-Platteville 31-12 and 3-0 Elmhurst 21-3.

Like the Vikings, Wheaton is also 1-0 in CCIW play, having downed North Park on October 3 by a score of 41-6. The Thunder’s three non-conference wins have come at Bethel (Minnesota), 29-26, and at home versus Concordia (Wisconsin), 54-3 and Hope, 32-20. Senior quarterback Sean Norris leads a balanced offensive attack for the Thunder who average 433.5 yards and 39.0 points per game. Through four games Norris has completed 56.9% of his passes for 940 yards. Most impressive though, is his 13-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His favorite targets have been senior wide outs Danny Hindman and Freddy Ellis. Hindman leads in receptions with 17 for 299 yards (17.6 per catch) and four touchdowns while Ellis’ 16 grabs have produced a team-high 336 yards (21.0) and six touchdowns. As a group, Thunder receivers have averaged 15.4 yards per catch—a rarity in today’s age of the short passing game.

Junior running back Rocky Gingg, a first team All-CCIW performer in 2008, is the top ground gainer for Wheaton with 252 yards and a 4.0 average per carry. He’s found the end zone three times while his back-up, sophomore Charlie Velling has scored four touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards and a 4.9 average.

On defense, the Thunder has allowed an average of 283.2 yards and 13.8 points per game. 126.2 of those yards have come via the ground and 157.0 through the air. Wheaton opponents have averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and completed only 45.4% of their passes against the Thunder. Senior strong safety Brian Hollett leads the Thunder with 24 tackles and has one of the team’s four interceptions on the year. His running mate, free safety Brian McMullen has been in on 17 stops and leads the team with six tackles for loss and four pass break-ups.

Augustana’s defense has been outstanding through its first four games. The Vikings have allowed just 251.5 total yards and 11.0 points per game. Of their four opponents, only Greenville has been able to muster more than 10 points on offense. Opponents have managed just 88.5 yards a game on the ground and a 2.9 average per rushing attempt. Against the pass the Vikings have allowed a completion rate of 55.3%, and only 163.0 yards per game. They’ve allowed just two touchdowns through the air and have picked off eight opposition passes. The Augustana defense has forced 12 turnovers already this year.

Senior defensive back/linebacker Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.) has been the leader for the Vikings on defense. He leads the team in total tackles with 29 as well as solo stops (15) and assists (14). He’s also personally accounted for four of Augustana’s takeaways with a pair of interceptions and fumbles recoveries each. Linebackers Brandon Holl (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.), a junior, and Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.), a senior, have been outstanding as well. Holl is second in total tackles with 22 and is tied for the team lead with three tackles for loss and 1½ sacks. Rosset also has three tackles for loss among his 20 stops and has recorded a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt which he recovered for a touchdown.

Offensively, Augustana has moved the ball primarily on the ground. Wood leads the team with 373 yards, a 5.7 average per carry and six touchdowns. His backup, sophomore A.J. Hoger (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) has added 116 yards with a 5.5 average per rush. Sophomore quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) is second on the team with 192 yards on the ground. He averages 4.4 yards a carry.

Through the air, Lee has completed 51 of 82 passes (.622) for 483 yards and three touchdowns. He’s been intercepted twice. Senior Jake Parke’s (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) team-high 18 catches have gone for 108 yards. Senior Matt Downing (Morton HS, Morton, Ill.) has caught 10 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown and senior Henry Deters (Unity HS, Tolono, Ill.) and junior Corbett Ball (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) each have seven catches and one touchdown.

After this Saturday’s game the Vikings will return to Rock Island for Homecoming on October 17 when they’ll host the Titans of Illinois Wesleyan in a 1:00 p.m. contest.

MORE HONORS FOR WESTEMEYER: Augustana senior offensive tackle Blaine Westemeyer (Blue Valley Northwest HS, Overland Park, Kansas) has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy as well as a candidate the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Award. Westemeyer, the son of Brian and Nancy Westemeyer of Overland Park, Kansas carries a 3.94 GPA in biochemistry/pre-med. He is looking to become Augustana’s fourth NFF Scholarship winner, joining Chris Meskan (Aledo HS, Aledo, Ill.), an offensive guard in 1998, Mackenzie Hay (Polo HS, Polo, Ill.), an offensive guard/center in 2000 and Todd Baldwin (Aledo HS, Aledo, Ill.), a defensive back in 2002.

BREAKING A TREND: Although Augustana leads the all-time series with Wheaton by a margin of 29-22-2, the Thunder have gotten the better of the Vikings this decade. Wheaton has won seven of nine games since 2000 with Augustana’s wins coming in 2005 and 2006. The games during that time have been remarkably close, with Wheaton averaging 27.9 points a game and Augustana 24.9. Six of the nine games have been decided by one score and several have been decided in the final seconds.

HALFTIME TALK: Whatever Augustana head coach Jim Barnes has been saying to his team at halftime, it might be a good idea for him to keep repeating it…The Vikings have outscored their opponents 42-0 in the third quarter of games so far this season.

RUNNING THE CLOCK: The formation may have changed when Augustana went to the spread offense full-time heading into the 2008 season but one thing has remained consistent for the Blue & Gold and that is time of possession. Just like when they used to run out of the wing-T, the Vikings still hold a convincing advantage when it comes to time of possession. So far this season, through four games, Augustana has averaged 32:22 in time of possession while limiting opponents to 27:38.


Augustana wins CCIW opener with impressive showing over Elmhurst

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The Augustana Vikings opened conference play Saturday with a 21-3 win over the Elmhurst Bluejays at Ericson Field. For the fourth straight season the Bluejays came into the meeting with an undefeated record and for the fourth straight year the Vikings handed them their first loss of the season. Augustana has now won 23 consecutive games between the teams and holds a commanding 51-3-1 all-time edge in the series. The Bluejays only win in Rock Island came in 1979. Both teams are now 3-1 overall on the season.

Elmhurst took the opening kickoff and put together an impressive 13-play, 55-yard drive. Freshman running back Scottie Williams accounted for 40 of those yards on five rushing attempts. However, the Viking defense stiffened inside its own 10-yard and forced a 4th-and-four at the Augustana six-yard line. Tyler Lomnicki’s 24-yard field goal struck the left upright but bounced through and Elmhurst had a 3-0 lead. For all intents and purposes that would be the extent of the Bluejay offense, as they produced just 131 total yards and no points the rest of the game.

Augustana bounced right back on its first possession, going 66 yards on seven plays with Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) capping the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run up the middle. The junior running back carried four times for 42 yards on the drive and quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) accounted for the other 24 yards on three rushes.

The Vikings put together a solid drive on their next possession as well. Taking over after an Elmhurst punt at their own 24, they marched 48 yards in just five plays, but on second-and-five from the Elmhurst 28-yard line Lee overthrew and open receiver and the Bluejays’ Kyle DeMus came up with the interception to end the Augustana threat. Neither team threatened the rest of the half and the Vikings’ lead remained 7-3 at the break.

It took Augustana just three plays from scrimmage, all rushes by Wood, to get on the board in the second half. After busting off runs of six and 20 yards and having 15 yards tacked on for a facemask call on the Bluejays, Wood finished the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run. Ryan Gibbons’ (Richwoods HS, Peoria, Ill.) kick made it 14-3 Vikings with 13:33 left in the third quarter.

Augustana added another score early in the fourth quarter when Wood went in from two yards out, capping a 14-play, 55-yard drive that took 5:40 off the clock. Gibbons added the kick to make it 21-3.

While Augustana’s offense was efficiently putting points on the board and running clock, the Viking defense continued to stifle Elmhurst, yielding just 131 yards after the opening drive and forcing three Bluejay turnovers in the game’s final 20 minutes. Ben Hall (Normal University HS, Normal, Ill.) intercepted a Phil Pedi pass late in the third quarter to set up the Vikings final score and in the fourth quarter, Shane Holl (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) and Alonso Herrera (Waubonsie Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) each forced Bluejay fumbles which were recovered by Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) and Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.), respectively.

Elmhurst, who shuffled running backs and quarterbacks throughout the game, ended up with just 186 total yards on 53 plays from scrimmage. Williams had just two yards on three carries after the game’s opening drive and backup Jimmy Jenkins, also a freshman, was held to 21 yards on six carries. The Bluejay quarterback combo of Pedi and freshman Joe Furco connected on just nine of 23 pass attempts for 49 yards. The Bluejays also hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 111 yards.

For Augustana, Wood finished the game with 146 yards on 24 carries and three scores. Lee was quietly efficient, rushing for 42 yards on 14 carries and connecting on 10-of-15 passes for 87 yards. Jake Parke (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) was Lee’s favorite target with four catches for 39 yards. Defensively, John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) led the way with eight tackles, including six solo. Setchell recorded six stops in addition to his fumble recovery and Andrew Rosset had three solo tackles including a sack and also recovered a fumble.

The Vikings, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the league, continue CCIW play next Saturday when they travel to Wheaton to take on the Thunder in a 1:00 p.m. contest.


ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Augustana had the sixth ranked Wheaton reeling at halftime, but a strong second half performance by the Thunder resulted in the visitors claiming a 26-14 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin victory on Saturday afternoon at Ericson Field. The result spoiled a beautiful homecoming afternoon for the Vikings, who dropped to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the CCIW. Wheaton moved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.

In the first half Augustana rolled up 215 yards of total offense and took a 14-13 advantage into the locker-room at intermission. That all changed in the second half when Wheaton scored on three of its first four possessions and limited the Vikings to just 41 yards of total offense.

After receiving the opening kickoff, Augustana marched 80 yards on 14 plays with senior quarterback Tim Podulka (Elk Grove HS, ElkGrove Village, Ill.) scoring on a 20 yard run. Phil Prosia (MountainVista HS, Littleton, Col.) nailed the extra point and with 6:54 left in the first quarter the Vikings had a 7-0 lead. Wheaton came back and cut the lead to 7-3 on a 47 yard field goal by Tim Ellingsen with just 1:59 left in the first quarter. It would be the first of four field goals on the day by Ellingsen.

The Thunder took the lead midway through the second quarter when quarterback Sean Norris hit Alex Pokorny with a 49 yard scoring toss to make it 10-7.

Late in the second quarter senior cornerback Billy Lynch (Loyola Academy, Chicago, Ill.) came up with a big play when he intercepted Norris at the 43 and returned it 15 yards to the Wheaton 43. Three plays later Podulka scampered into the end zone from 33 yards out and with just :33 left before halftime the Vikings led 14-10.

Wheaton marched right down the field, however, and Ellingsen kicked a 21 yard field goal as the clock expired to trim the advantage to 14-13 at halftime.

In the second half the Thunder grabbed the lead on their first possession when Norris ran in from 14 yards out. That made it 20-14. After an exchange of punts, Wheaton got the ball back late in the third quarter and running back Rocky Gingg started to heat up. He had been held to just 25 yards on eight attempts in the first half but on this drive he carried it five times for 31 yards and eventually Ellingsen kicked another 21 yard field goal to make it 23-14. With 3:50 left in the contest Ellingsen booted his fourth field goal of the game, this one from 40 yards out, to account for the final tally.

Gingg ended up with 142 yards on 35 carries and Norris threw for 240 yards as he completed 16 of 25 yards.

Augustana got 179 yards passing out of Podulka, who completed 19 of 29 yards but could only manage 77 yards rushing as a team.

Eric Meyer (Harlem HS, Machesney Park, Ill.) led the Vikings in tackles with 16 (12 solo and four assists.)






September 5


Cedar Rapids, Iowa

L, 9-7

September 12



W, 42-20

September 19



W, 31-12

October 3



W, 21-3


Family Weekend



October 10


Wheaton, Illinois

1:00 p.m.

October 17

*Illinois Wesleyan


1:00 p.m.





October 24



6:00 p.m.

October 31

*North Park

Chicago, Illinois

1:00 p.m.

November 7

*North Central


1:00 p.m.

November 14


Decatur, Illinois

1:00 p.m.

  • - College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin game


Augustana leads this series 29-22-2...Wheaton won last year’s meeting 26-14 in Rock Island...Wheaton led this series 9-2-2 after a 14-13 win in 1968 but since that time Augustana has victories in 27 of the last 40 games played...The 2000 game was a double overtime affair that allowed the Thunder to clinch a tie for the CCIW title on the final game of the season...In 2001 the Thunder scored on the final play of the game to hand the CCIW champion Vikings their only regular season loss...Both the 2003 and 2004 games were decided in the closing seconds.


SCORING (Running Record)



AUG 3, WHE 0 (1-0)



AUG 21, WHE 0 (2-0)



AUG 6, WHE 6 - tie (2-0-1)



WHE 13, AUG 0 (2-1-1)



WHE 47, AUG 6 (2-2-1)



WHE 46, AUG 6 (2-3-1)



WHE 26, AUG 0 (2-4-1)



WHE 33, AUG 12 (2-5-1)



WHE 44, AUG 6 (2-6-1)



WHE 67, AUG 12 (2-7-1)



WHE 33, AUG 13 (2-8-1)



AUG 19, WHE 19 (2-8-2)



WHE 14, AUG 13 (2-9-2)



AUG 28, WHE 0 (3-9-2)



AUG 10, WHE 7 (4-9-2)



AUG 42, WHE 23 (5-9-2)



AUG 23, WHE 6 (6-9-2)



AUG 23, WHE 14 (7-9-2)



AUG 34, WHE 19 (8-9-2)



WHE 37, AUG 35 (8-10-2)



AUG 26, WHE 7 (9-10-2)



WHE 34, AUG 29 (9-11-2)



WHE 27, AUG 3 (9-12-2)



AUG 14, WHE 10 (10-12-2)



AUG 20, WHE 15 (11-12-2)



AUG 17, WHE 7 (12-12-2)



AUG 37, WHE 0 (13-12-2)



AUG 47, WHE 12 (12-12-2)



AUG 45, WHE 14 (15-12-2)



AUG 26, WHE 14 (16-12-2)



AUG 18, WHE 17 (17-12-2)



AUG 28, WHE 6 (18-12-2)



AUG 30, WHE 13 (19-12-2)



AUG 24, WHE 20 (20-12-2)



AUG 24, WHE 7 (21-12-2)



WHE 42, AUG 19 (21-13-2)



AUG 20, WHE 15 (22-13-2)



AUG 14, WHE 6 (23-13-2)



AUG 26, WHE 21 (24-13-2)



WHE 35, AUG 27 (24-14-2)



WHE 16, AUG 12 (24-15-2)



AUG 21, WHE 16 (25-15-2)



AUG 34, WHE 21 (26-15-2)



AUG 31, WHE 19 (27-15-2)



WHE 37, AUG 30 (27-16-2)



WHE 34, AUG 32 (27-17-2)



WHE 38, AUG 14 (27-18-2)



WHE 28, AUG 27 (27-19-2)



WHE 39, AUG 38 (27-20-2)



AUG 28, WHE 7 (28-20-2)



AUG 17, WHE 14 (29-20-2)



WHE 28, AUG 24 (29-21-2)



WHE 26, AUG 14 (29-22-2)