SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Augustana quarterback Kyle Saddler threw for 235 yards on 22-of-25 passing as the Augustana football team shutout Upper Iowa 52-0 Saturday in the 2019 season opener.
The shutout inside Kirkeby-Over Stadium is the first since the 2014 season when Augustana prevailed 52-0 over UMary on Sept. 27. The last Vikings shutout came Sept. 10, 2016, a 63-0 win at UMary.
Saddler, a junior, was responsible for four touchdowns on the afternoon, rushing for two along with his two passing touchdowns. The Vikings totaled 411 yards of offense with 294 through the air and 117 on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, the Viking’s defense held Upper Iowa to just 33 yards rushing and 198 yards of total offense to preserve the shutout. Augustana (1-0, 1-0 NSIC South) scored 21 points off turnovers, including a 27-yard pick-six from senior Cody Kujawa. The defense also totaled 12 tackles for a loss for 48 yards along with three sacks. Junior Logan Swanson was in on two of the sacks, totaling 17 yards.
“I cannot applaud our defense enough,” head coach Jerry Olszewski said. “Not only for getting the shutout, but creating so many turnovers on the day. I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage, eliminated the run game. We wanted to make them one dimensional, and I believe we did that. I just can’t say enough about our defensive performance.”
After Augustana’s first drive looked like it had stalled out on a three-and-out, Daniel Ruffin fumbled Drew Jurgens 54-yard punt with defensive back Dameon Moser falling on the loose ball on the UIU three-yard line. Just like last season, sophomore Braiden Petersen took his first carry into the end zone for the score.
Midway through the first quarter, Saddler connected with Brett Shepley for a 21-yard touchdown on a 7-play, 54-yard drive spanning 3:09, to go ahead 14-0 after Luis Guarita’s point-after attempt.
Augustana opened the second quarter with a 12-play, 69-yard drive, culminating with Anthony Karmazyn receiving an 11-yard pass. Augustana entered intermission leading 28-0 thanks to Saddler’s first rushing touchdown.
On the Peacock’s first drive of the second half, quarterback Jake Schuman had his pass attempt picked off by Kujawa, who then returned the ball 27 yards for his first-career touchdown. On the first snap of the next Upper Iowa (0-1, 0-1 NSIC South) possession, Schuman again had his pass picked off, this time by Kenneth Griffin.
With the Vikings taking over at the UIU 42-yard line, Saddler promptly marched the team downfield and finished with a 2-yard run and a 42-point lead.
The final touchdown of the day came on Zach Masoli’s first-career touchdown pass. Masoli connected with Devon Jones for a 22-yard touchdown, which also proved to be the true freshman’s first-career reception.
Guarita made all seven of his point-after attempts and added a 24-yard field goal to tally 10 points on the day.
Junior Rudolh Sinflorant led the rushing attack with 62 yards while Masoli totaled 36 yards on three carries. The Vikings saw three quarterbacks take snaps with redshirt-freshman Connor Neill joining Saddler and Masoli. Between the three of them, 13 Viking’s wideouts received a pass, totaling 294 yards.
Sophomore T.J. Liggett tallied a game-high 10 tackles while senior Michael Kloza and junior Chase Balliette each totaled five.
Augustana takes its six-game road win streak to NSIC preseason favorite, and No. 3 ranked, Minnesota State for a 6 p.m. contest on Saturday.