Vikings trounce Dragons in 48-3 road win

MOORHEAD, Minn. – A fast start, three touchdowns from Devon Jones and a pick-six from Kenneth Griffin helped give the Augustana football team a convincing 48-3 win over MSU Moorhead Saturday. The Vikings totaled a season-high 484 yards of offense with 266 yards through the air and 218 yards on the ground.

The win moves Augustana to 5-2 on the season, second-best in the overall NSIC standings. MSU Moorhead falls to 3-4.

Jones, a true freshman, sparked the offense with a 42-yard rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the game. After a 3-and-out from the Dragons, Jones gave Augustana a 14-0 lead when he caught a 25-yard pass from Kyle Saddler in the front corner of the end zone.

The first quarter concluded with the Vikings leading 21-0 thanks to a Saddler-to-Brett Shepley touchdown. That drive was the longest of the game for the Vikings, spanning 94 yards over six plays.

MSU Moorhead stuck its only points on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the second quarter when Hobet Diaz made a 26-yard field goal.

After that, Augustana kept pouring the points on the board with three more touchdowns, beginning with the first play after the Dragons' field goal. True freshman Jarod Epperson took the handoff from Saddler and ran 75 yards untouched into the end zone. The run is the longest of the season and fifth-longest all-time in Augustana football history.

"We've been running the ball better," head coach Jerry Olszewski said. "Our backs are explosive and it is great when you have a couple of big runs. The box was right where they pressured it and we hit a seam. Guys like (Jarod) Epperson and (Devon) Jones, they'll take it the distance because they are that fast."

With 9:12 remaining in the first half, junior Rudolh Sinflorant tallied his first touchdown of the season, when he caught a nine-yard pass from Saddler running in the end zone.

With the defense on near lock-down, senior Kenneth Griffin stepped in front of a Matthew Plaster pass and scattered 57 yards for the second-pick six of his career. Griffin had two interceptions on the day and now leads the Vikings with four interceptions on the season.

The final score of the day was Jones' third of the day. This time it was a 34-yard reception from senior Zach Masoli. He is the first Viking this season to tally three touchdowns in one game.

The defense, who came into the game leading the nation in turnovers gained, totaled three more on the day, all by interception. Besides Griffin's two interceptions, Jake Polson, a redshirt freshman, had his second interception of the season.

Sophomore T.J. Liggett had a game-high 10 tackles while senior Cody Kujawa and junior Logan Swanson each had seven. Kujawa had a team-high 2.5 tackles for loss.

Saddler totaled 225 yards on 12-of-15 passing and three touchdowns while Masoli stepped in for 41 yards. Redshirt freshman Connor Neill also saw playing time and gathered three yards rushing.

Epperson led the rushing attack with 103 yards, the first 100-yard rusher this season for Augustana. Jones totaled 42 yards on the ground and 61 yards through the air. Nine Vikings caught at least one pass this afternoon.

The Dragons countered with 217 yards of total offense, 115 on the ground and 102 through the air.

The Vikings now play their next two games on their home turf of Kirkeby-Over Stadium, beginning with Minot State on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m.