Augustana Vikings - 1985 national champions
Vikings push win streak to 37, win third straight NCAA championship
The NCAA expanded the division III playoffs to 16 teams in 1985, instead of the previous total of eight. It didn't really make any difference to veteran head coach Bob Reade, however, as his Augustana Vikings ripped off a perfect 13-0 record en route to a third straight national championship. In the process the Vikings moved their winning streak to 37 in a row.
That is not to say that 1985 did not have its anxious moments. The most nerve-wracking occurred on September 28 at McCully Field in Wheaton, Illinois when starting quarterback Kirk Bednar went down with a season ending knee injury.
The Vikings won that game 26-14 and left the field not knowing what they would do at the quarterback position. After two games of tinkering, Reade finally tapped little known sophomore Greg Wallace to handle the signal calling duties. Wallace had not even gone out for football in 1984, concentrating instead on basketball and baseball. He was not big nor did he possess the strongest throwing arm. He did have the one ability that Reade always put first when searching for quarterbacks. What he could do, and do very well, was win football games. He proved his worth immediately as he threw a touchdown pass in a 9-3 Homecoming win over Millikin in just his second start and then proceeded to get better each week.
With a new quarterback, Reade relied on his vaunted ground game and the Viking runners went wild. Junior Brad Price went over the 1,000 yard mark for the second season in a row and fullback Shane McCormick and wingbacks Bob Guerrieri and Dennis Fraikes all picked up yardage in big chunks.
The defense was once again outstanding as senior strong safety Mark Long led the way en route to an All-American season.
In the NCAA Playoffs, Augustana beat Albion 26-10 in the first round and then survived a scare by Mount Union in the second round before winning 21-14. In the semifinals the Vikings held off revenge minded Central of Iowa 14-7 and then dusted off Ithaca 20-7 for the title.