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October 23, 2009

2009 Season - Defense will get huge test against Carthage

As the Augustana football team heads into this week’s matchup with Carthage, it will be looking to rebound from a rare homecoming loss and end an equally rare two-game losing streak. An early Illinois Wesleyan touchdown this past Saturday at Ericson Field held up as the Titans hung a 7-0 loss on the Vikings. That came on the heels of a last-minute 24-17 loss at Wheaton the previous week.

In Saturday’s homecoming game, IWU took advantage of a running into the kicker call against Augustana on the game’s opening drive. The call nullified a missed Titan field goal and extended the drive, which ended in the game’s only score—a four-yard Brien Rooney-to-Michael Sloboda touchdown pass. Both defenses were dominant the rest of the way. On the rare occasions the Vikings (who managed just 135 total yards and six first downs in the contest) were able to move the ball, they hurt themselves with turnovers. All four of Augustana’s turnovers came in Titan territory, including two inside the IWU 20. Meanwhile, the Viking defense was holding the high-powered Titan offense to just 220 total yards, including just 75 on 40 rushing attempts, and intercepting Rooney twice.

This week’s opponents, the Carthage Red Men (4-2 overall and 1-2 in the CCIW), are coming in off a loss as well, although their game with North Central this past Saturday had an entirely different complexion than the Augustana-IWU contest. Red Men quarterback Evan Jones, a junior from Grayslake, Illinois, set CCIW single-game records with 84 attempts, 47 completions and 562 passing yards in a 63-48 loss. Jones threw for six touchdowns but was intercepted four times by CCIW co-leader North Central.

On the season, Coach Tim Rucks’ aerial circus has produced nearly 400 passing yards and 36.5 points per game. Jones has been the ring leader, completing 66% of his passes for 2109 yards and 18 touchdowns while being picked off nine times. The Carthage receiving corps features eight players with at least 12 receptions and is led by senior wide receivers Jeff Koeneman, a 2008 first team All-CCIW selection, and Nick Merchut, a second team All-CCIW choice a year ago. Koeneman has team-highs of 54 catches (for 582 yards and a 10.8-yard average per catch) and eight touchdowns, while Merchut has snared 43 passes for a team-best 684 yards (15.9 per reception) and seven touchdowns. The Carthage ground game has produced just 57.2 yards per game and 2.1 yards per carry although leading rusher John Seigler (45 carries for 144 yards) has scored four rushing touchdowns.

Defensively, the Red Men appear somewhat vulnerable. They’ve allowed an average of 184.0 rushing yards per game and opponents have averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Carthage has given up 244.0 yards a game through the air, but has limited the opposition to a 52.6% completion rate while intercepting 13 passes. Sophomore safety Marcus Williams is the leading Carthage tackler with 40½ stops on the season. The other safety, Brian Hipchen, also a sophomore, is right on Williams’ heels with 36½ tackles and is tied with sophomore corner Eric Solis for the team lead with four interceptions. The Red Men also have 2008 first team All-CCIW selection Alex Annes at defensive end.

Augustana’s defense, coming off an outstanding performance against Illinois Wesleyan, will face a stiff challenge from the Carthage passing game. The Vikings have allowed an average of just 12.5 points a game thus far this season, including 11.3 in conference play. They’ve been especially tough against the run, giving up just 95.5 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry. Through the air, opponents have averaged 185.8 yards a game but have just a 106.9 passer rating. Augustana has forced 17 turnovers as well.

Senior linebacker/defensive back Aaron Setchell (Amboy HS, Amboy, Ill.) continues to lead Augustana with 40 tackles and four takeaways (two fumble recoveries and two interceptions). Senior linebacker Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) has been a playmaker on defense all year. He’s third on the team with 34 tackles and second in tackles-for-loss (five), sacks (two), interceptions (tied with two) and fumble recoveries (tied with one). He’s also recorded a blocked punt which he recovered for a touchdown. Senior middle guard Jeff Daisy (Thornton Fractional South, Lansing, Ill.) is having a fine season as well and leads the team with 7½ tackles for loss and five sacks. Junior corner Alex Schroeder (Batavia HS, Batavia, Ill.) came up with his team-leading third interception of the season against Illinois Wesleyan.

The Vikings will need to get the offense back on track after having its ground game throttled by Wheaton and the passing game shut down by Illinois Wesleyan. Junior running back Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) has led the Augustana rushing attack all year and currently has 467 yards and seven touchdowns on 96 carries (4.9 yards a carry). After being shut down by Wheaton two weeks ago, Wood got back on track a bit with 76 yards on 16 carries against Illinois Wesleyan. Senior all-purpose back Jake Parke’s (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) status is uncertain after suffering an apparent concussion in Saturday’s game. Parke is the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for 215 yards, is third in rushing with 126 yards on 26 carries (4.8 yards per carry) and has been the team’s primary punt returner as well.

Sophomore quarterback David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) will be looking to shake off a rough outing against Illinois Wesleyan. A week after throwing for a career-high 249 yards at Wheaton, Lee was just 5-of-14 for 30 yards this past Saturday. On the season he’s now 74-of-127 (.578) for 762 yards with four touchdown passes and five interceptions. He’s also second on the team with 173 rushing yards, giving him a team-high 935 total yards (155.8 per game).

HUGE NUMBERS: With his performance against North Central, Jones has now completed 81-of-132 passes for 1038 yards and nine touchdowns...in the last two weeks! The Red Men broke or tied 10 school and nine Art Keller Field records this past Saturday. Some of them include Jones’ 567 total yards (breaking his own record) as well as his six touchdown passes (tying the record he already held with Patrick Brown), 33 first downs, and 15 pass receptions by Jeff Koeneman.

LAST WEEK…..10/17/09 – ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 7, AUGUSTANA 0

Vikings suffer 7-0 homecoming loss to Illinois Wesleyan

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – A roughing the kicker penalty against Augustana with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter may have been the key play Saturday as Illinois Wesleyan spoiled the Vikings’ homecoming, winning 7-0 at Ericson Field.

After an impressive opening drive ground to halt at the Vikings’ 11-yard line, Titan kicker Michael Fenger lined up for a 28-yard field goal. He hooked the attempt wide left, but IWU got second life when Augustana was called for running into the kicker. On fourth-and-two Titan coach Norm Eash decided to pass on another field goal attempt and instead go for it. IWU was able to pick up the first down and two plays later, quarterback Brien Rooney found Michael Sloboda in the back of the end zone with a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Titans on top. Fengers’ point after made it 7-0.

Augustana started at its own 30-yard line following the ensuing kickoff and it looked like the Viking offense was clicking when running back Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.) burst into Titan territory on a nice run. Unfortunately he coughed the ball up as he was going down and IWU’s Neal Loftus recovered at the Titan 31.

As both team’s defenses tightened up, each offense got just one more first down until midway through the second quarter when IWU put together a nice drive.  The Titans moved from their own 43-yard line to the Viking nine in eight plays before a holding call pushed them back to the 19. On the drive’s ninth play, the Vikings’ Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) intercepted Rooney at the Viking 13, ending the Titan threat.

Neither team could manage a first down the rest of the half and they went to intermission with IWU on top 7-0.

Augustana started the second half with excellent field position following a nice kickoff return by linebacker Eric Meyer (Harlem HS, Machesney Park, Ill.). Starting from their own 42, the Vikings quickly moved to the Titan 20 on five consecutive running plays. However, on first-and-ten from the Titan 20, Jake Parke (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) broke through for a seven gain but lost the football on his way down. The Titans’ Robert Beauchamp came up with the recovery and Augustana was thwarted again.

Both defenses continued their tremendous play as the next nine possessions, five by IWU and four by Augustana, produced a total of one first down for each team. Augustana missed another opportunity to put points on the board when Ryan Gibbons’ (Richwoods HS, Peoria, Ill.) 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked with just under seven minutes left. The Vikings would see the ball just one more time and the Titans’ Mike Kotz ended Augustana’s hopes by intercepting a David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) pass at the IWU 45-yard line with 24 seconds left.

While the Viking offense moved the ball on occasion, it hurt itself with four turnovers. IWU, likewise, had some success, mostly through the air with Rooney completing 16-of-20 passes, but for just 145 yards. Augustana was more successful on the ground. Wood led the way with 76 yards on 16 carries while Lee struggled, completing just 4-of-15 passes for 30 yards while being intercepted twice and sacked four times. For the game, the Vikings produced just 135 yards and six first downs. Augustana’s defense limited IWU to just 75 rushing yards on 40 carries and intercepted Rooney twice. Rosset led the team with 10 tackles.

The loss was Augustana’s first at home to IWU since 2000 and drops the Vikings to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in CCIW play. Illinois Wesleyan improves to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference. The Vikings are home again next week when they’ll host the Carthage Red Men in a 6:00 p.m. contest at Ericson Field.

LAST YEAR…..10/25/08 – AUGUSTANA 40, CARTHAGE 16

KENOSHA, Wis. – A series-long dominance of Carthage continued on Saturday night in Kenosha, Wisconsin as Augustana scored a convincing 40-16 victory over the Red Men. Thanks to a balanced offense and a defense that completely shut down the run, the Vikings beat Carthage for the 33rd time in the last 35 years. It was the 11th victory in the last 12 seasons and it allowed Augustana to move to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.

The win also avenged a rare Carthage win in this series, which Augustana currently leads by a wide margin of 59-14. Last year the Vikings turned the ball over five times in a 33-28 loss. This time around Augustana played turnover free football and used a 36:31 to 23:29 advantage in time of possession to secure the win.

Senior cornerback Billy Lynch (Loyola Academy, Chicago, Ill.) set the tone on the very first play from scrimmage when he intercepted Red Men quarterback Evan Jones at the Carthage 45 and returned the ball 19 yards to the 26. Four plays later Henry Deters (Tolono-Unity HS, Tolono, Ill.) bounced into the end zone from four yards out and Phil Prosia (Mountain Vista HS,Littleton, Colo.) nailed the extra point to make it 7-0. The game was just over three minutes old and Deters had accounted for every one of the 26 yards on the drive.

Tim Merchut kicked a 27 yard field goal on Carthage’s next possession to trim the lead to 7-3 but three plays later the Vikings were on the board again. Quarterback Tim Podulka (Elk Grove HS, Elk Grove Village, Ill.) hit Jason Kwasigroch (Carmel HS, Wauconda, Ill.) with a 58 yard scoring toss to cap a three play, 66 yard drive. Prosia’s extra point made it 14-3 with 6:56 left in the first quarter.

After Carthage drove to the Augustana 30, the Viking defense stiffened and held one running play for no yardage and forced Jones to misfire on three straight passes. Augustana took over on its own 30 and marched 70 yards on seven plays with Jake Parke (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.) romping over from 20 yards out to make it 20-6 and the game was still in the first quarter. Prosia’s extra point attempt was blocked.

With just 14 seconds left before halftime the Red Men cut the margin to 20-10 when Jones completed a four yard scoring toss to Jake Smith on fourth and one. That wrapped up a 61 yard, 13 play drive.

Augustana got the ball to start the third quarter and went 42 yards on 10 plays before settling for a 31 yard field goal from Prosia, his first of the season. That made the score 23-10. He would connect again in the third quarter, this time from 28 yards out with 2:13 remaining to bump the margin to 26-10. Carthage sliced the advantage to 26-16 when Jones hit Jeff Koeneman with a 49 yard touchdown pass with 1:22 left in the third.

Heading into the fourth quarter the Viking offense made a statement with a 60 yard drive that took nine plays and ate 4:12 off the clock. Podulka and Kwasigroch connected for their second touchdown of the night, this one from 12 yards out. Prosia’s extra point made it 33-16 with 12:04 left in the contest.

Andrew Rosset (Maine West HS, Des Plaines, Ill.) blocked James McNeiece’s punt on the next Carthage possession and Augustana was in business at the Red Men’s 35. It took two rushing attempts by Podulka, the last one going 29 yards, for the Vikings to reach the end zone. Prosia was again good on the extra point and Augustana led 40-16 with 10:39 left on the clock.

The Vikings, who have now won back-to-back road night games, rolled up 424 yards in total offense (234 rushing and 190 passing). Podulka was right in the middle of it, rushing for 72 yards on 12 attempts and a touchdown and passing for 190 yards on 13 of 18 with two touchdowns. Parke gained 59 yards on nine attempts and Kwasigroch compiled 106 yards of receiving on three catches.

Defensively, Augustana completely shut down any attempt by Carthage to run the football. The Vikings allowed just 65 rushing yards on 19 attempts and three Red Men quarterbacks (Jones, DeBouef and Trevor Beazley) put the ball in the air 59 times. They completed 33 of those for 337 yards but Augustana had key interceptions from Lynch and Wyatt Brieser (Geneseo HS, Geneseo,Ill.). Carthage wide receiver Jeff Koeneman had a big game, catching 14 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown.

John Mago (Cary Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) led the Viking defense with 10 tackles while Brieser chipped in with eight. Augustana scored on its first three possessions of the game and three of its first four in the second half.

2009 AUGUSTANA VIKINGS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

DATE

OPPONENT

SITE

TIME

September 5

Coe

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

L, 9-7

September 12

Greenville

HOME

W, 42-20

September 19

Wisconsin-Platteville

HOME

W, 31-12

October 3

*Elmhurst

HOME

W, 21-3

 

Family Weekend

 

 

October 10

*Wheaton

Wheaton, Illinois

L, 17-24

October 17

*Illinois Wesleyan

HOME

L, 0-7

 

Homecoming

 

 

October 24

*Carthage

HOME

6:00 p.m.

October 31

*North Park

Chicago, Illinois

1:00 p.m.

November 7

*North Central

HOME

1:00 p.m.

November 14

*Millikin

Decatur, Illinois

1:00 p.m.

* - College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin game

AUGUSTANA-CARTHAGE SERIES RECORD:

Augustana holds a commanding lead in this series with 59 wins, 14 losses and five ties...Augustana has won 32 of the last 34 meetings between the two schools in the CCIW with ties to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America...The two teams played to a 7-7 tie in 1974 and from 1974 through 1995 Augustana won 21 straight games...Carthage has not won a game in Rock Island since 1970 as the Vikings have stretched that streak to 18 straight...The series started in 1928 and in the first 17 games the Vikings won 13 times with four contests ending in ties...Carthage picked up its first win in 1948 by a count of 6-0.

 

YEAR

SCORE (Running Record)

SITE

1928

AUG 20, CART 6 (1-0)

NA

1929

AUG 14, CART 7 (2-0)

NA

1930

AUG 9, CART 7 (3-0)

NA

1931

AUG 6, CART 6 tie (3-0-1)

NA

1932

AUG 13, CART 0 (4-0-1)

NA

1933

AUG 35, CART 0 (5-0-1)

NA

1934

AUG 41, CART 6 (6-0-1)

NA

1935

AUG 27, CART 3 (7-0-1)

NA

1936

AUG 33, CART 0 (8-0-1)

NA

1937

AUG 14, CART 6 (9-0-1)

NA

1938

AUG 7, CART 7 tie (9-0-2)

NA

1939

AUG 18, CART 0 (10-0-2)

NA

1940

AUG 0, CART 0 tie (10-0-3)

NA

1941

AUG 12, CART 12 tie (10-0-4)

NA

1942

AUG 14, CART 6 (11-0-4)

NA

1946

AUG 13, CART 0 (12-0-4)

Home

1947

AUG 13, CART 0 (13-0-4)

Away

1948

CART 6, AUG 0 (13-1-4)

Away

1949

AUG 21, CART 13 (14-1-4)

Home

1950

AUG 33, CART 6 (15-1-4)

Away

1951

AUG 40, CART 14 (16-1-4)

Home

1952

CART 33, AUG 13 (16-2-4)

Away

1953

AUG 31, CART 7 (17-2-4)

Home

1954

AUG 18, CART 15 (18-2-4)

Home

1955

CART 7, AUG 6 (18-3-4)

Home

1956

CART 34, AUG 19 (18-4-4)

Away

1957

AUG 13, CART 0 (19-4-4)

Home

1958

AUG 13, CART 6 (20-4-4)

Away

1959

AUG 20, CART 7 (21-4-4)

Home

1960

AUG 32, CART 18 (22-4-4)

Away

1961

CART 33, AUG 13 (22-5-4)

Home

1962

CART 35, AUG 27 (22-6-4)

Home

1963

AUG 34, CART 7 (23-6-4)

Away

1964

AUG 13, CART 6 (24-6-4)

Home

1965

CART 21, AUG 14 (24-7-4)

Away

1966

AUG 20, CART 0 (25-7-4)

Home

1967

CART 47, AUG 35 (25-8-4)

Away

1968

AUG 41, CART 36 (26-8-4)

Home

1969

CART 32, AUG 6 (26-9-4)

Away

1970

CART 35, AUG 0 (26-10-4)

Home

1971

CART 40, AUG 14 (26-11-4)

Away

1972

AUG 28, CART 26 (27-11-4)

Home

1973

CART 32, AUG 8 (27-12-4)

Away

1974

AUG 7, CART 7 tie (27-12-5)

Home

1975

AUG 42, CART 15 (28-12-5)

Away

1976

AUG 43, CART 35 (29-12-5)

Home

1977

AUG 24, CART 21 (30-12-5)

Away

1978

AUG 30, CART 21 (31-12-5)

Home

1979

AUG 19, CART 18 (32-12-5)

Away

1980

AUG 17, CART 14 (33-12-5)

Home

1981

AUG 35, CART 7 (34-12-5)

Away

1982

AUG 20, CART 0 (35-12-5)

Home

1983

AUG 28, CART 7 (36-12-5)

Away

1984

AUG 56, CART 7 (37-12-5)

Home

1985

AUG 38, CART 8 (38-12-5)

Away

1986

AUG 49, CART 0 (39-12-5)

Home

1987

AUG 40, CART 6 (40-12-5)

Away

1988

AUG 35, CART 0 (41-12-5)

Home

1989

AUG 48, CART 6 (42-12-5)

Away

1990

AUG 48, CART 0 (43-12-5)

Home

1991

AUG 31, CART 12 (44-12-5)

Away

1992

AUG 67, CART 6 (45-12-5)

Away

1993

AUG 48, CART 0 (46-12-5)

Home

1994

AUG 41, CART 6 (47-12-5)

Away

1995

AUG 24, CART 0 (48-12-5)

Home

1996

CART 28, AUG 18 (48-13-5)

Away

1997

AUG 28, CART 21 (49-13-5)

Home

1998

AUG 45, CART 6 (50-13-5)

Away

1999

AUG 31, CART 9 (51-13-5)

Home

2000

AUG 23, CART 14 (52-13-5)

Away

2001

AUG 41, CART 18 (53-13-5)

Home

2002

AUG 34, CART 28 (54-13-5)

Away

2003

AUG 56, CART 20 (55-13-5)

Home

2004

AUG 35, CART 0 (56-13-5)

Home

2005

AUG 7, CART 0 (57-13-5)

Away

2006

AUG 28, CART 14 (58-13-5)

Home

2007

CART 33, AUG 28 (58-14-5)

Away

2008

AUG 40, CART 16 (59-14-5)

Away