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December 1, 2005

2009 Season - 2005 FOOTBALL REVIEW

2005 FOOTBALL REVIEW

 

Vikings surprise all but themselves with CCIW championship and

NCAA playoff appearance in 10-2 campaign; Tom Anthony named conference “Defensive Player of the Year” and Jim Barnes wins

“Coach of the Year” honors; Mike Zeifert selected to play in Aztec Bowl

 

There were certainly plenty of skeptics about the chances for the 2005 Augustana Vikings football team prior to the start of the season. After three straight seven win seasons that ended in losses in the final game, costing the Vikings shares of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title and berths in the NCAA Division III playoffs, this team took on the mindset of proving the “experts” wrong. From the early days of the August pre-season until the final horn sounded in Alliance, Ohio after a season-ending loss in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs to Mount Union, the members of Jim Barnes’ sixth Augustana team continued to do just that.

 

The result was the re-establishment of Augustana College as one of the legitimate powers in NCAA Division III football after a 10-2 season. Certainly there was nothing wrong with the Vikings prior to the season. After all, the 27 seniors on the team had been around for seasons of 7-2 (2002), 7-3 (2003) and 7-3 (2004). That translates to a three-year record of 21-8 and a winning percentage of .724. Included in the mix were two seconds and one third place finish in the CCIW. Very few teams would even hint at that kind of record as being less than desirable but Augustana has compiled one of the most enviable ledgers in football over a span that has reached nearly three decades.

 

Against that backdrop Barnes met his 2005 team back in the sweltering Midwestern heat of mid-August. Before the season even began the coaches in the CCIW picked the Vikings for fourth, the lowest preseason place for Augustana since 1979. Somebody forgot to tell the guys in the gold pants, or if they were told, they forgot to listen. No facet of the game was safe from the critics. The defense, they said, was too small, not physical enough, gave up too many big plays and didn’t create enough turnovers. The critics were sure than an offense that couldn’t pass effectively certainly couldn’t win the big games. Even the kicking game did not escape scrutiny after the loss of All-American Mike Clark.

 

Not only did the league coaches snub Augustana, but also for the first time since 1981 no national publication had the Vikings in the pre-season top 25.

 

So what happened?

 

Well, that undersized defense grew up in a hurry and ended up leading the CCIW in seven team categories, including the big four of scoring, total offense, passing and rushing. Twice it posted shutouts and seven times kept the opponents under 20 points. It also intercepted 28 passes and created 36 turnovers. The defense intercepted seven more passes than the Augustana offense completed.

 

The offense listened to all the talk about needing to expand the passing game and promptly went out and established a new NCAA Division III national record for fewest passes attempted in a single season. The old record was 4.00 per game set by Wisconsin-River Falls in 1988 but the Vikings shattered that by putting the ball up just 33 times in 12 games for an average of 2.75 per contest. They also came close to setting a new standard for fewest completions but a six for seven showing by quarterback Matt Roe (Carmel HS, Mundelein, Ill.) in the first round of the NCAA playoffs against Lakeland “ruined” the shot at two records. Instead, Augustana finished with an average of 1.41 completions per game, just shy of the record of 1.30 by Wisconsin-River Falls in 1983.

 

Oh yeah, the offense that needed to diversify itself ended up finishing second in the nation in rushing with an average of 346.3 yards per game. By Augustana standards, it was a balanced attack: the fullback Mike Guzman (Oregon HS, Oregon, Ill.) gained 1,089 yards on 189 attempts, the halfback Aaron Kuzniar (Burlington HS, Burlington, Wis.) added 932 on 175 while the quarterback Roe went for 692 on 135. The two headed wingback monster of Greg Cozzi (Hinsdale South HS, Hinsdale, Ill.) and  J.J. McDowell (Crystal Lake South HS, Crystal Lake, Ill.) combined for 925 yards on 173 attempts. When it came to scoring Roe led the way with 12 touchdowns, Guzman had 11, Kuzniar 10 and Cozzi/McDowell eight.

 

Josh Patterson (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) quieted all the fears in the kicking game by nailing seven of 13 field goals and averaging 39.1 yards per punt, good enough to rank in the top 35 in the nation. He also kicked the game winning field goal with no time left on the clock against North Central on a gray and drizzly afternoon on November 5 that clinched the league title and the NCAA playoff bid.

 

Instead of the doom and gloom some predicted, the Vikings swept through the CCIW undefeated with a perfect 7-0 record en route to winning the 20th conference championship in school history. That is the most of any of the teams in the league. Also, Augustana qualified for the NCAA Division III playoffs for the 15th time, more than the entire CCIW has competed in combined. In addition, the Vikings posted a winning record for the 27th consecutive year. One would have to go all the way back to 1978 to find the last time that the Blue & Gold suffered through a losing record.

 

It was never easy as Augustana opened the season with a 25-24 overtime loss at home to Central of Iowa, a team that would qualify for the NCAA Division III playoffs. After that loss the Vikings went to Washington D.C. and defeated Catholic University by a score of 52-26 and came home on September 24 to manhandle Wisconsin-Platteville 45-14. That game was played in front of members of the 1985 NCAA Division III national championship team who were in town celebrating the 20th anniversary of that accomplishment.

 

Following the win over Platteville, it was time to get into the conference season and North Park came into Ericson Field on October 1 with a perfect 3-0 record and the number one ranked defense in the nation. When the game was over Augustana had a 50-6 victory and 410 yards rushing. The visitors’ perfect record and number one ranking vanished under the onslaught. A week later the Vikings went on the road to defending CCIW co-champion Carthage. Under the lights in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the night belonged to Barnes’ defense as Augustana shut out the eighth ranked Redmen by a score of 7-0.

 

A 41-15 romp over Illinois Wesleyan on homecoming followed. It was the fifth straight win by the Vikings over the Titans and that was backed up by a 23-0 blanking of Millikin in Decatur, Illinois. In that game the defense held Big Blue running back Nathan Wallick, Millikin’s career rushing leader, to just 18 yards on 15 attempts.

 

On the heels of the win at Millikin, Augustana and Elmhurst hooked up in an offensive shoot-out on October 29 at Ericson Field. Besides the defensive staffs on each sideline, the most nervous person in the venerable stadium that day was probably the electrician in charge of making sure the scoreboard didn’t short circuit. When the smoke cleared, the Vikings had a 64-42 victory and the school record for most points scored in a single game by two teams was broken. The two clubs combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense (523 for Elmhurst and 462 for Augustana).

 

That set up a showdown for the CCIW title with North Central, ranked ninth in the nation, on November 5 at Ericson Field. After struggling against Elmhurst, the Viking defense responded and held a Cardinal team that had been averaging 40.9 points and 483.8 yards of total offense, to 17  points and 330 yards, in a 20-17 victory. Patterson provided the winning points when he kicked a 22 yard field goal with no time left on the clock. That victory clinched the CCIW title and the NCAA Division III playoff bid.

 

The regular season ended with a 28-7 win at Wheaton on November 12, which snapped a five game losing streak to the Thunder. Augustana had not defeated Wheaton since 1999 but thanks to a defense that created six turnovers, the Vikings were able to finish the league season undefeated.

 

In the first round of the playoffs, Augustana crushed Lakeland 49-22 to move into the second round against Mount Union, seven time NCAA Division III national champions. There the season ended with a 44-7 defeat but it did not diminish the remarkable achievement of this team.

 

By season’s end the Vikings had moved up the national polls about the same way its offense pushed the ball down the field, slowly and methodically. After starting outside the top 25, Augustana wound up the year rated 10th in the nation.

 

Led by senior cornerback Tom Anthony (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, Iowa), who was selected as the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin’s “Defensive Player of the Year”, Augustana dominated the all-conference team. The Vikings landed 11 players on the elite squad, six on first team and five on the second team. In addition to Anthony being chosen as the Don Larsen “Defensive Player of the Year”, Barnes was tabbed as the Bob Reade “Coach of the Year”.

 

Joining Anthony on the first team defense was senior linebacker Tom Schaults (Marist HS, Chicago, Ill.) and junior defensive end Aaron Call (Wilton HS, Wilton, Iowa). The first team offensive selections from Augustana were junior fullback Mike Guzman (Oregon HS, Oregon, Ill.), senior offensive tackle Mike Zeifert (Carmel HS, Mundelein, Ill.) and senior tight end Tom McIntire (Galva HS, Galva, Ill.), who was actually named to the team as an offensive lineman.

 

Leading the second team selections was senior quarterback Matt Roe (Carmel HS, Wadsworth, Ill.), also a second team pick a year ago. Senior runningback Aaron Kuzniar (Burlington HS, Burlington, Wis.) joined Roe on the second team offensive unit. Representing Augustana on the second team defense were senior safety Travis Shea (Sacred Heart Griffin HS, Springfield, Ill.), junior linebacker Joe Youngbauer (North Scott HS, Eldridge, Iowa) and senior defensive tackle Jeremy Hall (Antioch HS, Lindenhurst, Ill.).

 

Anthony is the 10th Augustana player to win “Defensive Player of the Year” honors in the CCIW and he is the second in the last three years, joining former teammate Mike Hansen, who won the award in 2003 from his defensive end spot. Throw in the 12 “Offensive Player of the Year” winners and you have 22 Vikings who have been named CCIW “Player of the Year” in some capacity since 1970.

 

Anthony had 13 interceptions and was second in the nation with an average of 1.10 per game and Shea finished in the top 40 with seven. Zeifert was selected to play for the American Football Coaches Association’s Division III all-star team that represents the United States against the Mexican National Team in the 2005 Aztec Bowl. He is the eighth straight Augustana player selected.

 

Barnes just finished his sixth season at Augustana and he has a record of 48-15 with the Vikings. He has had a pair of 10-win campaigns, going 10-2 in 2001 and 10-2 again in 2005. Both of those seasons resulted in CCIW titles and NCAA Division III playoff berths.

 

2005 COLLEGE CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS & WISCONSIN FOOTBALL STANDINGS

 

CCIW

 

PTS

PTS

 

ALL

 

PTS

PTS

 

TEAM

W

L

FOR

AGAINST

.PCT

W

L

FOR

AGAINST

.PCT

AUGUSTANA

7

0

233

87

1.000

10

2

410

218

.833

North Central

6

1

260

126

.857

9

2

412

199

.818

Wheaton

4

3

194

142

.857

7

3

323

172

.700

Carthage

4

3

163

117

.571

7

3

249

143

.700

Elmhurst

3

4

183

219

.429

6

4

311

256

.600

Millikin

2

5

151

231

.286

5

5

237

282

.500

Illinois Wesleyan

2

5

122

189

.286

3

7

156

268

.300

North Park

0

7

59

254

.000

3

7

135

287

.300

 

2005 AUGUSTANA FOOTBALL SUPERLATIVES

CCIW TEAM CHAMPIONS: 20th time in school history

NCAA DIVISION III PLAYOFFS: 15th time in school history

NCAA DIVISION III FINAL RANKING: 13th by D3football.com

AFCA ALL-AMERICA TEAM: Mike Zeifert, OT

D3FOOTBALL ALL-AMERICA TEAM: Tom Anthony, CB (1st team)…Mike Zeifert, OT (2nd team)…Travis Shea, FS (honorable mention)

FOOTBALL GAZETTE ALL-AMERICA TEAM: Tom Anthony, CB (1st team)…Mike Zeifert, OT (2nd team)

AZTEC BOWL PARTICIPANT: Mike Zeifert, OT

FOOTBALL GAZETTE NATIONAL “DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE YEAR”: Tom Anthony

CCIW “DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR”: Tom Anthony, CB

CCIW ALL-CONFERENCE: (first team) Tom Anthony, CB…Tom Schaults, LB…Aaron Call, DE…Mike Guzman, FB…Mike Zeifert, OT…Tom McIntire, TE. (second team) Travis Shea, FS…Joe Youngbauer, LB…Jeremy Hall, DT…Matt Roe, QB…Aaron Kuzniar, RB.

CCIW “COACH OF THE YEAR”: Jim Barnes

CCIW “PLAYER OF THE WEEK” - OFFENSE: Mike Guzman, 09/03 vs. Central of Iowa…Matt Roe, 11/05 vs. North Central

CCIW “PLAYER OF THE WEEK” – DEFENSE: Tom Anthony, 10/08 vs. Carthage…Tom Schaults, 10/15 vs. Illinois Wesleyan…Tom Anthony, 11/12 vs. Wheaton

CCIW “PLAYER OF THE WEEK” – SPECIAL TEAMS: Josh Patterson, 11/05 vs. North Central

ESPN – THE MAGAZINE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT: Tom McIntire, TE (1st team)…Aaron Kuzniar, RB (2nd team)…Andrew Quain, OT (2nd team)

FOOTBALL GAZETTE NORTH REGION “LINEMAN OF THE YEAR” – Mike Zeifert

FOOTBALL GAZETTE NORTH REGION “DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE YEAR” – Tom Anthony

NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL RECORD – FEWEST PASSES IN SINGLE SEASON: 2.75 per game (33 in 12 games); breaks old record of 4.00 set by Wisconsin-River Falls in 1988.

NCAA DIVISION III STATISTICS – TOP 20 TEAM RANKINGS: 2nd – rushing offense with 346.3 yards per game…8th – net punting with 35.21 net yards per punt…15th – pass efficiency defense at 92.5…17th – turnover margin at 1.30 turnovers per game

NCAA DIVISION III STATISTICS – TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS: 2nd – interceptions (Tom Anthony) at 1.10 per game…7th – passes defended (Tom Anthony) at 1.80 per game

D3FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE WEEK: Tom Anthony vs. Wheaton on 11/12

 

AUGUSTANA TEAM AWARDS

MOST VALUABLE OFFENSIVE PLAYER – Matt Roe

MOST VALUABLE DEFENSIVE PLAYER – Tom Anthony

MOST VALUABLE SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER – Josh Patterson

JERRY FRECK AWARD – Chris Studer

FRESHMAN DEFENSIVE MVP – Brad Monier

FRESHMAN OFFENSIVE MVP – Jim Clinton

DEFENSIVE SCOUT TEAM MVP – Bill Smigiel

OFFENSIVE SCOUT TEAM MVP – Andrew Forshee