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July 28, 2013

Frasco's three touchdowns key win over France

Sophomore quarterback Sam Frasco scored three touchdowns to help lead Augustana to a 20-13 victory over the French National Team on Saturday, July 27, in Lille, France.

LILLE, France - Sophomore quarterback Sam Frasco (Prospect HS, Mount Prospect, Ill.) scored three touchdowns to help lead Augustana to a 20-13 victory over France on Saturday, July 27 at Stadium Lille Metropole in Villeneuve d'Ascq. Frasco tallied on runs of 59, five and 10 yards as the Vikings never trailed.

A year ago Frasco saw some action as he learned the ropes in college football behind senior starter Nick Welch (Oswego HS, Oswego, Ill.). On Saturday night, in front of 7,000 fans against the French national team, he put that year's worth of knowledge to good use.  

It didn't take long for third year head coach Rob Cushman's team to get on the scoreboard as Frasco, running the Vikings' spread-option attack, went 59 yards on a keeper on just the third play of the game. The extra point failed and Augustana had to settle for a 6-0 lead.  

View gallery of game photos courtesy of Thomas Savoja.

The defense recorded a sack on France's first offensive position and the two teams traded punts before the Vikings were back in business thanks to a forced turnover. Senior linebacker Dylan Smith (Aurora Central Catholic HS, Yorkville, Ill.) came up with an interception at Augustana's 39 yard line. This set up a 61 yard drive capped by Frasco's five yard run. This time sophomore Jeremy Lensing (Peotone HS, Manhattan, Ill.) split the uprights with the extra point to make it 13-0.  

The two teams traded interceptions in the second quarter with senior Justin Gruca (Wilmington HS, Wilmington, Ill.) getting the pick for the Vikings. At intermission Augustana led 13-0.  

Early in the third quarter Augustana failed to capitalize on a promising drive into the red-zone that was highlighted by a 55 yard pass from Frasco to junior wide receiver Kyle Frake (Clifton Central HS, Clifton, Ill.)

The French stiffened, however, and the score stayed 13-0.   France trimmed the margin to 13-7 when Stephan Yepmo hauled in a touchdown pass to cap a 70-yard drive that was accented by some short passes and power running.   As the fourth quarter began Frasco tallied his third touchdown of the day, this time on a 10-yard run and Lensing drilled the extra point to make it 20-7. The French pulled to within 20-13 on a touchdown pass to Marcais Brice with five minutes remaining but the Vikings were able to hold on for the victory.  

The game provided a great tune-up for Cushman and his Augustana team heading into the 2013 campaign. The Vikings were 5-5 in 2012, winning four of their last five games after a 1-4 start. The French national team was made up of the best adult players in France who play in the country's strong and developing amateur league. It was part of a week-long cultural visit to France organized by Global Football. The French, coached by Larry Legault, are in preparation for the 2014 European Championships after finishing sixth in the 2011 IFAF World Championship of American Football in Vienna, Austria.  

This marked the fifth international trip for the Augustana football program and the Vikings are now 4-1 with wins over Sweden (1999), Italy (2004), Austria (2007) and now France. The lone blemish was a 2010 loss to Austria in a game played in a driving rainstorm.  

Augustana will open the 2013 season with a 6:00 p.m. battle against Mt. St. Joseph in the inaugural game at Lindberg Stadium, which is currently under construction.