MINNEAPOLIS -- In one of the most improbable comebacks in recent
years in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football,
Augsburg College rallied from a 35-10, third-quarter deficit to
claim a 42-38 victory over visiting Hamline University on Saturday
afternoon at Edor Nelson Field.
The Auggies trailed 21-3 midway through the second quarter, 28-10 at halftime and 35-10 at the 11:35 mark of the third quarter, before rallying with five touchdowns in the last 25:31 of play to score the victory.
Augsburg (3-0 overall, 1-0 MIAC) returned "The Hammer," the traveling trophy in the series between the two teams, to its possession after losing the trophy to Hamline (0-2 overall, 0-1 MIAC) last season. Augsburg has won five of the six meetings in the series since "The Hammer" was introduced in 2005, and the Auggies have now won seven of the last eight and 13 of the last 15 meetings against the Pipers.
Augsburg outgained Hamline by a 347-244 margin in the second half, en route to a 517-446 advantage in total offense in the game. Quarterback Marcus Brumm (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville South HS) threw for 445 yards in the game on 35-of-65 passing with three touchdowns against one interception -- 304 yards on 24-of-38 passing in the second half.
Muneer Al-Hameed (SR, Woodbury, Minn./Minneapolis Washburn HS) caught 13 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, as one of five Auggies to catch passes for 46 yards or more in the game. Josh Pronschinske (SR, Fountain City, Wis./Cochrane-Fountain City HS) caught seven passes for 82 yards, Tyler Swanson (SO, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS) caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown, Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane (FY, Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy HS) caught six passes for 49 yards, and Chris Osborn (SO, Eagan, Minn.) caught three passes for 46 yards.
The Auggies began their comeback in the third quarter, with a six-play, 64-yard drive capped by a 30-yard scoring strike from Brumm to Swanson with 10:31 left in the period. After Dane Bates (SR, White Bear Lake, Minn.) forced a Hamline fumble that Adam Mead (SR, St. Francis, Minn.) recovered at the Augsburg 43, the Auggies marched 57 yards in 10 plays, capped by a two-yard rushing touchdown by David Tilton (JR, Anoka, Minn.).
The Pipers came back and scored on a 31-yard field goal by John Broback (SO, Apple Valley, Minn.) with 2:50 left in the third quarter to make the score 38-23, but the Auggies scored quickly again, as Brumm converted once on fourth down -- one of five fourth-down conversions the Auggies would have in the game -- and led the Auggies to another score, an eight-yard pass to Al-Hameed to make the score 38-30 with 55 seconds to go in the third quarter.
A Pipers' punt put the ball at the Augsburg 4-yard line with 12:17 to play, but the Auggies marched 96 yards in 11 plays -- converting again on a 4th-and-4 play with a completed pass from Brumm to Pronschinske to the Hamline 16. The drive was capped by an 11-yard scoring run by Phil Putratz (FY, Mazeppa, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa HS) with 10:06 left. Augsburg missed on a two-point conversion pass, making the score 38-36 in favor of the Pipers.
Augsburg's defense forced Hamline to turn the ball over on downs
at the Auggie 27-yard line with 5:42 left. With another fourth-down
conversion in the drive -- a 12-yard scramble by Brumm to the
Hamline 48 -- the Auggies went ahead on a two-yard rushing score by
Putratz, making the score 42-38 in Augsburg's favor.
Hamline had the ball twice in the final minutes, but each time, the Piper comeback attempts were thwarted by Augsburg interceptions -- an interception by John Hibbs (SR, Watertown, Minn./Watertown-Mayer HS) with 1:57 left and a pickoff by Cameron Krugerud (SO, Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata HS) on the final play of the game.
Hamline quarterback Adam Meyer (JR, Cold Spring, Minn./Rocori HS), one of two quarterbacks used by the Pipers in the game, threw for 375 yards on 27-of-46 passing with four touchdowns, leading the Pipers to their third-quarter lead.
Alex House (SR, Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park HS) caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns, and Tim Queck caught 11 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Sean Lewis (SR, St. Paul, Minn./Tartan HS) caught three passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, and Anthony Iten (SR, Fridley, Minn./Totino-Grace HS) caught seven passes for 70 yards. Alex Ferguson (SO, Kent, Wash./Kentridge HS) rushed for a touchdown in the second quarter for the Pipers.
The Pipers outscored the Auggies by a 28-7 margin in the second quarter to build their advantage, as Meyer threw a 25-yard scoring strike to House, a three-yard TD pass to Queck and a 12-yard pass to House with 1:02 left in the first half. Meyer's 28-yard scoring pass to Lewis with 11:35 left in the third quarter gave the Pipers their 35-10 lead.
Defensively, Augsburg linebacker Adam Sonntag led all players with 14 tackles (five solo), including a sack. Mead had 11 tackles (three solo) and split a sack with Josh Collins (SR, Rosemount, Minn.), and Bates and Nick Larson (SO, Lakeville, Minn./Apple Valley HS) had nine tackles apiece.
For Hamline, Marc McDonald (SO, Portland, Ore./Reynolds HS) and Josh Bain (SR, Grand Meadow, Minn.) had 10 tackles apiece, while John-Michael Vandenberg (SO, Bothell, Wash./Bishop Blanchet HS) had eight tackles, Justin Bain (SR, Grand Meadow, Minn.) had seven tackles and a sack, and Olajuwan Stiffler (FY, Troutdale, Ore./Reynolds HS) had seven tackles and an interception.
Both teams return to MIAC play next Saturday (9/25) at 1 p.m., as Augsburg hosts St. John's and Hamline hosts Carleton.