David Lee's late scoring pass lifts Augustana past Millikin in CCIW opener

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Keith Abbey (Rich East HS, Park Forest, Ill.) hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from David Lee (Springfield HS, Springfield, Ill.) with 1:00 showing on the clock Saturday, giving Augustana a 28-24 win at Millikin.  The game was the 2010 CCIW opener for both teams and with the win the Vikings improve to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference. Millikin suffers its first loss of the season after three straight non-conference wins.

The Vikings began the game-winning drive at their own 22-yard, trailing 24-21 with 3:36 left in the game. Lee found Kyle Hundman (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington, Ill.) for five yards and Jason Wagner (Burlington Central HS, Elgin, Ill.) for 22 to move the ball near midfield. After connecting with Hundman again to get into Millikin territory, Lee ran for a key first down on third-and-one from the Big Blue 42. Three plays later, he converted another third down, hitting Hundman on third and six to reach the Big Blue 24. After an incompletion on first down, he connected with freshman Nick Krantz (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) for 18 yards to the Millikin six and found Abbey on the next play to give the Vikings the lead.

Augustana's defense then forced three Luke Hockaday incompletions and sacked him once as well on the Big Blue's last drive. The win is the Vikings' 10th straight over Millikin and Augustana now holds a 40-30-1 edge all time.

The teams traded punts twice in the first quarter before the Vikings went on a seven-play, 56-yard drive which ended when Lee coughed up the football at the Millikin 24 early in the second quarter. On the following possession, Millikin's Dion Wilson, who came into the game averaging over 200 yards a game rushing, broke off a 69-yard run to the Augustana 11. From there the Viking defense stiffened at the Big Blue settled for a 3-0 lead on Chris Hunt's 24-yard field goal.

A 36-yard kickoff return by freshman Alex Hembrey (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) set Augustana up with great field position at Millikin's 48 and seven plays and 6:45 later, Lee hooked up with Jack Gilleland (Marian Central Catholic HS, Bull Valley, Ill.) for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings the lead. Arnie Fitzwater's point after made it 7-3.

Millikin took a 10-7 lead into the locker room after Wilson's 4-yard touchdown run capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive.

After Millikin had a pair of three-and-outs and Augustana one to start the third quarter, the Vikings went on a 6-play, 80-yard march to retake the lead. Senior running back Robert Wood (Rockford Boylan HS, Loves Park, Ill.), who has struggled with injuries this season, capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. He had a 14-yard burst and Lee added a 15-yard scamper earlier in the drive.

The see-saw action continued as Wilson scored from three yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter  to give the Big Blue a 17-14 lead. That score was set up when Keith Burczak intercepted a Lee pass at the Augustana 35-yard line.

As they did all game, the Vikings answered, going 66 yards in eight plays with Wood again finishing it off—this time from five yards out. Fitzwater's conversion made it 21-17, Augustana.

Another Viking miscue set up the next go-ahead score for Millikin as the Big Blue took over at the Augustana 11 with 9:08 left following a blocked punt. The Viking defense stuffed Wilson for a pair of short gains, but Hockaday found Kody Smith for an 8-yard touchdown pass and Millikin led 24-21.

On the next possession, Millikin recovered a Viking fumble at the Augustana 39-yard line. However, the Viking defense again came to the rescue, holding Wilson to just four yards on three carries, forcing a Big Blue punt and setting the stage for Augustana's game-winning drive.

Lee completed 19 of 30 passes on the day, including six of eight on the last drive. He finished with 213 passing yards and added 91 rushing on 13 carries. Wood ran for 93 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Lee spread the wealth among his receivers with Corbett Ball (Buffalo Grove HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) grabbing five passes for 66 yards, Hundman five for 43, Abbey 4 for 29 and Gilleland three for 35.

With the exception of his 69-yard first quarter run, Wilson managed just 95 yards on 34 carries and the Augustana defense, led by John Mago (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) and Brandon Holl (Batavia HS, North Aurora, Ill.) also held Hockaday to just five completions in 19 attempts for 46 yards. Mago and Holl were each in on nine tackles in the game.

Next Saturday will be homecoming at Augustana, with the Vikings squaring off with North Central at 1:00 p.m. at Ericson Field.

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