ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - As the heat index neared the century mark at kick-off, the Spartan offense opened the 2011 season scoring 18 first half points while holding the host Augustana College scoreless. A halftime speech from first year Vikings coach must have inspired Augustana which rallied for two second half touchdowns. It was the Spartan defense which stepped up late in the game to help the Spartans capture their first victory of the season by a score of 18-13.
UD's opening drive from the kick-off was short lived and ended in a punt. The Spartans offense warmed up as quickly as the temperature in the Midwest and drove their next two possessions into the end zone after starting on the 20 yard line. The Spartan offense moved the ball 80 yards in eight plays and used 3:44 on the clock when Justin Spaulding (Sr., Milton, Wis) broke the Auggie defense from 13 yards out for the first score of the evening.
The Spartans aired it out for the second touchdown on a four yard pass from Wyatt Hanus (Jr., Traer, Iowa) to Miles Hookstead (Jr., Whitewater, Wis.). It was a 10 play 80 yard drive which used 4:18 off the clock to push the Spartan lead to 12-0 after both extra points attempts failed. UD's fourth possession appeared as though the offense was once again going to march it down the field, until the possession was lost on a fumble. The defense's Trevor Kinnett (So., Edgerton, Wis.) intercepted the Vikings to give the offense the ball with 3:34 left in the first half. Hanus once again aired it out and found fullback Kevin McCudden (Fr., Waukesha, Wis.) from four yards to extend the lead to 18-0 after once again failing on an extra point attempt.
Augustana would rally back in the second half and used up 10:00 minutes in their first scoring drive for the Vikings, an 18 play 79 yard drive. The Vikings converted on three fourth down opportunities to cut into the Spartans lead in the third quarter. Augustana scored the second and final touchdown with 14:33 left of the fourth quarter. Momentum was beginning to slide in the favor of the Vikings until the Spartan defense stepped up and shut down the Vikings with a punt with 9:12 left and back-to-back turnovers. Augustana fumbled with 5:45 in the game and in their following possession once again fumbled from the Spartan pressure with 1:32 left. A Spartan punt by Steve Jones (So., Carol Stream, Ill.) for 40 yards was stopped inside the one yard line of the Vikings. They would turn the ball over on downs and UD ran the final 40 seconds off the clock to capture a hard fought road victory 18-13.
Spaulding was named the Mediacom Channel 22 Player of the Game for his efforts rushing. He ran the ball 24 times and gained 147 yards for an average of 6.1 yards a carry. Hanus completing 20-26 pass attempts with Michael Zweifel (Sr., Whitewater, Wis.) catching nine passes for 99 yards. He moved into second place all-time of NCAA receptions and will be looking to become the all-time leader by seasons end. Demacus Fleming (Sr., Deerfield Beach, Fla.) caught six passes for 45 yards with his longest being from 13 yards and returned two kickoffs for 37 yards. Steve Jones booted four kickoffs for 256 yards (64.0 average).
The Spartans balanced offense rushed for 205 yards and passed for 168 yards for 373 total yards. UD was called for three of the five penalties in the game for 23 yards. Trevor Runkle (Jr., Dodgeville, Wis.) led the defense with 10 tackles. Austin Hughes (So., Preston, Iowa) ended with eight tackles and teammate Anthony Losasso (Jr., Bettendorf, Iowa) had seven tackles with each of the having a pass break-up.
UD will host the Anderson University Ravens on Sept. 10 with a 6:05 p.m. start time. A special halftime salute will be something not to be missed along with a spectacular fireworks show following the conclusion of the contest. Fans who missed the opening game Vs. Augustana can watch the replay on Mediacom Channel 22 across Iowa, metro Minneapolis, Northern Missouri, Southern Missouri, parts of Illinois and Indiana on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7:00 p.m. Games will also be made available as a "On Demand" for those subscribers with digital Mediacom Cable. This week's football game Vs. Augustana College and our five home football games will also be delayed broadcasted on Mediacom Channel 22.