On a cool, crisp afternoon in Rock Island, Ill., the Carthage College football team (3-5, 1-4 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) lost its fourth-straight game, falling to CCIW-opponent Augustana College (Ill., 4-4, 3-2 CCIW) by a 38-13 margin at Ericson Field in Rock Island, Ill. For the Vikings, the win was their third in a row after getting off to a 1-4 start to the season. For the Red Men, the loss spoiled the debut of interim head coach Mike Yeager. Yeager took over for head coach Tim Rucks this past week after Rucks was placed on medical leave on Oct. 22.
Augustana took a 7-0 lead at 5:59 first period on an 11-play, 66-yard scoring drive that ended with an eight-yard carry by Brett McWilliams. The Vikings went up, 14-0, as the first period ended with a seven-play, 61-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Nick Welch to Paris Edwards with 53 seconds remaining. Augustana's Bo Goshorn intercepted a wobbly A.J. Simoncelli pass and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown at 14:49 second period, and the Vikings led, 21-0.
A 36-yard rush by Kyle Snow set up a 35-yard field goal by Augustana's Brady Rogers at 10:16 second quarter, bumping the Vikings' lead to 24-0. Augustana made it 31-0 at 5:09 on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Welch to Torre Harrell that capped a six-play, 59-yard drive. The Red Men got on the scoreboard late in the half after putting together their first solid drive of the game, this one going 80 yards on 10 plays and winding up with a six-yard TD pass from Simoncelli to T.J. Trepanier at 1:14. The halftime score was 31-7.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Carthage's Brett Bukari had a 41-yard field goal attempt blocked early in the fourth period. Augustana's Joe Spindler recovered at his own 36-yard line and returned the ball 54 yards to the Carthage 10-yard line. Two plays later, Welch completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jawan Straughter, giving the Vikings a 38-7 margin. Carthage cut the lead to 38-13 with five minutes left in the game on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard TD pass from Simoncelli to Nick Gremley.
Augustana collected 268 total offensive yards, 186 yards rushing and 82 yards passing, while Carthage had just 101 total yards, 31 on the ground and 70 in the air. Vikings running back Eric Chandler rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries, while Kyle Snow ran for 55 yards on three carries. Carthage quarterback A.J. Simoncelli (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill/South) made run a Evan Jones' school record for passing attempts. completing 35-of-65 for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Jones set the Carthage record with 84 completions against North Central College in 2008. Devon Wells (Jr., Farmersville, Calif.) caught seven passes for 63 yards, Nick Gremley (Sr., Niles, Ill./West) seven for 47 yards and T.J. Trepanier (Sr., Winthrop Harbor, Ill./Zion-Benton Township) six for 89 yards. Outside linebacker Brandon Mecozzi (Sr., Kenosha, Wis./Bradford) led the defensive effort with 12 tackles (9 solo, 3 assisted), including two tackles-for-loss, and also forced one fumble.
"Unfortunately, we laid an egg in all three phases of the game in the first 20 minutes," said Carthage interim coach Mike Yeager. "Augustana took advantage of that and got too big a lead on us. We had our opportunities and didn't take advantage of those chances. We didn't do a good job of holding onto the ball offensively or getting to the ball defensively. That's what got us into the hole. A.J. Simoncelli delivered the ball well and ran the ball when he had opportunities. He's improving every week, and that's what we're looking for. Augustana did some things that we weren't prepared for, and they got on the board. We made some adjustments, and I thought we played OK in the second half. Our issue today was not the finish of the game but the start. You have to play for 60 minutes—the first 20 minutes just killed us."
Carthage closes out its home-schedule on Saturday, Nov. 3 by playing host to CCIW-opponent and No. 29 Elmhurst College (7-1, 4-1 CCIW) in a 1 p.m. game at Art Keller Field in Kenosha, Wis.