Wheaton, Ill. – The Wheaton football team overcame a lightning delay and a late Augustana (2-2/0-1 CCIW) surge to defeat the Vikings 24-15 on Saturday at McCully Stadium as part of Wheaton's Homecoming activities. A thunderstorm moved through the Wheaton area with 8:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and the game was delayed for one hour and 23 minutes.
Wheaton, ranked 15th in this week's D3football.com Top-25 poll, is now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in CCIW play. Wheaton will travel to Carthage College next Saturday for a 1 PM kickoff against the Red Men.
Wheaton had 392 yards of total offense in the game, passing for 153 yards, with 239 rushing yards. Augustana had 282 yards of offense, with 165 passing yards and 117 rushing yards. The bulk of the Vikings' offense came in the fourth quarter when Augustana passed for 131 yards and ran for 58 with 189 yards of total offense in the final quarter, as the Vikings scored all of their 15 points in the final 1:49 of the game.
Wheaton kicked off to open the game and an Augustana fumble gave the hosts the football at the Vikings' 28-yard line. Four plays after the fumble recovery, Wheaton's Charlie Velling reached the end zone on a three-yard scamper into the end zone that gave Wheaton a 7-0 lead with 13:00 remaining in the first quarter. Thunder kicker Sam Cote converted a 39-yard field goal to increase Wheaton's lead to 10-0 with 5:21 remaining in the first quarter. Wheaton held its 10-0 lead at halftime.
Wheaton opened the second half with a lengthy 10-play drive of 75 yards. The drive ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Roberts to Hunter Thorson that increased the hosts' lead to 17-0 with 10:22 left in the third quarter. Junior Keegan Kemp broke open for a 48-yard run to the Vikings' two-yard line with 3:07 left in the third quarter. Kemp scored on a two-yard run on the very next play to increase the lead for the 'Orange and Blue' to 24-0 with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
Thunderstorms moved through the area and with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter when play was suspended at 3:25 PM. The delay lasted one hour and 23 minutes and when play resumed the Vikings missed a 32-yard field goal attempt. A Wheaton interception with 5:13 left in regulation setup a nine-play drive of 57 yards for the Vikings that culminated with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Sam Frasco to Brandon Price that cut the Wheaton lead to 24-7 with 1:49 left in regulation. The Vikings recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff to setup a 38-yard touchdown pass to Price that trimmed the Wheaton advantage to 24-15 with 16-seconds left. Augustana again recovered the onside kick that followed, but an incompletion and a completion as time expired ended the game and gave Wheaton a seven-game win streak against the Vikings, which is the longest streak for the 'Orange and Blue' against Augustana since an eight game streak from 1948-1959.
Senior linebacker Brett Anderson made 10 total tackles, including seven solo stops to lead the Wheaton defense. Fellow linebacker Jordan Higgins made six tackles, with a forced fumble to his credit. Jackson Edwards, Alex Mendez and Mitch Warren each made five total tackles. Edwards added a tackle for lost yardage (-3 yards) and a pass break-up. Senior defensive lineman Sam Weatherred made 2-1/2 tackles for lost yardage (-4 yards), including a quarterback sack (-2 yards).