Comeback falls short as Concordia-Moorhead tops Augsburg 38-31

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Quarterback Ayrton Scott (FY, Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest HS) accounted for 510 yards of total offense and nearly led his Augsburg College football team back from a 38-7 third-quarter deficit, but the comeback fell short in a 38-31 loss to visiting Concordia College-Moorhead in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Edor Nelson Field.

Scott set a new Augsburg (5-2 overall, 4-2 MIAC) single-season rushing record with a 20-carry, 136-yard performance, while completing 25-of-36 passing for 374 yards and three touchdowns against three interceptions. The MIAC's rushing leader at 147.7 rushing yards per-game, Scott now has 1,034 rushing yards on 147 carries, breaking the old school record of 1,024 yards, set by Marcus LeVesseur in 2004. Scott joins LeVesseur and Marty Alger (1,011 yards in 1992) as the third Auggie to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.

Adding 1,567 passing yards (223.9 yards per-game), Scott now has 2,601 yards of total offense this season, a 371.6 yards-per-game average. Scott entered the game ranked seventh among NCAA Division III players nationally in total offense yardage per-game and eighth in rushing yardage per-game.

Griffin Neal (SO, Fargo, N.D./Fargo South HS) completed 14-of-23 passing for 297 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions for Concordia (6-1 overall, 4-1 MIAC). Mark Whiting (JR, Alexandria, Minn./Jefferson HS) caught four passes for 142 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns -- 45 and 56 yards -- from Neal.

Saturday's game was a meeting of the top two rushers in the MIAC, Scott and Concordia's Bret Baune (SR, Fargo, N.D./Fargo South HS). Baune rushed 17 times for 72 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Neal rushed 17 times for 43 yards and a touchdown.

Trailing 38-7 with 5:41 left in the third quarter, Augsburg nearly came back to tie the game, scoring 24 unanswered points to trim the advantage to 38-31 with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter. Augsburg had a chance to produce another miracle finish in the final minute, taking the ball at its own 1-yard line with 48 seconds remaining. But a Scott pass was intercepted by John Bye (SR, Moorhead, Minn.) with 29 seconds left at the Augsburg 46-yard line, and the Cobbers kneeled down to end the game.

Augsburg rallied back through the air, with two touchdown passes from Scott to Tyler Swanson (SR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS), and another touchdown pass to Wesley Waytashek (SR, Little Falls, Minn.). Waytashek also kicked a 39-yard field goal during the Auggie rally.

Swanson capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown reception with 4:35 left in the third quarter. On its next drive, Augsburg accumulated 85 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a five-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Waytashek and a two-point conversion run by Scott. A pass interception by Brandon Hunter (SO, Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins HS) gave the Auggies the ball at its own 28 yard line, and three plays later, Augsburg scored on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Swanson. Another interception, this time by Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane (JR, Bloomington, Minn./Kennedy HS), set the stage for Waytashek's 39-yard field goal with 3:06 left.

Concordia took advantage of six Augsburg turnovers -- three fumbles and three interceptions. The Cobbers scored three of their five touchdowns on drives following Augsburg turnovers.

On the Cobbers' opening drive of the game, Baune caught a 51-yard pass from Neal, then scored the opening touchdown on a two-yard plunge.

The Cobbers scored 21 unanswered points in the second quarter -- a 45-yard touchdown pass from Neal to Whiting, a 56-yard touchdown pass from Neal to Whiting, and a 21-yard touchdown run by Neal to give the Cobbers a 28-0 lead with 5:12 left in the second quarter.

Augsburg scored its first points of the game with 2:26 left in the first half, as Waylon Hartwick (SR, Minneapolis, Minn./South HS) scored on a one-yard rush. But the Cobbers took a 31-7 lead into the locker room, as Benjamin Wagner (JR, St. Aubin de Medoc, France) kicked a 29-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. The Cobbers extended their lead to 38-7 on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Neal to Chris Gilson (SR, Detroit Lakes, Minn.) with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

In addition to his 72 rushing yards, Baune caught two passes for 52 yards, while Gilson caught two passes for 43 yards.

For Augsburg, Jerise Washington (SO, Roseville, Minn./Mounds View HS) rushed 14 times for 53 yards, while catching three passes for 28 yards. Swanson caught six passes for 135 yards to lead the Auggies -- his second 100-plus-yard reception effort of his career, while Adam Carl (JR, Eagan, Minn.) caught seven passes for a career-high 126 yards -- his fifth 100-plus-yard career reception effort.

Defensively, Augsburg's Chris DeVet (SO, Shoreview, Minn./Mounds View HS) had a career-high 11 tackles (four solo), includig two tackles for-loss. Aaron Perry (SR, Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial HS) had 10 tackles (six solo), including two sacks, and Felix Coleman (SO, Alexandria, Minn./Jefferson HS) had 10 tackles (five solo). Bryce Vee (SR, Coon Rapids, Minn.) had nine tackles and Kaleb Williams (SR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS) had eight tackles (three solo).

For Concordia, Brent Rysdahl (SR, Marshall, Minn.) had 10 tackles (eight solo) and a forced fumble, while Matt Moenkedick (SR, Verndale, Minn.) had 10 tackles (six solo), including a tackle for-loss. Peter Hvidston (SR, Fargo, N.D./Oak Grove HS) had seven tackles (three solo), a fumble recovery and an interception. Bye had an interception and fumble recovery, and Kenyon O'Brien (SR, Lake Park, Minn./Lake Park-Audobon HS) also had an interception.

Both teams return to action next Saturday (10/27), with Augsburg playing at St. Thomas at 1:10 p.m. and Concordia hosting Carleton at 1 p.m.

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