by CHRIS EDWARDS
From The Winonan, WSU’s student newspaper
The Winona State University football team improved to 7-3 after defeating Augustana University 34-20.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, where most of the scoring took place in the second half.
The Warriors won the toss and decided to receive. That proved to be a good decision as senior receiver Elliot Cox returned the opening kickoff to the house for a touchdown to start the game 7-0.
Winona State’s defense would hold forcing a punt. After an 11-yard catch by junior receiver Connor Schulz for a first down, the offense would not convert on third down forcing a punt. On the offensive next drive, sophomore quarterback Owen Burke completed a pass to junior Alonzo Alexander, who fumbled the ball, with Augustana recovering.
Augustana took over deep in Winona State’s territory, and on the next play the Vikings completed a 21-yard pass to give them a first-and-goal again. The Warriors capitalized, keeping them out of the end zone and forcing a field goal, making the score 7-3.
Later on in the second quarter, the Vikings drove into the red zone again; however, sophomore defensive back Isaiah Hall brought their drive to a halt with an interception.
The Vikings missed a kick toward the end of the first half leaving the score at 7-3 heading to halftime.
Augustana started the half on offense. The Warrior defense snagged another turnover as Hall got his second interception and returned it in to Augustana territory. Winona State capitalized with field goal, pushing the lead to 10-3.
On the following drive, the Vikings went down the field again, but were held to another field goal cutting the lead to 10-6.
The Warriors could not respond, and punted the ball back to the Vikings where they kept the momentum, getting a touchdown on the drive on a 11-yard pass. They took the 13-10 lead.
Trailing for the first time all day, Winona State’s offense looked to get something going in the start of the fourth quarter. After two straight catches for first downs by Schulz, the Warriors were able to convert on third down, but were held to a field goal, tying the game at 13.
On defense the Warriors continued to dominate, allowing no yards and then blocking the punt, giving the Warriors a first-and-goal at the two. Burke found senior receiver Isaiah Frandsen for a touchdown to take the 20-13 lead.
This was followed by another a big play by the Warrior defense when Alexander got a pick-six to extend the lead.
The Vikings got another touchdown, but the Warriors closed the game after a 33-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Eric Birth to make the final score 34-20.
Winona State struggled on offense, getting outgained by over 200 yards on offense, but the defense and special teams picked up the slack by coming up with big plays that led to points to give them the victory.
Next week, the Warriors return home for Senior Day when they take on Concordia University. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 10.