The Winona State University (WSU) football team had a tall task taking on 19th-ranked Augustana University (AU) on the road in their second trip to Sioux Falls, S.D., in as many weeks. The Warriors (5-4, 3-2 NSIC South) and Vikings (8-1, 4-1 NSIC South) met in the 49th Shrine Game, but after a first half comeback, Augustana was able to pull away in the second half to defeat Winona State, 38-20. 

Penalties played a major part in the contest, with WSU flagged 12 times for 125 yards on the day, compared to the Vikings 68 yards on seven penalties. Augustana, the top-ranked squad in the NCAA Division II Super Region rankings released earlier this week, took full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them to extend key drives throughout the game. 

The Viking defensive line made things tough on the WSU passing game, with four quarterback sacks in the contest. When the Warriors did have time, Owen Burke was able to get some downfield looks and had five completions for 20 yards or more, including a pair of 33-yard throws to Ethan Wittenburg and Tyler Knutson.

After conceding a pair of touchdowns and a 45-yard field goal in the opening 20 minutes of the game, Winona State's J. Michael Young latched onto a Burke delivery underneath and went 30 yards untouched into the end zone for the first WSU score. Jacob Scott delivered on the point after, cutting the AU lead to 17-7.

Following the score, the Winona State defense came up with a big three-and-out stop, earning the ball back for WSU with under five minutes to go in the half. After a gutsy Jake Balliu 12-yard punt return, Burke and company marched 47 yards down the field with time winding down in the half. Javian Roebuck had his number called three times in the drive, the final run resulting in a three-yard touchdown dive.

For Roebuck, the touchdown was his team-leading sixth of the year.  

With under 90 seconds left before the break, Mitch Snitker came up with the first of two Warrior interceptions as time wound down. Aarion Lacy also ended a Vikings drive with a pick of his own as time ran out. 

Also in the first half, two Warriors — Colin Klatt and Darius Manuel — both notched quarterback sacks on the day, marking just the second and third time this season an Augustana signal caller was downed behind the line of scrimmage.  

As the two teams headed into the locker rooms, the Warriors had some momentum, having scored the final 14 points of the half, down just 17-14.

Unfortunately for Winona State, the Vikings started the second half the same way they opened the game, scoring back-to-back touchdowns on consecutive possessions, moving the scoreboard to 31-14 Augustana.  

As the second half wore on, WSU suffered a series of sacks that stymied offensive drives and facing a stiff wind, were unable to use the punt game to their advantage. Augustana's Kyle Saddler was 23-of-35 for 271 yards and four touchdowns. 

With his 22 completion day, Burke moved over the 500-career completion mark, currently sitting at 521 all-time. Overall, Burke was 22-for-39 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Noah Carlson had 38 yards on 10 carries, while teammate Javian Roebuck had 31 yards and touchdown on eight attempts.

On defense, Mitch Snitker had nine tackles and an interception to lead Winona State. Clay Scheuffner chipped in with six stops, all solo tackles. Carter Duxbury had a sack and a forced fumble, while Lacy's interception included a 39-yard return.  

Jake Balliu had a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to account for the WSU second half scoring. 

In terms of special teams play, returner Darryl Williams took advantage of the Vikings reluctance to kick to Balliu on kickoffs, with Williams earning 53 return yards on four returns. Balliu did his damage on punt return duty, with 19 yards on three attempts. Placekicker Jacob Scott was two-for-two on points after and had a pair of touchbacks on kickoffs. 

The turnover battle went the way of the Warriors, as the WSU defense claimed two interceptions. Neither team lost a fumble. 

Winona State will return home to Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium to host Upper Iowa University on Saturday, Nov. 6. Kickoff on Maxwell field is set for 1 p.m.   

The Warrior-Peacock contest will be Military Appreciation Day. All fans with a valid Military ID shall be admitted at no cost.  

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