50th Annual Sanctuary Game Pits No. 21 Vikings Against Mavericks
SIOUX FALLS, SD — The No. 21 Augustana football team remains at Kirkeby-Over Stadium on Saturday with a 1 p.m. game against Minnesota State. The 100e Augustana’s football season, presented by CorTrust Bank, coincides with the 50e annual sanctuary game.
Tickets for the contest are available at GoAugie.com/Tickets. Full action can be followed at GoAugie.com/Live and the GoAugie app. The app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Augustana and Minnesota State face off in what has been one of the fiercest rivalries for the two programs over the years. The two teams first met in 1931 and competed steadily throughout the 1930s, but did not meet from 1939 to 1968. In this rivalry contest renewed in 1968, the UA the won 28-14 at Howard Wood Field. Overall, Augustana is 15-10 in Sioux Falls against Minnesota State, but 24-27 all-time.
Minnesota State is 5-2 this season with a one-point loss to Northern State (Sept. 17) and an eight-point loss to Wayne State (Oct. 8). Last week, the Mavericks overtook Upper Iowa, 43-20. In the contest, MSU reeled off 455 total rushing yards, 285 rushing and 170 through the air. The Mavericks also took full control of the game, holding the ball for 36:46 of playing time.
In a season that saw MSU ranked No. 24 in week three of the AFCA poll, the Mavericks started with a pair of wins over a then-ranked Bemidji State team and Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota State is scoring 29.7 points per game while giving up 24.4 defensively. Offensively, MSU ranks fifth in the NSIC with 204.6 yards per game while the rushing offense is seventh in the league with 163 yards per out.
As they always have, Minnesota State continues to field a pair of quarterbacks in Camden Dean and Hayden Ekern. Dean completes 58.4% of his passes and has six touchdowns while Ekern completes 53.4% of his passes and has four touchdowns. The leading receiver is Nyles Williams with 316 yards and three touchdown receptions. Jalen Sample also has three touchdowns with his 303 receiving yards. The top rusher is Shen Butler-Lawson and his 53.8 yards per game.
Defensively, Payton Conrad leads with 40 total tackles while ranking fifth in the nation with nearly one forced fumble every two games. The punt return game proved to be a strong point as Trey Vaval leads the nation with 21.8 yards per return.
Augustana is 6-1 after a Viking Days win over Wayne State last week, 31-27. It was a victory from behind because Casey Baumann connected with Logan Uttecht with nine seconds remaining for the winning score. Bauman had the best game of his AU career with 221 passing yards with three touchdowns and 57 rushing yards.
Augustana, currently ranked No. 21 in the AFCA Top-25 and No. 14 in the D2 Football Top-25, is 6-1 on the year and sits second in the NSIC rankings. Appearing completely back from injury, Bauman threw for 597 yards and nine touchdowns while completing a hair under 56% of his pass attempts. Its first objective is Jack Fisher and his 21 receptions for 344 yards and five touchdowns. In terms of total catches, Devon Jones has 27 receptions for 260 yards in 2022.
Even since Jarod Epperson went down with an injury, he was carried ball by the committee as David Addo leads the way with 394 yards rushing, averaging 56.29 yards per game. He entered the end zone three times.
The defense is led by TJ Liggett’s 50 tackles during Grayson Diepenbrock has 11 tackles for loss including eight sacks.
Drew Jürgensthe biggest punter in the nation, has the NSIC’s best nine punts from 50+ yards averaging 39.4 yards per punt.
Who to watch
Logan Uttecht had a breakthrough game in 2022 against Wayne State with his 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He finished 2021 with nine touchdowns and 709 receiving yards, but didn’t find the end zone until Week 7 this year. Those nine receiving touchdowns were top 10 in the NSIC a year ago while also being the best returner for Augustana. In 2022, he now has 22 receptions for 291 yards, including a long one of 45 yards.
Year 100 Information
It will be 50 years of Shrine Game football on Saturday as Augustana hosts Minnesota State. For those who like easy numbers, that means half of Augustana’s football existence has been celebrated at the Shrine Game. The first Shrine Game was held in the 1972 season and has been held every year since (except 2020). Net proceeds from Shriner’s contest activities benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.
One last thing
Augustana has been consistent in 2022 with winning scores. In three of the six wins, AU have recorded 31 points, including the last two games. The Vikings also scored 31 points in the 31-7 victory at MSU Moorhead on Sept. 17. Additionally, Augustana also holds winning scores with point totals of 28 and 30 or even higher proving consistency in the scoring game.