WSU football loses last road game of the season

Robert Glarner, Sport's Reporter

Winona State University lost their last road game of the season to Augustana University, 38 – 20.

Augustana leads the series against Winona State with a record of 8-6. They last played against each other on Nov. 9, 2019, and Augustana won, 26-25.

Richard Azunna, third-year defensive back, who had six tackles against Sioux Falls last week gave insight on what Augustana does well offensively.

“Augustana is really balanced, and they pass the football well,” Azunna said. “They have a quarterback that has been in their system for a few years that knows what he is doing, so we will have to really defend the pass, as well as get pressure on him to make him as uncomfortable as possible.”

Winona State kicked off to Augustana to start the game.

Augustana was the first team to put up points on the board with a 26-yard touchdown pass. Winona State committed a couple penalties, pass interference and an offsides that helped Augustana keep their drive going to put them up, 7-0.

Winona State, on the next drive, entered Augustana territory. Winona State went for the touchdown on 4th down, needing only 10 yards, but Augustana’s defense sacked Owen Burke, fifth-year quarterback, to regain possession.

Augustana, now with possession, quickly brought the ball down the field. Winona State committed more penalties on defense and set up Augustana to score another passing touchdown to put them up, 14 – 0.

Winona State marched back onto the field knowing they needed to score. Noah Carlson shot out for a big run, breaking tackles, dodging players and would go for 18-yards.

Although Winona State had a great offense, Augustana’s defense forces the Warriors to punt.

Augustana regains possession of the ball, trying to make this a three-score game. Augustana closed in on Warrior territory, but Winona State’s defense stops the touchdown; however, Augustana sustains a 45-yard field goal, making the score 17-0 and a three-score game.

With eight minutes left in the second quarter, Winona State start- ed their drive at the 37-yard line. Right out of the gate, Burke throws it to Ethan Wittenburg, fourth-year wide receiver, who broke two tackles and pounded it forward for a gain of 22 yards.

Burke, in shotgun, steps back and dishes to Jason Michael Young, first-year wide receiver, on a crossing route and Young went the distance to score a 30-yard touchdown. Jacob Scott, a first-year kicker, is successful with the extra point, 17-7.

Winona State’s defense, being more disciplined, stopped Augustana and forced them to punt. Regaining the ball, Jake Balliu, fifth-year wide receiver, completed a good punt returned but tackled in Augustana territory.

Burke throws it deep to Balliu, running the sideline and making the catch to put Winona State 12-yards away from the goal line. Getting down to the 3-yard line, Burke hands it off to Javian Roebuck, fourth-year running back, for a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Scott, successful with the extra point, closed the point gap to 17-14.

After a Winona State interception and possession of the ball from each team, Augustana heaved it up into the air with 8 seconds left to close out the first half.

To start the second half, Winona State punts to Augustana, but the third quarter proved disastrous for Winona State as Augustana put up 21 points with the scoreboard reading 38-14.

Winona State continued to have one more good drive, resulting in a Balliu touchdown pass from Burke 8 yards away. The 2-pt conversion was no good, making the score be 38-20 with eight minutes left to go in the game.

Augustana, running out the clock on their next drive, prevented Winona State from any more point gaining plays.

Winona State received the ball with less than three minutes to go. Burke heaved it up down the middle and intercepted by Augustana. Augustana ran the clock out to secure the win.

Winona State lost 38-20, making their record 5-4 with two games left in the season.

In response to the loss, Tyler Knutson, fourth-year wide receiver, concluded the team should reflect on their mistakes during the game to improve for their upcoming matchups.

“We need to focus on playing mistake-free football because we thrive when we don’t put ourselves in disadvantageous situations,” Knutson said. “Offense, defense and special teams must be in sync to put each other in better situations.”

Although Winona State sustained a hit to their record, the highlight for specific players are as follows: Burke went 22-39 for 247 yards along with two touchdowns and one interception, Wittenburg was the leading receiver for the game with four catches for 65 yards and Carlson was the leading rusher with 49 rushing yards.

Winona State plays home next week to take on Upper Iowa University at 1 p.m. on Nov. 6.