MSUM Rolls to a 38-7 win over Augustana in the Season Opener

The Dragon defense held the Vikings to 127 yards of total offense on 49 plays and just eight first downs.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (MSUM Athletics) — A dominant effort by the defense helped the Minnesota State University Moorhead football team roll to a 38-7 win over Augustana in the season opener for both teams Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D.

MSUM is 1-0 overall and in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference while Augustana fell to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the league. It is just the second win for the Dragons over Augustana in football in five meetings.

The Dragon defense was outstanding, holding the Vikings to 127 yards of total offense on 49 plays and just eight first downs. MSUM held the Vikings to 33 rushing yards on 26 carries. The Dragons recorded five sacks and also forced a fumble that went for a touchdown in the first quarter. Junior safety Aaron Doan and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Darin Gipson Jr. each had six tackles. Gipson had a tackle for a loss. Sophomore defensive end Miles Baggett had a sack and a forced fumble, while senior linebacker Abe Roehrich had a sack and a fumble return for a touchdown. Sophomore defensive lineman Matthew Domek had a sack as well.

“I’m really proud of our defense,” MSUM head coach Steve Laqua said. “They played great football and performed well on third down. They were stout against the run. Defensively it was a pretty dominating performance.”

The MSUM offense was efficient, posting 465 yards of offense on 94 plays. Senior wide receiver Damon Gibson had 12 catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns, while senior receiver Hunter Braaten had nine catches for 70 yards. Senior quarterback Demetrius Carr was 30-of-46 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Jonathan Kabambi rushed for 87 yards on five carries to lead the ground game, while sophomore Herman Gray rushed for 66 yards on 15 attempts. Senior Austin Stone and sophomore Denver Colgrove rushed for touchdowns.

The Vikings scored first after a Dragon punt as Ryan Rubley connected with Chet Peerenboom to make it 7-0 less than six minutes into the first quarter, but that would prove to be the only points scored by the Vikings on the day.

MSUM went on a 17-play, 86-yard drive to answer as Gibson caught a 13-yard pass from Carr to make it 7-7 with 3:26 left in the first half. The defense came up with the next score as Baggett forced Rubley to fumble; Roehrich scooped up the ball and returned it 48 yards for a score to put the Dragons up 14-7 to close out the first quarter.

The lead grew to 21-7 in the second as Carr hit Gibson for a 12-yard score with 8:08 left in the half. The Dragons took that lead into halftime.

Colgrove’s 1-yard touchdown run with 5:25 left in the third made it 28-7, and Stone’s 2-yard score with 7:42 left in the game made it 35-7. Senior kicker Ruan Albuquerque, who was a perfect 5-of-5 on extra points, connected on a 32-yard field goal with 3:18 to wrap up the scoring.

“We did a good job of taking what they gave us,” Laqua said. “It was a lot of plays and a lot of long drives. We got as many players in as we could.”

The Dragons host Southwest Minnesota State on Thursday at 7 p.m. in their home opener.  The game will be broadcast live on Midco Sports Network.

“It’s a quick turnaround for us,” Laqua said. “We have to get our mind refocused on the next task at hand and be able to get as much rest as we can.”

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