With Bemidji State (2-2) winning earlier in the day St. Cloud State’s (3-1) lead in the NSIC North was cut to just a one game lead.
A surprising late scratch of sophomore quarterback Dwayne Lawhorn who sat out with a previously unknown shoulder injury saw redshirt freshman Justin Czech get his first career start at Husky Stadium against Augustana University (2-2).
The first drive of the game saw the Vikings convert two long third down attempts which helped them get into Husky territory, but the Vikings’ drive stalled and the Huskies came up with a huge fourth down stop.
Czech would lean on the strength of his run game, but it was a 19-yard toss to leading Huskies junior receiver John Pass that helped get the ten play, 40-yard drive that would be capped off with a 46-yard field goal to give St. Cloud the 3-0 lead.
The ensuing possession for the Vikings did not exactly go as planned. A 29 yard pick six thrown by Augustana QB Ryan Rubley looked like he was purposefully trying to throw to linebacker Graham Miller who had blanket coverage in the flat. Miller would break a tackle and spin into the end zone for the score, the PAT was good and the Huskies lead would jump to double digits at 10-0.
A one-hour weather delay would end up freezing action for the time being.
After the weather delay, the Huskies looked like they did not lose a step. On their opening drive coming out of the weather delay, Czech would lead a 13 play, 55-yard drive that included a fourth down conversion. The drive was finished off by an 11-yard touchdown to Pass. The PAT was missed resulting in a 16-0 lead for St. Cloud.
Another long weather delay occurred after the drive.
After the delay, the score heading into the second half would remain the same.
In the third quarter, the Huskies would tack on a field goal to make it a three-possession game at 19-0.
Junior running back Greg Lewis scored a touchdown later in the third and a 26-0 lead for St. Cloud.
It would be too little too late for Augustana as they were essentially playing for pride at this point but would add to touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Huskies would hold on to win 26-14.
Czech won his first career start completing ten of 18 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Lewis had 58 yards on the ground and a score. Starting running back sophomore Joe Blando gained 45 yards on 24 totes.
St. Cloud came into the game leading the nation in time of possession and once again dominated in that category holding onto the ball for 37:05 of the possible 60:00 minutes of game time. Also second in the nation in rushing defense the Huskies did their job in that front once again limiting the Vikings to just 45 rushing yards.
Next up for St. Cloud is a NSIC North battle against in-state rival University of Minnesota-Duluth (2-2). The game is slated to start at 7 p.m. in Duluth this Thursday.
Photo by Spencer Rojas