Auggie Football Opens Season with Win Over Northwestern

Hayden Audette, sports editor 

It didn’t take long for the Augsburg football program to pick up where it left off after it made a big improvement in the 2021 season.

Just 10 minutes into the season opener against the University of Northwestern Eagles, sophomore quarterback Cade Sheehan connected with Dominic Smith for a 12-yard touchdown to put the Auggies on top 7-0. This was a familiar sight, as Smith has been on the receiving end of 15 of Sheehan’s 32 career touchdown passes so far. The Auggies would remain in front until halfway through the second quarter, when Northwestern quarterback Nick Drinken found wide receiver Bryson James for a 9-yard touchdown that leveled the score at 7-7. The two teams remained deadlocked until they went inside for halftime. Augsburg’s offense responded to the Northwestern score with a drive that nearly ran out the remaining seven minutes of the first half, but it did not end with any points. 

In the second half, the score remained tied until the 3:25 mark of the third quarter. The Auggies would jump back in front thanks to Sheehan’s second score of the night, this one being an impressive rushing touchdown from 12 yards out. With defenders all around him, Sheehan evaded several tackles and dove towards the goal line. This play gave Augsburg a 13-7 lead, and they would extend that lead just over a minute and a half later. This time, it was the Auggie defense’s turn to score. Sophomore linebacker Hamsa Kahin intercepted a pass from Drinken and took it the other way for a 41-yard touchdown return. As time ran out in the third quarter, Augsburg held a 20-7 advantage. 

After 13 unanswered points in the third quarter, the Auggies would add a field goal from first-year kicker Nathan Wangensteen in their first drive of the fourth. This made the score 23-7 with 10 and a half minutes to play, and at this point it looked like Augsburg would win this game comfortably. However, Northwestern would not go away quietly. With just over seven minutes left, the Eagles would draw within one score after an 84-yard touchdown pass from Drinken to wide receiver Beau Burk. After a successful two-point conversion, the Auggies’ lead was trimmed to 23-15. Northwestern would have two more chances to drive down the field and tie the game, but the Auggie defense stopped them both times to secure the win. 

There were plenty of encouraging signs from Augsburg’s week one victory, and a big road win to start the year has given the team a confidence boost going into the rest of the season. “For us, getting a win is just a great way to start the season,” said sophomore linebacker Justin Tverberg, who led the Auggies with nine tackles on defense. “Our confidence is through the roof now, getting the first win on the road when we didn’t last year. It’s a great feeling.”