Augustana beats Illinois Wesleyan to clinch 31st winning season in last 32 years

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Senior running back Robert Wood carried 30 times for a career-high 181 yards on Saturday as Augustana closed out the 2010 season with a 20-17 come-from-behind victory over Illinois Wesleyan. The win not only garnered the Vikings a share of third place in the CCIW, but clinched the school's 31st winning season in the last 32 years. The Vikings finish the year 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference.

With record-setting quarterback David Lee fighting a shoulder injury, the Vikings relied on Wood and he responded with the highest rushing total by an Augustana player since Mike Guzman ran for 220 yards against Central in the opening game of the 2005 season. Lee made his presence felt as well, rushing for two touchdowns and hooking up with Zach McCullough for a 56-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter.

Trailing 14-7 early in the fourth quarter, Augustana faced a 3rd-and-21 from its own 44-yard line. Lee found McCullough streaking down the right sideline behind the Titan defense and he took it in for the tying score with 12:15 left in the game.

Illinois Wesleyan responded by re-taking the lead four and a half minutes later on a 25-yard Tim Hollowed field goal. That score was set up by a 49-yard T.J. Stinde kickoff return which had 15 yards added by a Viking face mask penalty. The Viking defense held the Titans to 15 yards on eight plays, but Wesleyan was close enough for Hollowed to hit the go-ahead field goal.

Each team was forced to punt on its next possession and Augustana's Danny Hess brought back IWU's kick 16 yards to the Titan 40-yard line where the Vikings started their final possession. On the first play, Wood picked up 18 yards to the Titan 22. Back-to-back rushes for no gain put the Vikings in 3rd-and-10, but Lee fired a bullet down the middle to freshman Nick Krantz at the Wesleyan three. From there, Lee carried twice and went into the end zone from one yard out to give the Vikings the lead with 30 seconds left. Illinois Wesleyan blocked the point after attempt to leave the score at 20-17.

Titan quarterback Brien Rooney completed a pair of passes to get down to the Vikings 27-yard line, but his heave into the end zone on the final play was batted down by Augustana's Alex Schroeder to preserve the win.

Illinois Wesleyan, which finishes the season at 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the CCIW, had a pair of drives ended by turnovers in the first quarter. First, Titan running back Bo Lanter busted off a 26-yard run into Viking territory, but was stripped of the ball by Matt Glawe and the Vikings' Mitch McGilliard fell on it to end the threat. Then, after forcing an Augustana punt, the Titans went 71 yards in 12 plays to reach the Viking nine-yard line before Ben Hall thwarted them with an interception in the end zone.

Lee's two-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter was the only score of the opening half. It capped an 80-yard, 14-play drive with 57 of those yards coming via the ground game. The Titans tied the game early in the third quarter when Rooney hit Joey Driver with a 71-yard bomb on a 3rd-and-14 play. They took the lead on nine-yard Lanter touchdown run with 2:21 left in the third quarter.

Lee finished the day 11 of 10 for 129 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He pushed his school-record season yardage total to 2,411 and will enter his senior season 1,990 yards away from Ken Anderson' career passing yardage record. Senior wide receiver Corbett Ball  caught a team-high four passes to extend his school record for single season receptions to 60.

John Mago was again the ringleader of the Vikings defense. He tied Glawe with a team-best seven solo stops and was in on a team-high nine tackles to push his season total to 114.


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