MINNEAPOLIS -- Quarterback Ayrton Scott (FY, Minneapolis, Minn./Southwest HS) produced 351 yards of total offense and threw three touchdown passes, but his Augsburg College football team was edged 21-20 by visiting Bethel University in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest on Saturday afternoon at Edor Nelson Field.
In his fourth collegiate game, Scott rushed for a game-high 127 yards on 20 carries, while completing 29-of-45 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns against three interceptions. Through four games, Scott already has 1,429 yards of total offense -- 608 rushing yards and 821 passing yards -- for a 357.2 yards-per-game average, along with 13 touchdown passes and three touchdown runs.
Bethel (4-0 overall, 2-0 MIAC), ranked No. 7 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division III national poll and No. 10 in the D3football.com national poll, claimed three touchdown runs by quarterback Erik Peterson (SO, Orono, Minn.).
Augsburg (3-1 overall, 2-1 MIAC) cut the lead to 21-20 with 1:46 left in the game, when Scott threw a 13-yard pass on fourth down to Adam Carl (JR, Eagan, Minn.). The Auggies went for the two-point conversion, and a pass from Scott was batted away by a Bethel defender. Augsburg had a final chance to drive the football with 32 seconds left, but an interception by J.D. Melhorn (JR, Lakeville, Minn./South HS) ended the final Auggie threat.
Augsburg dominated in virtually every statistic of the game, with the exception of the final score. The Auggies outgained the Royals by a 432-164 margin -- 224 passing yards and 208 rushing yards, compared to 49 passing yards and 115 rushing yards by Bethel. Augsburg ran 83 offensive plays to Bethel's 46, and nearly doubled the time-of-possession chart -- 39:50 to 20:10.
But Bethel took advantage of several big plays, including two on special teams, to score its touchdowns. A 61-yard return on the opening kickoff by Brandon Marquardt (SO, Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park HS) gave the Royals the ball on the Augsburg 25-yard line, and Peterson scored the Royals' initial touchdown on a one-yard run five plays later.
Augsburg used an 11-play, 63-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7, as Scott threw the first of two touchdown passes to Tyler Swanson (JR, Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS), an eight-yarder with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Augsburg took the lead on its next drive, as a nine-play, 62-yard drive was capped by Scott's five-yard pass to Swanson.
But the Royals were able to tie the game after another big kickoff return -- a 61-yarder by Mitch Hallstrom (JR, Eden Prairie, Minn.) -- which put the ball on the Augsburg 28-yard line. Four plays later, Peterson scored his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard run.
Augsburg opened the third quarter with the football, but an interception by Bethel's Seth Mathis (JR, Anoka, Minn.) gave the Royals the ball at the Augsburg 44, and the Royals ended up scoring six plays later, as their longest offensive drive of the game was capped with a Peterson 1-yard scoring run.
Augsburg had a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, but an 11-play, 75-yard drive ended on a fourth-down incompletion in the end zone. The final scoring drive for the Auggies was a 10-play, 70-yard drive, as Augsburg scored with 1:46 left in the game.
Jerise Washington (SO, Roseville, Minn./Mounds View HS) caught eight passes for 66 yards for the Auggies, while also rushing four times for 17 yards. Phil Putratz (JR, Mazeppa, Minn./Zumbrota-Mazeppa HS) rushed five times for 47 yards.
For Bethel, Peterson completed 7-of-14 passes for 49 yards, while rushing 10 times for 20 yards. Marshall Klitzke (FY, Annandale, Minn./Providence HS) rushed 11 times for 46 yards.
Defensively, Felix Coleman (SO, Alexandria, Minn./Jefferson HS) had 10 tackles (three solo) for Augsburg, while Bryce Vee (SR, Coon Rapids, Minn./Blaine HS) had nine tackles (one solo), and Sean Crayne (SR, Trimont, Minn./Martin County West HS) had eight tackles (one solo), including a sack.
For Bethel, Mathis led all players with 15 tackles (five solo) and two interceptions, while Trent Duppenthaler (SO, Sherwood, Ore.) had 11 tackles (four solo). Brett Skoog (SR, Long Lake, Minn./Orono HS) and Erik Smith (SR, Henning, Minn.) had nine tackles each.
Both teams return to action with home games next Saturday (10/6) at 1 p.m., as Augsburg hosts St. John's and Bethel hosts Concordia-Moorhead.