MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Sophomore Lars Prestemon threw five touchdown passes to four different receivers to lead the St. Olaf College football team to a 48-26 victory over Augsburg University on Saturday afternoon at Edor Nelson Field on the Auggies' homecoming.
Prestemon threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half to help St. Olaf (4-0, 2-0 MIAC) to a 28-6 lead at the half. First year Siegel Howard III ran for a pair of touchdowns in the second half as the Oles defeated Augsburg (1-3, 0-2 MIAC) for the third-straight season and posted their highest point total since last season's 49-14 season-opening victory at Crown.
After throwing four touchdown passes in his first three collegiate starts, Prestemon was 13-for-19 for 280 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions while not being sacked on the afternoon. Four of the sophomore's five touchdowns went for at least 32 yards, as St. Olaf amassed 469 yards of total offense in the win.
Sophomore tight end Isaac Coutier caught the first two touchdowns of his career as part of a three-catch, 102-yard performance, while senior Gonzalo Pirela, junior Caleb Golberg and sophomore Gabe Alada also hauled in touchdowns from Prestemon.
Junior Khayleb Willis, NCAA Division III's leading rusher entering the game, gained 80 yards on 25 carries. Howard III added 48 yards on 10 attempts and Prestemon recorded 36 yards on five rushes as St. Olaf ran for 189 yards on the afternoon.
Prestemon did most of his damage in the opening half, going 9-for-13 for 208 yards and four touchdowns before the break. The sophomore connected with Alada for a 32-yard touchdown with 3:33 left in the opening quarter to start the scoring on a third-and-20 play after the Oles started in Augsburg territory after recovering a punt that hit an Auggie.
Junior Jordan Bartholomew blocked an Augsburg field goal on the second-to-last play of the opening quarter and, two plays later, Prestemon hit a streaking Coutier up the seam for a 76-yard catch-and-run to double St. Olaf's lead to 14-0 on the first play of the second quarter.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Oles needed just two plays to stretch their lead to 21-0 with 11:58 remaining in the half. Howard III ran for 13 yards on the first play of the drive before Prestemon found a wide-open Golberg for a 35-yard touchdown, St. Olaf's third touchdown in 6:35 of game time.
St. Olaf put together a nine-play, 72-yard drive capped by an 18-yard strike from Prestemon to Coutier with just 42 seconds remaining in the half. The Auggies ran the ensuing kickoff back to the Oles' 18-yard line and, after a false start, Quinn Frisell lobbed a 23-yard touchdown to Andrew Williams in the right corner of the end zone to make it a 28-6 game at the half after the extra point was blocked by Bartholomew.
The score remained 28-6 until Prestemon and Pirela connected on a 44-yard touchdown with 6:54 left in the third quarter, but Augsburg responded with touchdown passes from Frisell to Mike Rodriguez and Le'Andre Benion on its next two possessions to get with 35-18 with 2:29 remaining in the third.
Howard III barreled in from a yard out two minutes into the fourth quarter before the Auggies answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 20-yard touchdown from Chad Costello to Josiah Ferguson. Costello then found Benion for a two-point conversion to make it a two-score game, 42-26, with 9:34 to play.
After the Augsburg defense got the ball back for its offense with a stop before the St. Olaf defense blocked a punt near the Augsburg goal line. An illegal batting penalty on the play gave the Auggies another chance on fourth down, but the Oles' defense held to give the offense a short field at the Augsburg 28-yard line.
St. Olaf kept the ball on the ground for each play of a six-play, 28-yard drive that ended with Howard III's second touchdown run of the quarter, this one from seven yards out with 1:54 to go, that put the game out of reach.
Senior Leandro Ferreira led St. Olaf with eight tackles and added half a sack in the win. Sophomore Brandon Foster had five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The Oles were 8-for-13 (61.5 pct.) on third down in the game while the Auggies were 4-for-14 (28.6 pct.). Augsburg committed 14 penalties for 101 yards on the afternoon.
St. Olaf hosts Hamline on Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m. at Klein Field at Manitou.