Setting the Scene: The Cardinals return home looking to get back on track, facing an Augustana squad intent on snapping one of North Central's longest winning streaks against a single opponent.
Series History: This is the 90th football meeting between the institutions. The Vikings own a 55-33-1 advantage in the all-time series, but North Central has won the last 13 consecutive meetings dating back to 2006.
The teams met in Rock Island on Oct. 6 of last season, with the Cardinals dominating throughout a 48-10 victory. North Central scored 21 unanswered first-half points to carry a 28-7 advantage into halftime and was not threatened from then on.
Broc Rutter completed 30 of 42 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first player in school history to complete at least 30 passes three times in the same season. Michael Sfikas made 14 catches (tying the school record at the time) for 193 yards.
DJ Warkenthien and Zach Greenberg each finished with nine tackles as Warkenthien took over sole possession of the Cardinals' all-time record for tackles for loss.
National Rankings: North Central is ranked No. 9 in the most recent NCAA Division III National Top 25 Poll released by D3football.com and 12th in the latest poll from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Scouting the Vikings: Augustana celebrated its Homecoming with a victory over Millikin last week, claiming a 16-0 halftime lead before pulling away to prevail, 40-14.
The Vikings gained 244 of their 412 yards on the ground, led by tailback Bobby Jarosz's 143 yards on 24 attempts. Defensive end Xavier Holley was a fixture in the Millikin backfield, recording 7.5 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks.
Augustana has topped the 40-point mark in each of its three wins thus far this season and has intercepted 10 passes, double the next-highest team total in the CCIW and the fourth-highest total in the nation.
This Week for the Cardinals: North Central absorbed its first loss of the season on Saturday, dropping a 35-21 decision to Wheaton in the annual Battle for the Little Brass Bell.
The Cardinals held a 21-14 advantage late in the third period before Wheaton scored three unanswered touchdowns in a 10-minute span and stopped North Central on fourth down on its final two drives.
Rutter completed 27 of 45 passes for 313 yards and two scores, hitting Andrew Kamienski 14 times for 112 yards and Blake Williams six times for 158. Ethan Greenfield gained 111 rushing yards on a career-high 29 carries.
National Statistical Rankings: Thus far this season, the Cardinals rank second among Division III programs in total offense (557.8 yards per game), passing offense (364.8 ypg) and third-down conversion percentage (60.0) while ranking third in pass completion percentage (.725), sixth in passing efficiency (188.83) and 10th in scoring offense (46.8 points per game) and tackles for loss (9.8 per game).
Kamienski ranks second individually in receptions per game (10.5) and eighth in receiving yards per game (133.3), while Rutter sits third in passing yards per game (353.5) and completion percentage (72.7) and ninth in completions per game (26.0) and passing efficiency (186.7).
North Central Career Rankings: Rutter is the Cardinals' all-time leader in pass completions (811), passing yards (11,088) touchdown passes (103). He ranks second all-time in passing attempts (1,211).
Kamienski sits third in receptions (171) and needs just nine more to eclipse the current record of 179 set by Steve Hlavac '11.
Kamienski also ranks fourth in receiving yards (2,271) and sixth in receiving touchdowns (20), eighth in punt return yards (296) and ninth in all-purpose yards (2,598), while Talha Ayhan ranks 11th in quarterback sacks (13.5).
Around the CCIW: Wheaton took over sole possession of first place in the CCIW standings with last week's win and travels to North Park, while Elmhurst visits WashU, Illinois Wesleyan plays at Carthage and Millikin goes to Carroll.
This Day in Cardinal Football History: 1963 vs. Millikin – The Cardinals stopped four Big Blue drives inside the 26-yard line in a 12-0 victory and forced three turnovers, including a Don Deetjen fumble recovery which set up North Central's second touchdown of the day early in the fourth quarter.
The show airs each Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 12:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 3:30, 7:00 and 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 12:30 and 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. It will feature interviews with coaches and players, highlights of the previous week's game, and a look ahead to the upcoming opponent.
Each show is viewable online at nctv17.com and is archived at youtube.com/northcentralsports as well as at northcentralcardinals.com.