Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Football team falls in Isthmus Bowl, finishes 8-3

The football team made program history the weekend of Nov. 18 by playing in the Culvers Isthmus Bowl. The bowl game was the first time Augustana had played in a postseason game since the 2005 season when they went to the Division III playoffs. They faced off against the UW-Platteville Pioneers in Sun Prairie, Wis. Unfortunately, the team could not get any scoring started until it was too late and fell by a score of 36-10. 

The game offered an excellent opportunity for the team to experience playing in a bowl game and a non-regular season game. Senior Rukkus Hunkins was one player who was grateful for the chance to play in the extra game.

“It’s honoring. It’s super cool to be able to do something here that a team hasn’t done in nearly 20 years. It’s a great opportunity to show some of our younger underclassmen,” Hunkins said.

Despite the bowl game loss, the result from the positive season will help lead the team into the future. The team winning eight games, the most an Augustana team has had since 2005, will be used in recruiting incoming players to the school. Sophomore Ben Ludlum understands the bigger picture a winning season can have for the program.

“I knew coming in that we had the guys, talent and coaches to make it this far. It was nice seeing everything come together, and I think we can definitely build off in the coming years,” Ludlum said.

This season was a significant improvement in team play from last season, and the record shows it. Last year, the team went 5-5, with a 4-5 record in conference games. This season, the Vikings went 8-3 overall, with a 7-2 record versus CCIW opponents. Junior Dakota Straight was on the team last year and knows every player improved but knows the work is not done yet. 

“There’s been a huge improvement from our season last year to this year. I’m glad we got to play this game this weekend,”  Straight said. “It means a lot for the program, and I know our team is really happy where we’re at, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Despite the bowl game result, the team has much to be proud of going into the off-season. Building a program back up to a winning standard might not happen in one season. It will take many hours in practice to help develop the players ready for that standard. Sophomore Nate Henry knows that if winning is the norm, it is good to experience and build upon it in practice. 

“It shows us it kind of creates the path of what we need to do in practice and games, what needs to be done for the upcoming years to be just as successful as this year,” Henry said. 

It is good for the underclassmen on the team to experience a winning season, like this current Vikings season, early in their careers so that winning becomes a habit and a mentality they must strive for. Even if the season did not end how they wanted it to, it was an excellent season for the team and provided many good experiences. 

“It’s a truly great experience, especially making it this far at the collegiate level,” Ludlum said. “It’s awesome to be part of a team that’s good. This is by far the best team I’ve ever been a part of.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Augustana Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *