PELLA, Iowa – There was a lot of news involving the quarterback position for the Augustana football team on Saturday.
Some was exciting and some was not so good as the Vikings fell to 0-2 with a 33-22 setback to the Central Dutch at Schipper Field.
The good news: Former Rock Island prep standout Alek Jacobs made his presence known by rushing for his first three collegiate touchdowns – all on short runs out of shotgun formations. The freshman was also used on a number of snaps as a tempo-changer, finishing with 33 yards on nine carries.
“He provides a totally different dimension than what we have now at that position,” Augustana coach Steve Bell said of Jacobs. “He has yet to throw the ball, so we're using him in a capacity that he is real good at. He obviously can run and we'll expand his role as time goes on.”
The bad news: Starter Zach Fuller put up decent numbers, completing 24 of 37 passes for 271 yards, but struggled getting the Vikings into the end zone despite 388 yards offense on 73 plays.
A couple of bad decisions on his part led to two key interceptions (including one in the end zone) when the game was within reach. He also gave up a 4th-down sack on Augie's last possession.
“It's frustrating because we know we're a better football team,'' Bell said. “It's just not showing up in the win-loss column right now. We just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit.”
That was the case on both sides of the ball. And it started early for the defense that was on the field for 38:33 as Central rattled off six drives of 10 plays or more and seven drives of at least 50 yards. The Dutch's second play from scrimmage resulted in a 71-yard touchdown pass on a short toss across the middle.
“Bad discipline more than anything on that play,” said Bell of a play that sort of set the tone and gave the hosts a lead they never lost. “We got caught with our eyes in the wrong place. A kid that never should have been open was open.”
Still, Augie's defense was torched for 489 yards on 79 plays -- 242 rushing and 247 passing by QB Kohle Helle, who connected for two TDs and extended plays while running a nice zone-read game.
“We had a tough time getting off the field defensively,” said Bell, whose team scored late in the second quarter to trail just 13-7 at halftime.
“We went into halftime with a little momentum and feeling good about ourselves. Unfortunately, they stayed on the field a long time.”