Defensive linebacker Jonny Breden felt like he needed to play for the Augustana College defense late in the first half of the inaugural season on Saturday.
He had just dropped a potential end-zone interception that would have stopped a potential registration campaign by visiting Rhodes Linux.
After four plays, he was in the right place at the right time to help the Vikings open a huge fringe on the Lynx that seemed to be nothing more than a big play in the way.
But when the Vikings paused in the second half on a humid afternoon at Lindbergh Stadium, that final touchdown loomed large in Augie’s season-opening 34-28 home win.
Breeden gave an 86-yard scoop and score with 22 seconds left in the first half leading the homeowners 31-7 and a massive shockwave of momentum in the locker room.
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However, that was lost in the next 15 minutes as the first-half break cooled off the Vikings, who scored in four of their six possessions in the first half and totaled 220 from their attack of 355 yards in the first 30 minutes.
The second half did not go well as Lynx kept the pressure on the Vikings defense who were playing without a signal from caller Tim Swaney in the midfield after suffering a knee injury at the end of the season.
Lynx also figured out a way to get to the end zone as they blasted off for 408 yards in 80 plays – 16 more shots than Augie.
This Vikings defense needed to cut short Rhodes’ final possession of the match for the fatal victory.
Ogi coach Steve Bell said: “This was a poor second-half performance – attack, defense and special teams. We will have to see if it was complacency, lack of execution, lack of focus. We will find out.”
It appeared in the first half as if the Vikings had discovered a lot of things.
It only took three plays for Augie to find the end zone for the first time this season when junior quarterback Cole Bhardwaj hit Bobby Incera on a crossover road that turned into a 54-yard playoff.
While Lynx (0-1) was able to move the ball into the Vikings defense, they had only one result to show – one that tied the match at 7 with 3:28 remaining in the first quarter after a short kick and a face mask penalty.
But the Vikings answered with a Bhardwaj TD 9-yard throw to ISU transferring Jack Schmitz and a beautiful 37-yard touchdown with Ian Jorkin for a 24-7 3:34 advantage left in the half.
Bhardwaj, who said he injured his wrist in the second quarter and tied it in the second, was 11 of 19 for 192 yards in the first three inning. It was only 7 of 16 for 56 yards and there were no scores per second.
What turned out to be the biggest game of the match ended the first half in which the Vikings played hard in all three stages and halted Rhodes’s potential lead.
Rhodes’ wide receiver Javon Cooper was trying to find a corner on a fly pass, but was met by the end of Chase Tatum and fullback Frank Giamarosti, whose stinging kick sent the ball off. Breeden picked up the pigskin and outplayed everyone else for an 86-yard comeback flounder and a 31-7 lead with 22 seconds left.
“Frank put his helmet directly on the ball and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” said Breden, who stumbled into the ball carrier as his teammates moved.
Breeden said it was his second defensive touchdown of his career, adding to his six picks at Frisco (Texas) Memorial High School.
Despite that, that was one of the very few bright spots of the defense that was on the road a lot.
said former Alleman High School linebacker Josh Timm, who led the Vikings with nine all-out saves including a loss. “…we thought we had it and came out cool in the second half. We know we can do better and we have to do better.”