Story and photo courtesy of Mary Athletics
BISMARCK, N.D. – For the second straight week, a major aerial performance from Craig Bagnell combined with an opportunistic defense lifted the University of Mary to victory. Bagnell passed for a career-high 407 yards and four touchdowns and the Marauders defense held its ground in the final minutes of U-Mary’s 31-25 win over visiting Augustana.
Battling from behind early, the Marauders used a 21-3 run to open up an 11-point advantage in the third quarter before holding on for the win, virtually the same formula U-Mary used a week earlier in a 32-26 win at Concordia University – St. Paul.
For the first time since 2005 the Marauders open a season with two straight wins, improving to 2-0 overall and in the Northern Sun. Augustana slips to 1-1. This is the second straight win for U-Mary at home over Augie.
Auge shocked the home crowd on the second play of the game when Josh Hanson hit Grant Gebhardt in stride deep down the middle of the field for a 70-yard score just 38 seconds into the game.
U-Mary responded quickly when Bagnell found DJ Young wide open in the right corner of the end zone for a 15 yard touchdown pass, capping an 8-play 71-yard touchdown drive that only used 1:33 of game time.
Hanson would use his legs to push the Vikings to a 14-7 lead on the first drive of the second quarter, scoring from one yard out.
The Marauders defense set up the next U-Mary score. Grant Singer and Gary Gellerman sacked Hanson and forced a fumble, recovered by Scott Maldonado at the Vikings 18 yard line. After a six yard catch by Jeremy Mayfield, Bagnell hit Elby Pope from 12 yards out to pull the two teams even at 14-14.
All-American Tyler Steffan dominated the field on the Marauders next possession as the senior wide receiver accounted for 78 yards receiving on four catches, his final grab an 18 yard score from Bagnell with 3:30 left in the first half to give U-Mary a 21-14 lead.
The Vikings attempted to drive the field at the end of the half but were turned away at the goal line. On third down from the Marauders four, Hanson’s pass towards the end zone was batted by Nik Polski to defensive lineman John Oyloe for the interception, preserving U-Mary’s lead at intermission.
On their first possession of the second half, Augie again drove inside U-Mary’s ten yard line but the Vikings could only manage a 20-yard field goal from Drew Behrens.
Keyed by a 28-yard catch by Steffen and a 29-yard grab by Young, the Marauders immediately responded. Capped by a five yard touchdown reception by Steffan, his second of the day, U-Mary bumped its lead to 28-17 at the halfway point of the third quarter.
Both defenses began to take control of the game and an interception by Sean Kelly in the fourth quarter gave Augie a needed spark. Taking over at the U-Mary 28, Hanson connected with Ben Parsley on a six yard touchdown pass. Following a successful two-point conversion, the Vikings pulled within 28-25 at 10:02 of the final period.
After a three-and-out by the Marauders offense, Dajon Newell found some open running lanes to get the Vikings in position to score. He ripped off runs of 27, 10 and 23 yards to get Augie to the U-Mary two yard line. Once again the Marauders defense held, keyed by Troy Guptill’s tackle of Newell for a seven yard loss. Attempting to even the game, Behrens would miss a 26-yard field goal attempt.
Tyler Ryan would succeed on his 34-yard field goal attempt with 2:35 remaining in the game, increasing the U-Mary lead to 31-26.
With time for one last drive, the Vikings advanced to their own 49 yard line before the Marauders defense took over. After an incomplete pass, Guptill sacked Hanson for a seven yard loss. Hanson would find Gebhardt for 11 yards on third down. A massive pass rush by the Marauders on 4th-and-6 forced the Vikings quarterback into an intentional grounding call, turning the ball and the game over to U-Mary.
Bagnell finished the day 30-of-49 for 407 yards and four scores. This is the second straight game he has thrown for four touchdowns. His previous high was 403 yards last year at Southwest Minnesota State. The junior from Polson, MT, became the third U-Mary quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards in his career with a current total of 5,066.
Steffan caught 10 passes for 154 yards and two scores. This is the second straight week he went over the century mark in yardage. The Dickinson, ND, native became just the fourth U-Mary receiver to crack 2,000 career receiving yards and now sits on 2,105.
Eight different Marauders caught passes. Bryan Sandy had five for the second straight week, covering 38 yards. Pope finished with four grams for 66 yards and a score.
Defensively, Maldonado led U-Mary in tackles for the second straight game. He had 11 tackles (six solo), recovered a fumble and broke up a pass. Guptil made three tackles for loss, including two sacks. Craig Jeffrey and Oyloe both had eight tackles.
Hanson completed 27-of-52 passes for 343 yards, two scores and two interceptions. Gebhardt made eight catches for 148 yards. Newell ran for 111 yards.
U-Mary next travels to Southwest Minnesota State University to play the Mustangs on September 15.