The Elmhurst University Bluejays suffered a loss at the hands of the Augustana Vikings dynamic offense on Sat. 17 at Langhorst Field with a final score of 34-16.
The Bluejays’ struggle throughout the game came from penalties and poor ball security. They lost 27 yards to Augustana for four penalties during the first half.
The offense got off to a slow start with their first three drives ending with a punt and two fumbles, giving Augustana an opportunity to get a lead early on. EU’s next six drives ended with punts as well.
The Bluejays could not seem to move the ball, and when they did, the drive would soon be snuffed out by Augustana’s defense.
Augustana took full advantage of those struggles and were able to establish the run behind Vikings’ running back Tyler Rivelli, who rushed for three touchdowns in the first half.
Augustana was able to stretch the field through the air by deceiving the Bluejays’ defense with fake run plays.
The Vikings totaled 211 yards of offense at the end of the first half compared to the Bluejays’ 71 yards, going into halftime with a score of 20-0 for Augustana.
What Elmhurst needed in that first half against Rivelli was a great defense. Starting linebacker Bryce Gable, a current senior, acknowledges what the Bluejays have to focus on for the future.
“Converting on third down is huge,” said Gable, “getting stops in big moments” will play a big role in defense improvements for the future.
Gable, who got 15 tackles in the game against Augustana, and defensive backs Talyn West and Colton Kraus, who were close behind Gable with a number of tackles, are starting to work on winning those moments.
However, Augustana’s momentum seemed to follow them in the opening of the second half when the Vikings got a touchdown in seven plays and 71 yards, bringing the score up to 27-0.
EU’s coaches could be heard trying to motivate the team after the devastating first half and this poor start to the third quarter, saying, “We don’t stop,” and “We keep fighting.”
This morale boost seemed to help the Bluejays through the second half, winning the second half with 16-14 after the offense got into a rhythm. They ended the game with two touchdowns and a field goal.
Issac Ochoa kicked a field goal about half way into the third quarter. Julian Cavallo followed that with a rushing touchdown early in the final quarter, and RJ Anderson finished the game off with five minutes left by receiving another touchdown for the Bluejays.
However, with the Vikings’ successful first half, this was not enough to secure the Bluejays a victory.
Gable was not disheartened though. He believes that they can carry the positive momentum of the final half into the next week against North Central.
Some things that Gable wants to see carry over are, “Staying all together, having the same mindset, be ready to go next week and just keep fighting.”