Minot State to meet Augustana for first time

Paul Rudolph used a historical reference to explain the expectations of the football programs at Minot State University and Augustana College.

“They’re an old North Central (Conference) team, we’re an old (Dakota Athletic Conference) team,” said Rudolph, the Beavers’ seventh-year head coach. “There’s a different level of belief.”

The two programs meet for the first time at 6 p.m. today at Herb Parker Stadium. MSU (0-1), in its second year in NCAA Division II and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, now finds itself playing teams with stronger football traditions.

The defunct NCC, the Division II league Augustana (1-0) competed in from 1941-2008, featured teams that have made the jump to the Football Championship Subdivision and other programs that remain Division II powerhouses. Among the NCC schools Augustana competed against: FCS teams North Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota and South Dakota State, in addition to current NSIC member Minnesota State-Mankato – the second-ranked team in Division II.

“(Augustana is) an old North Central team, so they know what good football is,” Rudolph said.

First-year Augustana head coach Jerry Olszewski saw plenty of positives in the Vikings’ opening game, a 41-28 win over Minnesota State-Moorhead.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Heid ran for 83 yards and completed 18 of 26 passes for 166 yards in his first career start. He ran for one touchdown and threw for another. Junior running back Dajon Newell – a 2012 second-team all-NSIC South Division selection – rushed for 96 yards and a score with an average of 6.0 yards per carry.

“He sees the field very well and is deceptively quick,” Olszewski said of the 5-foot-10, 189-pound Newell. “I think Dajon is a complete back. He catches the ball well, he blocks well, and I think he’s just gonna have a very good year for us.”

The Beavers gained 191 yards in a 29-0 season-opening loss to Concordia-St. Paul, including just 54 yards on the ground.

“We gotta get some drives going,” Rudolph said. “It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”

The MSU defense allowed three touchdowns of 25 yards or more against C-SP, including two in the third quarter. Beavers junior safety Levi Freidt said MSU is looking for a better all-around performance in its home opener today.

“It was good to get it out of the way and see what we needed to work on,” Freidt said. “Defensively, we felt pretty good. There was just a couple plays we didn’t hustle on, didn’t tackle on, that we could’ve stopped them from scoring a couple times. Hopefully offensively we can get it going and we can put on a good show Saturday.”

Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.