On-deck: WSU football’s home finale v. Augustana

The Winona State football team trails three teams by one game in the NSIC South, and will have an opportunity to close ground on one of those clubs in the home finale when they host Augustana on Saturday at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium.

WSU (5-4, 5-4 NSIC) are getting hot at the right time. The Warriors knocked off the nation’s top-ranked team two weeks ago in Mankato and racked up 511 yards of total offense in a defeat of Wayne State last Saturday.

The Winona State has the best aerial attack in the conference and will face an Augustana (7-2, 7-2) defense which resides in the basement of the NSIC defending against the pass.

A fact that bodes well for Jack Nelson.

WSU’s signal caller is coming off of a 336-yard, three-touchdown performance against Wayne State, and needs just 175 yards to become the second quarterback in program history to eclipse the 3,000-yard plateau for a single season (Drew Aber in 2007).

Nelson also sits just nine completions shy of overcoming Aber’s 2007-mark for a season, as well.

Alan May should have something to say about that, ranking second in the league with 56 receptions, while Paul Preston should draw plenty of attention away from Nelson and May, sitting second in the NSIC in all-purpose yardage with 1,336 (714 rushing, 333 receiving, 289 kick returns).

Winona State’s defense has performed well over the past two weeks, despite Collin Corcoran being injured in its last game against Wayne State. Corcoran is second in the NSIC with 87 tackles for the season.

Should the game go down to the wire, Tom Sawyer has Carter McCauley waiting in the wings. McCauley is having a spectacular season, not only leading leading the NSIC with 14 field goals, but has drilled 53 and 54-yard kicks on the year, both of which set WSU records.

Augustana (7-2, 7-2) have won three in a row by an average of 20 points and boast the conference’s leading scorer, C.J. Ham.

Ham leads the NSIC in both rushing (11) and overall touchdowns (13), and is second in the league with 863 yards rushing.

Though Ham is tough out of the backfield, the Vikings are solid in the passing game as well, with Trey Heid pacing the conference in completion percentage (64.9) and behind only Nelson for yards per game (282).

Heid’s main target is Charlie Hayes, who has hauled in 52 tosses for 801 yards and nine scores.

Augustana has struggled to defend against the pass, but linebacker Brandon Mohr leads the league with 10.2 tackles per game.

Pregame gets underway at 12:45 with kick-off at 1 p.m. only on TV 25!

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