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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Mustang season ends disappointingly | News, Sports, Jobs

Real SMSU rookie quarterback Marcus Martin throws a pass in the second quarter of the Mustangs’ 49-0 loss to Augustana on Saturday afternoon.

MARSHALL — The Southwest Minnesota State football team ended its season with a sour taste in its mouth with a 49-0 home loss to Augusta in its season finale.

Onte Burns extended his hold on the NSIC record for career tackles, finishing the game with eight solo tackles to bring his total to 213. He finishes the season with 103 total tackles, tying him with Winona State’s Clay Schueffner and giving the minus a share of the conference total tackles title for the third straight year.

The Augustana offense was too much for SMSU to handle. Whether through the run or in the air, the Vikings were able to make big gains throughout the afternoon. They racked up 228 passing yards at 10+ yards per attempt and also added 172 rushing yards at 4.5 yards per carry. They scored on a four-minute drive on their first possession of the game and never looked back.

Defensively, Augustana’s defensive line was giving the Mustangs attacks. In his last game with the team, Sherwood was able to get out of a few tackles and make something out of nothing on a few occasions. More often, however, the Vikings would burst past the line of scrimmage and kill the play before it could begin. Sherwood rushed for 95 yards on 25 carries as the rest of the Mustangs’ offense combined for -42 rushing yards. He finishes the season with 1,213 rushing yards, good for second in team history in a single season.

Injuries forced SMSU to start some inexperienced players on the offensive line, causing even more trouble for Mustang’s offense than Augustana’s charged defense would have given them anyway.

“They are a really strong front seven, particularly up front. Throwing at inexperienced guys made it harder because they’re just trying to get their first experience. As if Román Ordóñez had his first real contact with football today ”, head coach Scott Underwood said. “I’m not trying to make excuses, but the injury bug really set us back in a few different places. It just makes it harder for you to form that offensive or defensive unit.”

The passing game wasn’t much better, as true freshman Marcus Martin’s lack of experience against aggressive Augustana pressure showed. Martin threw three interceptions, was sacked seven times and averaged just over three yards per attempt.

Marquise Ogletree intercepted an Augustana pass attempt after the Mustangs covered the Vikings at their own 1-yard line with a long punt. Ogletree was also able to recover an interception late in the third quarter.

Despite the cold and windy weather, punter Carter Dicker put in a solid performance with the special teams unit. He punted for 233 yards on the day, including a 58-yard punt that pinned the Vikings at their own 1-yard line, a punt that set up Ogletree’s interception.

The loss brings the Mustangs to 4-7 in his first season under Scott Underwood, a marked improvement from their 1-5 campaign in 2021.

Along with Sherwood and Burns, offensive lineman Dylan Lauer, defensive end Austin Moore, defensive back Alan Giron and wide receivers Adrian Tolbert and Eli Jefferson played their final games in the Mustangs’ brown and gold.

“These are tough holes to fill if you look at their talent and what they’ve done for this show, particularly this year.” Underwood said. “We are still a fairly young soccer program, but we will miss our seven seniors, who have been dominant players for us.”

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