Lakeland Draws Augustana In First Ever Playoff Berth
Athletics - posted on 11/13/2005
After hearing rumors of possible matchups with No. 1 ranked Linfield and North Region top seed Wabash, the Lakeland football team drew Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., as the Muskies first-ever postseason playoff opponent.
The Muskies (8-2) will head to Augustana's Ericson Field in Rock Island for a Saturday, Nov. 19, first-round matchup. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Augustana (9-1) is ranked 11th in the latest d3football.com Top 25 poll, 15th in the latest American Football Coaches Association national poll.
The Vikings, who have one of the most impressive resumes in the history of Division III football, clinched the programs 15th playoff berth this season by winning their 20th College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin title. The program has won four national titles.
Augustana entered this season with the ninth-best all-time winning percentage in Division III history (.642), and has 27 straight winning seasons.
The Vikings were picked fourth in the CCIW preseason coaches poll this year, but won the league title unbeaten thanks to wins over nationally-ranked Carthage and North Central. This is the first CCIW title for Augie's senior class, and the program's first playoff appearance since 2001.
Augustana's lone loss came in the season opener, a 25-24 overtime setback to Central of Iowa, another traditional national power ranked which is making its 17th playoff appearance this season.
The running game is the Vikings' bread and butter - they are the No. 2 ranked rushing team in NCAA Division III averaging 369 yards per game. They have only passed 24 times this season out of their Wing-T formation.
Junior Mike Guzman, a 5-foot-9, 205-pound fullback from Oregon, Ill., averages 102.6 yards per game, and has 149 carries this season for 923 yards. Senior running back Aaron Kuzniar (5-11, 196, Burlington, Wis.) has 793 yards on 154 carries, and senior quarterback Matt Roe (5-8, 181, Libertyville, Ill.) has 567 yards on 107 carries.
The teams have one common opponent in Carthage. Augie's running game got shut down, but their defense helped the Vikings squeak out a 7-0 win at Carthage in week five. Lakeland led 13-0 early at Carthage in week two, but some mistakes down the stretch doomed the Muskies to a 20-16 loss.
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