Augustana (2-3) at Northern State (1-4)
Last Year: 31-15, Augustana

Two weeks ago at this time very few people outside of close circles around the Augustana Football program knew much about Dajon Newell. Sure most of the coaches in the Northern Sun pobably had heard of him as a spedy running back from Lakeville High School in Minnesota, but he was virtually unknown as a college running back.

Today, he comes into this week's game at Northern State as the reigning NSIC Offensive Player of the Week, and maybe the biggest key to the rest of the season for the Augustana Vikings.

Entering the Southwest Minnesota State game Newell was not even on the football program's two deep, but today has back to back games over 100-yards rushing, infact last week against Concordia Newell was over 200 yards on the ground.

Consider this for a moment, before Newell took over in the backfield the Vikings were averaging just 1.7 yards per carry on the season. Newell himself is averaging 6.3 yards per carry, in the last two contests. Need further proof, well how about this, through three games this season Augustana had scored a total of 39-points, in the last two since he has emerged, the Vikings have scored 37 in each. Not to mention, since he has taken over in the backfield the Vikings are 2-0.

Largely because of his emergence Augustana is in a position to get back to .500 on Saturday, and they face their instate rivals the Northern State Wolves. It should be a good day to run the ball for the Vikings, the Wolves are in the bottom half of the conference against the run, giving up about 178 yards a week on the ground.

That should continue to give Josh Hanson all of the balance he needs to find the rhythm he found last year, when he was one of the NSIC's top quarterbacks.

I have geiven the Wolves the benefit of the doubt twice this season already, thinking they could turn this around. Even after playing tough against St. Cloud State last week though, the Wolves have now lost four straight after opening with a win against Southwest. They haven't shown yet that the program is turned around, so obviously, I am taking the Vikings to win in Aberdeen.

Extra Point: Newell became the first Augustana Viking to rush for more than 200-yards in a single game since Joe Clark accomplished that on October 4th of 2008 against Minnesota State University.

Concordia (2-3) at Bemidji State (4-1)
Last Year: 20-14, Concordia

I still think the best way to keep another team out of the end zone is to try to keep the ball away from them as much as possible, and thats a plan that I am sure Bemidji State Coach Jeff Tesch would have to agree with.

Following a tough loss at home to Minnesota Duluth the Beavers responded last week by once again running over an opponent on their way to another big win. The Beavers ran for 365 yards last week against Upper Iowa, in that 48-7 defeathering of the Peacocks.

Although the animal in which the team is named after will be a little larger this week, as the Golden Bears and Cocnordia come to town, I don't know how different the result will be. The Beavers have to be considered one of the top three teams in the conference right now, in fact, if the playoffs were to start today they would be in.

Bemidji is fourth in the conference in scoring and third in the conference in rushing. But where it really helps Bemidji is on the other side of the football, no one in the Northern Sun has given up fewer points than Bemidji State, and since they have seemingly played with a lead all season long the Beavers are number one in the conference against the run.

Last year, Concordia found a way to slow down that Bemidji ground game, and found a way to beat Bemidji at home. If they do the same thing on Saturday, obviously they will find themselves in the game. They will still have to be careful about that pesky turnover bug though, Jared Russo threw three more interceptions last week to Augustana, and this week the Golden Bears will be up against one of the NSIC's best secondaries in Bemidji.

I don't fault Russo though, the Golden Bears circumstances this year have just been a lot of bad luck, I think a lot of good teams would struggle in this confernece if they had to play their third string quarterback for a significant portion of the year.

Look football is usually a simple game, if you run the ball and you stop the run, you win games. I like the Beavers to do both against Concordia, so expect a Bemidji win this week.