Rock Island, Ill., has something else to offer the world besides being the home of Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues -- the Blues Brothers.

It's the home of Augustana College. You've heard of it. Think about when the announcer on the college football broadcast mentions "Tiny Augustana" winning another game.

And tiny Augustana, a liberal arts college of 2,100, knows how to win football games. Since Dec. 4, 1982, when the Vikings lost the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl -- the NCAA Division III championship game -- to West Georgia, 14-0, Augustana has gone 58-0-1 and won an unprecedented four consecutive national championships.

The tie came in the 1986 season opener against Elmhurst, and is the only blemish for the only team in NCAA history to win at least three straight football championships.

The all-time collegiate unbeaten streak in football, according to the NCAA, is 63 games by the University of Washington, which went 59-0-4 between 1907 and 1917. With its 59-game mark, Augustana is second on the all-time list.

"From 1:30 to 5, it's the same game, whether you're at at a high school of 100 or a metropolitan college of 50,000," said Coach Bob Reade, who in his ninth season at Augustana has a 90-8-1 record. "What makes it the same game is that it's all relative. You have 10,000 guys, I have 10,000 guys."

"It doesn't really build up that much on us," said junior center John Bothe, who has started every game in his three seasons. "We don't get a lot of publicity. It never gets to the point where it becomes distracting."

The Vikings have not lost a regular season football game since Oct. 18, 1980, 60 games ago. Or, look at it this way: This season's seniors were freshmen in high school the last time the Vikings lost, and this season's freshmen were in the sixth grade.

Going into the Division III playoffs, this season's 18 seniors have a chance to go through their entire collegiate careers without a loss, just as the 15 seniors on the 1986 team did.

"It's not all us. It's five years' worth of teams," said Bothe, a second-team academic all-America last season. "We take that approach for it. It makes us more consistent."

The Vikings (8-0) finished their seventh straight unbeaten regular season with a 48-12 victory over MacMurray last Saturday and are top-ranked in Division III. Augustana clinched its seventh straight College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championship Oct. 31 with a 28-7 victory over North Central.

"I have as much trouble trying to figure it out as anyone else," said Reade, who is no stranger to winning streaks, having coached the Darnall (Ill.) high school team to a 52-game, six-season unbeaten streak before coming to Augustana.

"We're doing something that hasn't been done before," Reade said, "so it's difficult to put a finger on what we do differently."

This season, they've rolled up scores of 38-3, 69-0, 52-3 and 48-14. Their closest shave this season was a nail-biting 27-13 victory over Carroll on Sept. 26. The Vikings have outscored their opponents, 378-73, averaging 42 points a game.

And what about that two-touchdown victory over Carroll? Was it close?

"It was and it wasn't," said senior wingback Dennis Fraikes, who has more than 1,000 career rushing yards although he has never started a game. "It was close in the first half. But then we came out and dominated in the second half. We didn't get up for the game."

Offensively, the Vikings are a blue serge suit. They run and run and run, an ironic trait for a school that produced former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson. Augustana averages 369.1 yards a game from its wing-T formation. Fraikes leads the team with 943 yards, but five other players have at least 100 yards rushing this season.

"Actually, it's very basic," said Fraikes, "when you sit down and draw it up. We just do it better."

"It's as basic as you're going to see in college football," Bothe said. "It works if everybody works hard. There's not a lot of fancy terminology on offense or defense."

"We do have a way," said Reade, a four-time recipient of national coach of the year honors by the American Football Coaches Association of America. "We have a style that's kind of ours and our coaches do a great job of teaching."

The Vikings have a quarterback, senior Greg Wallace. But he doesn't throw that much. It's gotten to the point that when Wallace threw for three touchdowns in Augustana's season opener, the Moline Daily Dispatch and Argus wrote about a "passing attack that ate up 77 yards . . . for Augustana {those numbers} are astounding."

"I like it the way it is," said Wallace, who also plays baseball for the Vikings. "When we do pass, it opens it up because teams are playing the run. It helps my completion percentage."

Defensively, the Vikings allowed 43.6 yards a game rushing, have intercepted 23 passes and have only given up 100 yards rushing once in the last 20 games. A fourth-quarter rushing touchdown by MacMurray Saturday broke Augustana's 77-quarter streak of not allowing such scores.

But, sooner or later, this streak has to end. Doesn't it?

"Oh, heavens no," Reade said in mock dismay. "I'll probably get fired. I don't think any of our people think that way, either. In high school, we all made the mistake of saying 'it's got to end, it's got to end sometime.' That's negative. . . .

"The amazing thing about this is you've overcome all the reasons why failure exists. You've overcome the weather, the fumbles . . . How many teams are unbeaten? Three years ago, we were the only unbeaten, untied team in the nation. That's how precious it is."