MANKATO, MN – Saturday afternoon featured a NSIC South Division showdown between a pair of 4-1 teams entering the day.
From Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minnesota, the Wildcat football team (RV) visited #11 Minnesota State-Mankato.
After falling behind 24-7 halfway through the third quarter, WSC was able to sustain enough drives and score four times in the final quarter to win 35-24. The Wildcats snapped a 12-game losing streak and secured their first win in program history against the Mavericks to improve to 5-1 (2-0 NSIC South) winning their fourth straight. Minnesota State-Mankato saw their three-game win streak snapped and fell to 4-2 (0-1 NSIC South).
Neither team scored in the first quarter which saw four Wildcat punts into the wind but the Mavericks couldn’t take advantage of the short field.
To begin the second quarter, MSU used a five-yard passing touchdown from redshirt freshman Hayden Ekern who connected with junior wideout Jalen Sample with 13:40 left in the first half.
Later in the second, WSC used two huge offensive plays when redshirt freshman Nick Bohn hooked up with junior Mason Lee on a 46-yard reception to set up a 40-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Anthony Watkins. Following the extra-point from junior Alex Powders, WSC tied the game up at 7-7 with 2:58 remaining in the half.
The Mavericks were then able to put a late second quarter drive together in the final 43 seconds which allowed junior Luke Williams to knock through a 41-yard field goal.
Minnesota State led WSC, 10-7 at the half.
After the Wildcats had to punt early in the third quarter and even fumbled a kickoff return, the 11th ranked Mavericks put two touchdowns on the board when senior JD Ekowa found senior wideout Parker Gloudemans from 29-yards (11:56) and redshirt freshman tailback Charles Coleman ran in from two-yards (9:16). Minnesota State led 24-7 late in the third quarter.
WSC remained calm and battled through adversity while putting together four straight scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Bohn ran in from a yard out three seconds into the fourth, Bohn also found senior Taurean Grady on a 71-yard strike (11:20); Watkins ran in from 32 yards (9:07) and Bohn recorded his second rushing touchdown this time from 21-yards (4:46).
Freshman defensive back Gerale Flye picked off Ekern twice in the final two possessions to seal off the 35-24 road Wildcat victory.
Watkins crossed 100 yards rushing for the second time in the past three weeks with 115 yards on 16 carries with two scores. Bohn had 18 carries for 73 yards but was sacked five times (all in first half) for 55 negative yards to finish with 18 net yards with two scores.
Bohn completed 14-18 for 234 yards with a touchdown. Grady hauled in three passes on five targets for 91 yards (45 after contact) and a score; senior Trystn Ducker caught all five passes his way for 66 yards (33 after contact) as Lee recorded four receptions on six targets with 65 yards (48 after contact).
Defensively, freshman linebacker Alex Kowalczyk finished with 13 tackles (eight solo), three tackles for loss and a sack while senior defensive back CJ Burress also had 13 tackles (10 solo).
Joining Kowalczyk with a sack each were freshman lineman Rex Becker and junior lineman Ryan Parker.
Junior linebackers Jaylan Scott and Nick Joynt both recovered fumbles forced by junior defensive back J’Von France and senior lineman Mike Monette as Flye added two INTs.
Wayne State College will next host #25 Augustana at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 16.
1st 2nd Half 3rd 4th Final:
0 7 7 0 24 35 – WSC
0 10 10 14 0 24 – Minnesota State