Wayne State College scored 42 unanswered points to erase a 21-0 first half deficit, highlighted by a pair of special teams touchdowns, as the Wildcats outlasted Upper Iowa 42-35 Saturday afternoon in a Northern Sun Conference football South Division game played at Harms-Eischeid Stadium in Fayette, Iowa. Both teams are now 3-7 overall with WSC improving to 2-4 in the NSIC South while dropping UIU to 1-5 in divisional play.
The host Peacocks scored on three of their first four possessions, including one off a Wildcat turnover, to take a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Wildcat quarterback Aaron Bleil was intercepted on the second play of the game with Upper Iowa’s Jordan Wymer returning the interception 38 yards to the WSC 3. Ryan Parmely scored on a three-yard run and the Peacocks held a 7-0 lead just 30 seconds in the game.
Parmely scored again on a one-yard plunge at the 8:05 mark to put Upper Iowa in front 14-0 and the Peacocks struck again early in the second quarter for a 21-0 advantage on a Antoine Conner 16-yard run with 14:14 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wildcat senior Aaron Wright fielded the ball from his own 16-yard line and raced 84 yards for a score getting the Wildcats on the board, trailing 21-7.
Following an Upper Iowa punt, the ‘Cats marched 84 yards on 12 plays with Bleil throwing a three-yard scoring pass to senior wide receiver Nate Rogers trimming the Peacock lead to 21-14 with 8:27 to play second quarter.
Late in the second quarter, WSC tied the game on another Bleil to Rogers scoring play, this one from four yards with 1:05 to play before halftime, to make the score 21-21 at intermission.
Wayne State took the lead for good on the first series of the third quarter as the Wildcats forced an Upper Iowa punt and freshman Nicholas Joynt blocked the punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown giving WSC a 28-21 lead.
WSC forced another three and out by UIU and after a six yard punt had the ball at the Peacock 29. Freshman Alex Thramer came in at quarterback and led the ‘Cats to another scoring drive, culminating in a Marlon Warren one-yard run to put the Wildcats ahead 35-21 with 9:07 to play third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, WSC linebacker Tyler Thomsen intercepted an Upper Iowa pass and covered 49 yards returning the ball to the UIU 5. One play later, Warren scored his second touchdown of the quarter to cap a streak of 42 straight points scored by the Wildcats on a five yard run giving Wayne State a 42-21 lead.
Upper Iowa rallied in the fourth quarter. The Peacocks used a Ryan Parmely one-yard run to make the score 42-28 with 14:22 to play and scored again on a six-yard pass from Brent Lammers to D.J. Emsweller with 2:54 to get within 42-35.
The Peacocks got the ball back one more time at UIU intercepted Wildcat quarterback Alex Thramer, getting the ball at their own 49 with 2:38 to play. Wayne State’s defense answered the call and stopped the Peacocks, thanks to sacks of 12 yards by Jacob Protzman and Josh Taylor and a 17-yard sack by Kolbie Foster on fourth down as WSC then ran out the clock to seal the 42-35 NSIC South Division road victory.
Upper Iowa outgained Wayne State in the contest 523-248. The ‘Cats had 99 yards rushing and 149 passing while UIU gained 167 yards rushing and 356 passing.
Sophomore Maliki Wilson led the Wildcat rushing attack with 63 yards on 28 carries while Thramer gained 26 yards on five rushes. Sophomore Marlon Warren had three carries for six yards and two TD runs.
Quarterback Aaron Bleil completed 11 of 21 passes for 112 yards with two TD’s and two interceptions while Thramer was 2 of 4 with one interception for 37 yards. Nate Rogers had four catches for 60 yards and two TD’s with sophomore tight end Conner Paxton adding three catches for 35 yards.
Junior linebacker Tyler Thomsen recorded a game-high 15 tackles with one interception and one breakup. Emile Hope contributed 11 tackles and one pass breakup.
Wayne State closes the regular season next Saturday with a 1 p.m. game at Sioux Falls.