Wayne State scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:25 at the end of the first half to erase a sluggish first half as the Wildcats posted a 33-14 Northern Sun Conference football victory Thursday evening at Minnesota Crookston. WSC improves to 2-1 on the year while UMC drops to 0-3.
It was a sluggish first half for both teams until Wayne State scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:25 to end the first half for a 19-7 lead at intermission.
Wayne State opened the game with four punts, an interception and fumble on its first six possessions while UMC was forced to punt five times by the Wildcat defense.
Minnesota Crookston scored midway through the second quarter for the first points of the contest as the Golden Eagles marched 85 yards on just six plays, capped by a two-yard TD pass from Joseph Nava to Adam Connette to put UMC in front 7-0.
The Wildcats started their late first half scoring surge at the 3:09 mark of the second quarter on a 21-yard pass from Zach Osborn to Willie Walton, trimming the Golden Eagle lead to 7-6 following a failed PAT kick.
WSC then forced a three and out on UMC and took advantage of a 14-yard punt to get the ball at the Golden Eagle 26-yard line. Two plays later, Osborn connected with senior Nate Rogers on a 25-yard scoring play to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game at 12-7 with 1:21 to play before halftime.
The Wildcat defense created a turnover as Emile Hope intercepted a UMC pass giving the Wildcats the ball at their own 32-yard line with 1:07 to play in the second quarter.
WSC converted the turnover into points as Osborn fired a 47-yard pass to Willie Walton for a touchdown with just 44 seconds left in the half, giving the Wildcats a 19-7 lead at halftime.
Wayne State’s first play of the second half went for a touchdown as senior running back Rashad Trimble raced 76 yards for a score, giving the Wildcats a 26-7 lead with 11:11 remaining in the third quarter for the lone score of the quarter.
The game stayed 26-7 until midway through the fourth quarter when the Wildcats turned another UMC turnover into points. Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Elznic recovered a Golden Eagle fumble at the WSC 45. Two plays into the drive, Osborn fired a short pass to Nate Rogers who outran the UMC secondary for a 52-yard scoring play to give Wayne State a 33-7 lead with 5:01 to play in the game.
Minnesota Crookston added a late score with 2:20 left in the game as Nava and Connette connected on a scoring play for the second time in the game on a nine-yard strike to make the score 33-14.
Wayne State finished the game with 473 yards of total offense to 401 for Minnesota Crookston. The ‘Cats gained 220 on the ground and 253 passing with the Golden Eagles gaining 122 rushing and 279 passing. Both teams had 19 first downs.
Senior Rashad Trimble led the Wildcats on the ground with 185 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown.
Quarterback Zach Osborn threw four touchdown passes for a second straight game, completing 14 of 23 passes for 253 yards and one interception. Sophomore Willie Walton hauled in six catches for 101 yards and two scores while senior Nate Rogers produced five catches for 114 yards and two TD’s.
Senior linebacker DeWayne Scott had a team-high 11 tackles with one sack and one forced fumble to lead the Wildcat defense. Ian Ailts and Tyler Thomsen each added 10 tackles for WSC. Emile Hope had one interception while Ben Elznic added a fumble recovery for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, September 23rd hosting #20 Minnesota Duluth in a 1 p.m. contest at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.