Wild finish nets 27-23 win for Wildcats

Redshirt freshman quarterback Mitchell Hansen fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Nate Rogers on third-and-14 with :23 left, giving Wayne State College a dramatic 27-23 win Saturday over Concordia-St. Paul in Northern Sun Conference action at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.

The first quarter was an offensive slugfest. Wayne State scored on the second play of the game as senior running back Rashad Trimble raced 70 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead just 48 seconds into the contest. Wayne State made it 14-0 led later in the first as junior quarterback Taylor Reedy fired a 20-yard scoring pass to Layne Sullivan at the 3:01 mark of the quarter.

Concordia-St. Paul marched 67 yards on five plays, with sophomore quarterback Maxon Hutton finding the end zone on a nine-yard run making the score 14-7 after one quarter. Both teams kicked field goals to make it 17-10 at intermission, with Ethan Knudson hitting from 18 yards out early in the second quarter and the Golden Bears answering later in the period.

The game turned into a defensive struggle for the third quarter and most of the fourth. Wayne State was limited to just 40 yards in the third quarter while Concordia-St. Paul used two more field goals to pull within one at 17-16 entering the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats put together a 10-play, 50 yard drive late third quarter and into the fourth and scored on a 32-yard field goal from Knudson to make it 20-16 with 14:03 to play.

Later in the quarter, Concordia-St. Paul blocked a Wayne State punt and had the ball first-and-goal at the Wildcats 7-yard line, but the Wildcat defense held the Golden Bears and got the ball back on downs. Concordia-St. Paul then forced a three-and-out and got the ball in great field position at the Wayne State 34. Four plays later, the Golden Bears took their first lead of the game as backup quarterback Ron Johnson connected with Deceon Schumann on a three-yard pass, giving CSP a 23-20 lead with 2:56 remaining.

Hansen came on in place of Reedy, who was injured in the third period, and directed the Wildcats on a game-winning drive that covered 11 plays and 75 yards, ending on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Rogers for his only catch of the game with :23 left, giving the Wildcats the dramatic come-from-behind win.

Trimble led the Wildcats on the ground with 96 yards on 12 carries and one score, followed by Hansen with 43 yards on eight attempts.

Reedy completed 6-of-11 passes for 62 yards and one score while Hansen was 4-of-13 for 47 yards and a touchdown. Sullivan led the Wildcats in receiving with 47 yards on four catches.  Rogers moved into second place all-time in career touchdown catches at Wayne State with his 25th scoring reception, his lone catch of the game.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Elznic paced the Wildcat defense with nine tackles and one fumble recovery. Ian Ailts added eight stops with a forced fumble and interception to end the game.  Senior linebacker DeWayne Scott also had eight tackles while Aaron Wright and Glenn Harris each had interceptions for the Wildcats.

Wayne State (5-4, 3-2 NSIC South) will be on the road next Saturday for an NSIC South Division game at No. 3-ranked Minnesota State with kickoff set for 12 p.m. at Mankato, Minn.

The Wayne Herald

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