Turnovers hurt Wildcats in 23-17 loss at St. Cloud
St. Cloud State converted four Wayne State turnovers into 10 points and Adam Stage booted a pair of fourth-quarter field goals to give the Huskies a 23-17 Northern Sun Conference football victory over the Wildcats Saturday at Husky Stadium in St. Cloud, Minn.
Wayne State struck first as freshman quarterback Alex Thramer found the end zone on a two-yard run to cap a 48-yard drive on 11 plays, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter.
St. Cloud State answered the Wildcat score on the ensuing drive, as the Huskies used a 27-yard pass play from Justin Czech to John Solberg to even the score at 7-7 with 2:35 remaining in the first quarter.
The Huskies took advantage of a Wildcat fumble late in the second quarter to record the lone points of the second quarter. Starting from the Wildcat 28, the Huskies took the lead on a seven-yard strike from Czech to John Pass to grab a 14-7 lead at the 2:35 mark of the second quarter.
Wayne State scored on their first possession of the third quarter, taking advantage of a Mason Lee 22-yard punt return that gave the Wildcats the ball at the Huskies’ 30. The Wildcats moved the ball to the St. Cloud 8 and got a 25-yard field goal from Ethan Knudson to cut the Husky lead to 14-10 with 11:44 to play third quarter.
St. Cloud State responded with a field goal on the following drive, using a 26-yard field goal from Adam Stage to push the lead back to seven at 17-10 with 9:21 to go in the quarter.
Later in the third quarter, Wayne State tied the game as Thramer threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to senior Nate Rogers that capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive to even the score at 17-17 with 18 seconds to play third quarter.
The Huskies regained the lead for good with 12:53 to play in the game on a 40-yard field goal from Adam Stage, then added insurance points late in the quarter following a Wildcat interception as Stage booted a 39-yard field goal with :57 seconds remaining.
Wayne State had one last chance with the ball at the end of the game as they drove to the Huskies’ 35 before a Thramer pass was intercepted at the St. Cloud 10 to end the game.
Wayne State held a slight advantage in total offense over St. Cloud State 325-316. The Wildcats had 56 yards rushing and 269 yards passing while St. Cloud State gained 112 yards on the ground and 204 in the air.
Maliki Wilson led the Wildcats on the ground with 66 yards on 24 carries, followed by Thramer with 15 yards on 13 attempts and one touchdown.
Thramer completed 18-of-33 passes for 254 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while redshirt freshman Brady Brandsfield was 2-for-2 and 15 yards.
Rogers hauled in a team-high nine catches for 141 yards and one score. He became the seventh Wildcat in school history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark (2,078 yards) and, with nine catches, moved into fourth place all-time with 155 career receptions. Conner Paxton added five catches for 34 yards.
Ian Ailts led the Wildcat defense with nine tackles, one sack and one breakup while Tyler Thomsen added eight tackles. Donte Brooks had one interception for 38 return yards.
The Wildcats (1-5) will be at home next Saturday, hosting MSU Moorhead in a 1 p.m. contest at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.