Wild fourth quarter nets second upset for Wildats

MANKATO, Minn. — It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts.

The upstart Wayne State football team notched its second upset of a ranked opponent this season with a wild fourth-quarter rally that turned a 17-point deficit into a 35-24 win over No. 11 Minnesota State Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium.

The first-ever win by the Wildcats over the Mavericks came thanks to a 28-point fourth quarter, the third time this season the Wildcats have put that many points up in one period this season, erasing a 24-7 Maverick advantage to improve the Wildcats to 5-1 on the season.

After a scoreless first period, the Mavericks opened the scoring with a five-yard pass from Hayden Ekern to Jalen Sample for a 7-0 Minnesota State advantage.

Wayne State’s offense struggled to get something going early ,but used two big plays to tie the score. Nick Bohn connected with Wayne native Mason Lee on a 46-yard pass play, setting up a 40-yard scoring run by Anthony Watkins to make it 7-7 with 2:58 to go before halftime.

Minnesota State tacked on a late field goal to lead 10-7 at the break, then scored twice in the third period and looked to be in control of the game with a 24-7 lead.

Minnesota State scored on the first drive of the second half on a 29-yard pass from JD Ekowa to Parker Gloudemans, then surprised the Wildcats with an onside kick that they recovered and scored on a two-yard run by Charles Coleman to make it 24-7 with 9:16 left in the third.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcat offense came to life.

John started the comeback with a one-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 24-14. After an MSU punt, the Wildcats scored again on a 71-yard pass from John to Taurean Grady to make it 24-21 with 11:20 to go.

Wayne State forced the first of three fourth-quarter turnovers by the Mavericks and Watkins scored three plays later to give Wayne State a 28-24 lead with 9:07 to go. The Wildcats put it out of reach after another Maverick turnover, with Bohn going 21 yards for the final score with 4:46 to play.

Wayne State’s defense helped seal the deal, thanks to interceptions by Gerale Flye in the final minutes that gave the Wildcats their first-ever win over Minnesota State.

Watkins rushed for 115 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead WSC in rushing.  Bohn added two rushing scores on runs of one and 21 yards.

Throwing the ball, Bohn completed 14-of-18 passes for 234 yards and one score. Trystn Ducker had five catches for 68 yards, Lee had four for 65 yard and Grady had three for 91 yards and a score.

Defensively, CJ Burress and Alex Kowaliczyk both had 13 tackles. Jaylan Scott an Niocholas Joyrt both recovered fumbles and Flye had two interceptions.

The Wildcats will face their third ranked opponent in four games Saturday when they host No. 25 Augustana in a 1 p.m. matchup at Bob Cunningham Field.

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