Courtesy of Wayne State Athletics
- The Wayne State University football team recorded a victory over the highest-ranked opponent in school history with a 14-9 triumph over No. 6 Hillsdale Saturday afternoon at WSU’s Adams Field.
Wayne State’s only previous victory over a top 10 squad, was a 25-14 triumph over ninth-ranked Michigan Tech on Oct. 8, 2005.
The Warriors never trailed in today’s contest, and the victory puts WSU in a tie for first in the GLIAC South Division with the Chargers with three games remaining.
Wayne State took the opening kickoff and held the ball for nearly six minutes in churning out an 11-play, 64-yard drive capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Mickey Mohner (Painesville, Ohio/Harvey) to senior tight end Austin Hughes (Beverly Hills, Mich./Birmingham Groves). It was Hughes’ first collegiate touchdown. Stefan Terleckyj (Warren, Mich./Warren Mott) PAT kick was good and WSU led 7-0 with 9:20 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors converted their only third down play on the drive as junior wide receiver Troy Burrell (Port Huron, Mich.) had an eight-yard reception on a third-and-four. Mohner completed all five pass attempts on the drive for 45 yards.
Hillsdale drove 45 yards in 12 plays using 6:09 of the clock with Colin McGreevy connecting on a 32-yard field goal attempt with 3:17 left in the first stanza.
Following a Warrior turnover in the red zone, the Chargers were stopped on a fourth-and-one at the WSU 31 as Serxho Guraleci (Sterling Hts., Mich./Utica Stevenson) and Raleigh Ross (Detroit, Mich./Crockett) teamed up to stop the GLIAC’s leading rusher, Joe Glendening, for no gain.
After a streak of three consecutive drives ending in punts, HC’s Troy Weatherhead tried a fourth down pass that was incomplete from the WSU 26.
Each team threw an interception on their next drives, with WSU redshirt freshman safety Antwon Robinson (Southfield, Mich.) recording his fourth of the campaign with nine seconds left before intermission.
Going into the wind in the third period, Hillsdale tried another fourth down pass on fourth-and-17 from the WSU 26 but it was also incomplete.
Following a Warrior punt, the Chargers drove inside the WSU five yard line but Weatherhead’s pass on third-and-goal was intercepted by junior safety Jeremy Jones (Grand Rapids, Mich./Rockford) in the end zone. Jones’ 100-yard interception return obviously ties the NCAA record and is the first 100-yard interception return for a TD by a WSU player since 1981 (John Kersey vs. SUNY-Buffalo on Oct. 3, 1981) and only the second time in the last 50 years. The first two occurrences came in 1959 (Angelo Nicholas vs. Allegheny; and Don Fears at Thiel).
HC pulled within five points (14-9) on the ensuing drive as Weatherhead completed a five-yard touchdown pass to Matt Terhune completing an eight play, 73-yard drive. The two-point pass attempt was incomplete.
Wayne State junior Josh Renel (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) returned the kickoff 41 yards to the WSU 45. The Warriors drove to the Charger two but a fourth-down pass was caught at the one-yard line.
Hillsdale managed just seven yards on three plays and was forced to punt from their eight yard line and WSU had the ball for the final 5:25 and ran out the clock with a 10-play drive. The key play on the game’s final drive was a 13-yard reception by Renel on a third-and-12 pass from Mohner.
Hillsdale ran 22 more offensive plays (74 to 52) and held the ball for an eight minute advantage (36 to 24) but the turnovers were even (two for each team). The Chargers had a 297-266 advantage in total yards. HC was held under 300 yards of total offense for the first time in 25 games, since a 41-10 loss at Grand Valley on Oct. 11, 2008.
Renel rushed for a game-high 143 yards on 22 carries (6.5 average) as the Warriors out-rushed the visitors 164-109. Glendening, the nation’s second-leading rusher (151 yards per game) was held to 90 yards on 25 attempts. He also had his streak of six straight 100-yard rushing games broken.
Mohner completed 13-of-18 for 102 yards and one touchdown, while Weatherhead, who entered the game second in the nation in passing efficiency (185.77 rating) completed 26-of-42 for 188 yards (76 yards below his average) and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Burrell led WSU with five receptions, while Renel had a team-best 33 receiving yards. HC’s Andre Holmes recorded a game-high seven catches for 75 yards.
Renel, who led the nation in all-purpose yards per game (193.83) had 216 yards (143 rushing, 33 receiving, 41 kickoff return and -1 punt return).
The Warrior defense was led by junior linebacker Raleigh Ross, who finished with a game-high 10 tackles (7-3). Jones had three pass break-ups and nine tackles (7-2) in addition to his 100-yard interception return. Freshman cornerback Cortez Smith (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech) has two pass break-ups and a tackle for loss among his five solo stops. Junior safety Kenny Loney (Novi, Mich./Walled Lake Western) contributed nine tackles (7-2) including a tackle for loss plus a pass break-up.
It was WSU’s third consecutive home game win over Hillsdale.
Wayne State visits Saginaw Valley for a noon kickoff on Oct. 30, before the home finale on Nov. 6 at noon vs. Indianapolis.
“Last year’s loss at Hillsdale was tough in a number of ways,” stated WSU head coach Paul Winters. “Today’s victory was special for our program. It was just the type of game Jack Cotton would have loved.”