Story and photo courtesy of Wayne State (Neb.) Athletics
Wayne State built an early 13-0 lead, then held back a Minot State rally in the second half, followed by a late touchdown to give the Wildcats a 20-6 Northern Sun Conference football win Saturday afternoon over Minot State at Cunningham Field in Wayne. The host Wildcats move to 2-0 on the season with the win while the visiting Beavers fall to 0-2.
The Wildcats opened the scoring late in the first quarter as senior placekicker Max Martin kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 31 seconds play, capping an 84 yard drive on nine plays. Wayne State scored on their next possession early in the second quarter as junior quarterback Nate Most found Adam Stark on a 47 yard scoring strike, giving the Wildcats a 10-0 advantage with 14:02 to play in the second quarter. WSC added another score midway through the second quarter on a 35 yard field goal by Martin, putting the Wildcats in front 13-0 at halftime.
The third quarter saw Minot State take their first drive of the second half inside the Wildcat 20-yard line before Wayne State's Nick Lewis intercepted a pass by Zac Cunha at the Wildcat 14 to stop the Beaver scoring threat. The remainder of the quarter was controlled by both defenses with neither team scoring as Minot State had 67 yards in the third quarter to Wayne State's 62.
With Wayne State still leading 13-0, Minot State drove the ball early in the fourth quarter to the Wildcat two yard line where sophomore linebacker Jared Curry stopped Beaver running back Blake Eggl on a 4th and 1 to give the 'Cats the ball on downs stopping a potential Minot State score . After WSC went three and out, Minot State took over from their own 46 yard line and drove 54 yards for their first score of the game, a four-yard pass from Zac Cunha to Wayne Peters making the score 13-6 after MSU missed the extra point kick with 7:32 left in the game.
Wayne State then took the ensuing drive and used a ball-control drive, eating up 6:27 off the clock as senior running back Nick Pulscher scored from the one yard line with 1:05 to play, capping a 15-play, 75 yard drive that sealed the win for Wayne State making the final score 20-6.
The Wildcats finished the game with 338 yards of total offense compared to 278 for Minot State. WSC had 161 rushing and 177 passing while the Beavers gained 69 on the ground and 209 through the air.
Wayne State's top rusher was Nick Pulscher with 82 yards on 15 carries followed by Charlie Davidson with 61 yards on 17 attempts. Junior quarterback Nate Most completed just 10 of 32 passes for 177 yards with one touchdown. His top receiver was sophomore Adam Stark with 89 yards on four receptions including a 47-yard touchdown.
For Minot State, freshman quarterback Zac Cunha was 17 of 36 passing for 209 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Wayne Peters hauled in a game-high seven catches for 67 yards and one score while Blake Eggl topped the Beaver ground attack with 49 yards on 18 carries.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jared Curry had 11 tackles with two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Senior defensive end Richard Daniel added 10 tackles with two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss for 15 yards.
Wayne State will be on the road next Saturday when the Wildcats visit Bemidji State for a 1 p.m. Northern Sun Conference contest.