Story and photo courtesy of Winona State Athletics
BISMARCK, N.D. – Rayon Simmons ran for 176 yards and four touchdowns to become Winona State’s all-time leading rusher in the Warriors’ 32-23 victory over the University of Mary Saturday in Bismarck.
Entering the game Simmons needed just 47 yards to break the record, a mark he reached just two plays into the second quarter. A ten yard touchdown run from Simmons – already his second of the day – pushed the senior past Kevin Curtin and into the top spot on the program’s career rushing list. Simmons now has 3,394 yards in his Winona State career.
Simmons was the only Warrior to find the end zone on the day, scoring from 14 yards out in the first quarter and adding his record-breaking ten-yard score in the second. His second touchdown put the Warriors up 13-0. Mary responded with a ten-play touchdown drive to get on the board, but a pair of Jake Vercher field goals gave WSU a 19-7 lead late in the half.
Mary quickly went down the field, scoring on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Craig Bagnell to Jeremy Mayfield to make the score 19-14 in favor of Winona State at the half.
The Marauders opened the second half with a field goal to pull within two, 19-17. That was as close as Mary would get, with Simmons scoring touchdowns on back-to-back WSU possessions in the fourth quarter to push the Warrior advantage to 32-17.
Simmons’ four touchdowns gives him 49 in his career, just four behind the WSU record of 53 shared by Chris Samp and Dave Ludy. Simmons’ 202 total yards in the game also pushes him into ninth place on the school’s career total offense charts (4,019).
The Warriors moved the ball well through the air to complement the ground game, with quarterback John Teigland completing 22 of 27 passes for 232 yards. Tyler Speer led the Warriors with seven catches for 93 yards while Sean Hertz added five receptions.
Winona State’s defense forced three turnovers, with the offense scoring 17 points off the Mary miscues. Anthony Resnick caused the first turnover of the day, forcing a fumble on a punt that was recovered by Ryan Singler. Chris Norgaard intercepted a pass in the second quarter that stopped a Mary drive and led to Vercher’s first field goal.
Tyler Kubler forced the Marauders’ third turnover of the day in the fourth quarter, sacking Bagnell and forcing a fumble that was recovered by Parker Detjens.
Norgaard added 11 total tackles to go with his interception while Ryan Williams, Ryan Gerts and Morgan Weaver each had eight stops. The Warrior defense also sacked Bagnell three times and broke up four of his passes.
Winona State will return to the field next week when it travels to Upper Iowa. Kickoff is set for 1 pm.