Wildcats drop double overtime heartbreaker to Minnesota Duluth 34-31

Wildcats drop double overtime heartbreaker to Minnesota Duluth 34-31
COURTESY: Wayne State Athletics Department.

Box Score Minnesota Duluth 34 Wayne State 31 (2 OT)

Minnesota Duluth’s Dan Branger booted a 27-yard field goal in the second overtime to give the visiting Bulldogs a 34-31 double overtime victory over Wayne State College Saturday afternoon at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.  Both teams are now 2-2 on the season entering NSIC divisional play next weekend.

Wayne State dominated the first part of the opening stanza, scoring on their first two possessions for a 14-0 lead midway through the quarter.

The ‘Cats took the opening drive and marched 80 yards on just six plays as senior quarterback Zach Osborn tossed a six-yard scoring strike to Nate Rogers, giving WSC a 7-0 lead.

WSC forced a UMD turnover on the Bulldogs’ first offensive play from scrimmage as senior Taylor Hoffman forced a fumble on a completed pass to Jason Balts with DeWayne Scott recovering at midfield.

Wayne State converted the turnover into points as senior running back Rashad Trimble hit paydirt on a four yard run that put the Wildcats in front 14-0 with 8:29 to go first quarter.

UMD closed out the first quarter scoring on a Dan Branger 22-yard field goal with 4:52 to play in the quarter making the score 14-3.

The Bulldogs took advantage of a fumbled punt return by Wayne State’s Willie Walton inside the five-yard line to score their first touchdown of the game early in the second quarter as UMD’s Nolan Folkert plunged in from one yard out to cut the Wildcat lead to 14-10 at the 13:38 mark.

Defense then took over for a good share of the second quarter as the two teams had five straight punts before each club scored in the final 32 seconds of the first half.

UMD’s Ben Everhart fired a 32-yard pass to Jason Balts to give the Bulldogs their first lead at 17-14 with 32 seconds left in the first half.

WSC responded as the ‘Cats moved 47 yards on just three plays with Rogers and Osborn hooking up on a 30-yard scoring strike with six seconds to play in the half, putting the Wildcats up at intermission 21-17.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but WSC had a golden opportunity to score early following a UMD turnover that give the ‘Cats the ball at the UMD 21.  But on first and goal from the UMD 7, Osborn’s pass in the corner of the end zone for Nate Rogers was intercepted by the Bulldogs’ Dennis Archibald for a touchback.

Minnesota Duluth took a 24-21 lead at the 12:21 mark of the fourth quarter as Everhart found the end zone on an eight-yard run to culminate a 15-play, 85 yard drive.

WSC took the lead back midway through the quarter thanks to a Glenn Harris interception and return of 17 yards that gave WSC the ball at the UMD 18.  Four plays later, Trimble scored on a seven-yard run that gave the Wildcats a 28-24 advantage with 5:52 to play.

The Bulldogs answered again as Anthony Wood found the end zone with a one-yard run to cap a six play, 60-yard drive that gave UMD a 31-28 lead with 3:04 to play.

Wayne State then marched down the field, using pass plays of 20 yards to Layne Sullivan, 26 to Willie Walton and 24 to Rogers that gave the ‘Cats a first and goal inside the UMD 10 with just over one minute to play.  But WSC could not get into the end zone and used an Ethan Knudson 20-yard field goal with five seconds left to send the game into overtime tied at 31.

UMD had the ball first in overtime and WSC got an interception from senior linebacker DeWayne Scott on the Bulldogs second play at the WSC 7 to give the ‘Cats the ball.

WSC then used an 18-yard pass to junior Shymere Williams for a first and goal at the UMD 2.  After running one play for no gain, WSC went for the game-winning 20-yard field goal by Knudson, but UMD came up with a block to send the game into a second overtime.

Wayne State had the ball first in the second overtime and the Bulldogs intercepted Zach Osborn on a 3rd and 13 from the 28 to give the Bulldogs the ball.

UMD then drove the ball to the WSC seven-yard line and brought in Branger for the game-winning 27-yard field goal giving the Bulldogs the 34-31 double overtime win over the Wildcats.

Minnesota Duluth finished the game with 468 yards compared to 417 for the Wildcats.  Neither team rushed the ball well with UMD gaining 46 yards to 37 by the Wildcats.  The Bulldogs had 422 yards passing with WSC gaining 380 through the air.

Trimble led the Wildcats on the ground with 58 yards on 20 carries and two scores.

Osborn completed 28 of 46 passes for 380 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.  Junior Layne Sullivan hauled in career-highs with 14 receptions for 151 yards.  The 14 catches is tied for fifth-most in a single game by a Wildcat receiver.  Senior Nate Rogers added six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.  The senior from South Sioux City now has 21 career TD passes, tied with Maurice Mintken for the fourth-most in school history.

Defensively, Ian Ailts had a team-high eight tackles followed by senior linebacker DeWayne Scott with seven.  Scott also had two fumble recoveries and an interception in overtime.  Tyler Thomsen followed with six tackles while senior Glenn Harris had five and one interception for 17 return yards.

The Wildcats open South Division play at Augustana next Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m. in Sioux Falls.