MANKATO, MN – It was a slow start for Wayne State College during week 10 of the NSIC football schedule as the ‘Cats traveled to #1 Minnesota State-Mankato Saturday afternoon.
From Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minnesota the Mavericks took advantage of two first quarter turnovers before the Wildcat special teams kept the game close. Wayne State scored the most points that any team has put on the Maverick defense this season but lost the game, 48-27. Minnesota State-Mankato improves to 10-0 (6-0 NSIC South) while the ‘Cats fall to 5-5 (3-3 NSIC South).
MSU-Mankato opened the scoring column with a 43-yard field goal from junior placekicker Casey Bednarski. Following a fumble and interception by the Maverick defense, redshirt freshman tailback Justin Taormina scored a pair of rushing touchdowns from two-yards and one-yard out in the first quarter.
The Wildcat defense held Minnesota State to an early second quarter field goal from Bednarski of 24-yards before WSC would score twice and the Mavericks once in the final three minutes before half.
Wayne State College scored a pair of touchdowns through the air when sophomore quarterback Aaron Bleil found sophomore wideout Willie Walton twice (10-yards/16-yards). The Mavericks also scored through the air when sophomore quarterback Ryan Schlichte found senior wideout Ty Dennis on a 27-yard score.
At the half, Minnesota State-Mankato led Wayne State College 27-14.
In the third quarter, sophomore placekicker Ethan Knudson knocked through a pair of field goals (23-yards/32-yards) to make it a one score game entering the fourth.
WSC tied the game early in the fourth when Bleil found senior wideout Nate Rogers for a 45-yard passing touchdown at 27-27.
Minnesota State-Mankato then produced the three final scores of the ball game.
Schlichte found both his tight ends through the air of junior Trevor Nissen (35-yards) and sophomore Trevor Schmidt (eight-yards) while Taormina rushed in for his third rushing touchdown (two-yards). Final found Minnesota State-Mankato defeating Wayne State College, 48-27.
Wayne State had two special teams plays from junior Houston Huss on a punt block and junior Emile Hope on a punt return fumble recovery from the Mavericks.
Bleil entered the game in the second quarter in place of redshirt freshman Mitchell Hansen and went 16-36 for 253 yards with three touchdowns. Hansen was 1-5 for four yards with one interception. Rogers caught six passes for 92 yards with one score, Walton added six receptions for 73 yards and two scores and junior wideout Layne Sullivan added three grabs for 76 yards.
Senior running back Rashad Trimble led the ground game with seven carries for 25 yards.
Defensively, sophomore free safety Ian Ailts led the Wildcats with 11 tackles (nine solo) followed by junior cornerback Aaron Wright (six solo) and redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Elznic (five solo) with eight tackles each.
Wayne State College will close out their season with Upper Iowa at home on Saturday, November 11 at 1 p.m. Minnesota State will visit Sioux Falls at Noon.
Thursday, November 2*: Northern State 66 University of Mary 21
Sioux Falls 19, Upper Iowa 7
MSU Moorhead 22, Minot State 16
Augustana 28, Concordia-St. Paul 13
Winona State 45, Southwest Minnesota State 7
Bemidji State 17, St. Cloud State 10
Minnesota Duluth 54, Minnesota Crookston 6