Wayne, Neb. --- Southwest Minnesota State snapped a seven-game losing streak to Wayne State Saturday evening with a 40-24 Northern Sun Conference football win over the Wildcats at the Regional Event Center in Marshall, Minnesota. The host Mustangs improve to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the NSIC South Division while Wayne State slips to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 in NSIC South Division play.
Wayne State took the opening drive of the game and marched 71 yards on seven plays with a five-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Kent to sophomore fullback Chad Koch giving the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead. Southwest Minnesota State also scored on their first drive, a 39-yard field goal from Lance Schuveiller, trimming the Wildcat lead to 7-3 with 7:02 to play in the first quarter.
The next three possessions for each team would become the story of the game as WSC punted on its next three possessions while SMSU scored touchdowns on their next three possessions to take a 23-7 lead late in the first half. Senior quarterback Tyler Peschong connected with Abe Kos on a 30-yard scoring pass with 2:18 to play in the first quarter giving the Mustangs a 10-7 lead. Early in the second quarter, Warren Matthews found the end zone on a 38 yard run and later was on the receiving end of a 72 yard pass from Peschong to push the Mustang lead to 23-7 with 4:57 to play in the first half. Wayne State got on the scoreboard again right before halftime as senior Max Martin booted a 43-yard field goal with 1:51 to play in the second quarter to make the halftime score 23-10.
Southwest Minnesota State then put the game out of reach early in the third quarter as the Mustangs turned a Wildcat fumble and interception on the first two drives of the third quarter into 10 SMSU points, giving the Mustangs a commanding 33-10 lead. A Lance Schuveiller 38-yard field goal and a 15-yard pass from Peschong to Kos were the 10 points scored by the Mustangs off two WSC turnovers to start the second half.
The Wildcats scored late in the third quarter on a Nick Pulscher three yard run at the 3:40 mark to close out scoring in the quarter with SMSU holding a 33-17 lead.
Each team scored in the fourth quarter as Gannon Moore hit paydirt on a five yard run for Southwest Minnesota State followed by a Pulscher’s second score of the night on a one-yard run with 7:55 to play to make the final score 40-24.
Southwest Minnesota State outyarded the Wildcats by a margin of 509-264. The Mustangs gained 324 yards on the ground with another 185 passing while WSC had 120 yards rushing and 144 passing. Wayne State’s top rusher was senior Nick Pulscher with 82 yards on 19 carries and two scores. Brian Kent completed 5 of 9 passes for 62 yards with one interception and one touchdown while Nate Most was 4 of 9 passing for 82 yards and one interception. Sophomore Adam Stark was the top WSC receiver with three receptions for 69 yards.
Defensively, junior Austan Pomajzl recorded a game-high 15 tackles to lead the Wildcats while senior Jeff Pokorny added 10 stops.
Wayne State will be at home next Saturday as the Wildcats host Winona State in a 1 p.m. Northern Sun Conference contest.