Despite the loss, Adam Connette is five touchdowns away from the school record for receiving touchdowns.
Wayne State College used 19 unanswered points in the second quarter to lift them to a 33-14 win over the University of Minnesota Crookston in the “NSIC Thursday Night Game of the Week” at Ed Widseth Field. The Golden Eagles were leading 7-0 with three minutes left in the second quarter. Wayne State used field position and big plays to go into the break up 19-7 after trailing 7-0 for the majority of the first half. The Wildcats added two scores in the second half to secure the victory over the Golden Eagles.
Minnesota Crookston falls to 0-3 despite playing some of the best football they have played in recent history. Wayne State improved to 2-1. The Wildcats moved to 8-1 in the all-time series. Thursday’s game was aired on Midco Sports Network in front of 1,512 fans at Ed Widseth Field.
The Golden Eagles were led by the play of all-time leading receiver Adam Connette (Sr., WR, Corona, Calif.). He finished Thursday with the best game of his impressive career in Crookston. Connette set a school record with 14 receptions and placed second all-time in school history with 153 yards receiving. Connette had two touchdown receptions on the day. He has pulled within five touchdowns of the receiving touchdowns record set by Carl Aho. Connette now has 18 receiving touchdowns to go with 199 receptions and 2,348 yards receiving yards.
Joseph Nava (R-Fr., QB, San Antonio, Texas) continued to show improvement in the passing game as he finished 26-of-45 for 279 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Nava also used his elusiveness in the run game to add 50 yards on 17 carries.
Rod Stewart (Jr., WR, Fort Worth, Texas) added six catches for 58 yards, while Spencer Stephens (R-Sr., TE, Orange, Calif.) had three catches for 51 yards. Kevin Evans (Jr., RB, Groveland, Fla.) rushed for 60 yards on 12 carries.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles forced three turnovers on the day. Minnesota Crookston would finish the game giving up 473 yards of offense to Wayne State. The Golden Eagles were led by seven tackles from Will Cole (Jr., DB, Compton, Calif.). Ali Alkhatib (R-Jr., LB, Rosemount, Minn.) notched six tackles and one tackle for loss. Austin Howard (R-Sr., DL, New Albany, Miss.) chipped in six tackles, one tackle for loss and a half sack. Will Cross (R-So., LB, Turtle Lake, Wis.) and Trevor Long, Jr. (R-So., DB, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) each had forced fumbles, while Donovan Baker (Fr., DB, Tampa, Fla.) added an interception.
Both defenses would control the pace of the game in the first quarter as neither team could find the end zone, despite moving the football in spurts.
The Golden Eagles finally put a drive together early in the second quarter led by a 41-yard pass from Nava to Stephens and a 30-yard run by Evans. The six-play, 85-yard drive would end with a two-yard pass from Nava to Connette to put Minnesota Crookston up 7-0.
“In the first half, I felt we outplayed them for about 27 minutes,” Head Coach Mark Dufner said. “Offensively, we were making plays and we were making stops defensively.”
The Wildcats drove down the field mid-way through the second quarter and appeared to fake the field goal when the long snapper Shaun Knipfer snapped the ball off of his leg. The ball would be recovered by Long as Wayne State came up empty.
The Golden Eagles had a chance to make a big statement following the turnover on downs. On third down, Nava threw a pass to Spencer Stephens who had the ball bounce off his hands with a good amount of field in front of him.
Wayne State got their first score of the game as Osborn found Walton for a 21-yard strike to make it 7-6. A failed Ethan Knudson point-after would keep the score right there.
Minnesota Crookston would move backwards the following drive, forcing Tappe to punt again. Late in the first half, the punting by UMC created a few short field situations for Wayne State and they capitalized.
The Wildcats went in as Osborn connected to Rogers for a 25-yard strike to make it 12-7 with a possible missed holding call. A failed run by Layne Sullivan kept the score at 12-7.
The Wildcats used a 47-yard pass from Osborn to Walton to wrap up their quick strike second quarter with 19 unanswered points, making the score Wayne State over Minnesota Crookston 19-7.
The Golden Eagles started the third quarter on a good note as they moved the ball to the Wayne State 14, but a failed fourth down would stall a drive for the U of M Crookston.
Wayne State quickly responded as Trimble used a 76-yard run to put the Wildcats up 26-7.
“We’re going to get back to the fundamentals,” Dufner said. “We had some mistakes contribute to killing drives offensively. All of those things add up. We weren’t able to get the offense on the field and the defense stayed on the field too long.”
The Golden Eagles forced a turnover in the middle of the third quarter as Cross knocked the ball out of Osborn’s hand, allowing Brendan Kinnee (Fr., LB, Buckeye, Ariz.) to jump on the ball.
Minnesota Crookston again moved the ball down the field on a 13-play, 74-yard drive. However, a 10-yard rush from Nava on fourth down would come one-yard short as the Golden Eagles turned the ball over on downs.
Wayne State added to their lead in the fourth quarter when Osborn connected with Rogers for a 52-yard strike to make it 33-7.
The Golden Eagles responded with one final drive on the game as they went 61 yards on 10 plays, culminating in a nine-yard pass from Nava to Connette to cut the lead to 33-14.
The touchdown would be too little, too late as Wayne State held on for the 33-14 victory.
UMC will return to action as they take on No. 7 University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, S.D. Sept. 23.