WSU makes it two in a row

A week after upsetting the number one team in the nation, the Winona State football team racked up 511 yards of total offense in a 45-31 victory over Wayne State at Altra Federal Credit Union Stadium on Saturday.

Paul Preston had a huge day, accruing 218 all-purpose yards, including 106 as a receiver, but would leave the game early in the third quarter, while Jack Nelson completed 20-of-30 tosses for 336 yards and three touchdowns.

After Nelson found Lorenzo Mitchell to put the Warriors ahead 7-3, Wayne State (4-5, 4-5 NSIC) unleashed a 16-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up over eight minutes of clock and culminated in a Ryan Ludlow touchdown. At 10-7, the Wildcats would not lead again.

In fact, WSU (5-4, 5-4) scored three straight touchdowns to close out the opening half. Eric Birth ran one in from 30 yards out with 4:46 left in the half, Preston then delivered a 19-yard sprint after a Wayne State three-and-out and Nelson targeted Nick Margiotta for a two-yard score after another Wildcats three-and-out to make it 28-10 in favor of Winona State with 21 seconds remaining in the first half.

The Warriors had to withstand a scare in the second, however.

Alan May and Preston each lost fumbles on WSU’s first two drives, the second of which resulted in Wayne State reaching the end zone on a Lane Yates six-yard run. Preston then fumbled on the ensuing kick-off, which led to Ludlow’s second score of the afternoon to make it 28-24.

The Warriors bent, but would not break, answering back with a Carter McCauley field goal. Nelson then hit Cameron Johnson in the corner of the end zone for a tally and Elliot Cox concluded WSU’s scoring with a two-yard rushing touchdown to make it 45-31.

Birth led Winona State with 76 yards rushing, Preston paced all receivers with 106 yards on just two catches while May, Johnson and Dylan Ulferts combined for 16 snags and 212 yards.

Ian Murray collected a game-high 14 tackles and Mike Imperiale had nine.

Ludlow finished with 174 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries for Wayne State.

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