Wayne State (Mich.) fights back
Warriors win program’s first playoff game in dramatic fashion
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- Wayne State (9-3 overall), appearing in the first post-season game in the 94-year history of the program, rallied from a 21-6 second quarter deficit to post a 48-38 road victory at third-seeded St. Cloud State (9-3) Saturday afternoon. The game was played in sub-freezing temperatures with snow falling the entire contest.
Sophomore running back Toney Davis rushed for a WSU single-game record 326 yards on 38 carries. He also scored five rushing touchdowns.
The Warriors started slowly and trailed 21-6 three minutes into the second stanza before tallying 21 consecutive points before the host Huskies kicked a 23-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half.
Senior Josh Renel returned the opening kickoff 44 yards plus a 15-yard horsecollar tackle on SCSU put the Warriors at the St. Cloud 33. Two running plays by Renel for three yards and two consecutive incompletions turned the ball over on downs.
The Huskies drove to the WSU 25 but junior cornerback Aaron Cornett intercepted a fourth-down pass and returned it 22 yards to the Warrior 39.
Wayne State went three-and-out and sophomore Stefan Terleckyj had his punt blocked all the way to the WSU three. On the ensuing play, Dante Steward scored the game's first touchdown.
Renel's 22-yard kickoff return was followed by four consecutive Toney Davis runs totaling 14 yards. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on a third-and-eight incompletion moved the ball to the SCSU 39. Four more runs by Davis concluded on a two-yard TD run. A bobbled hold resulted in a kick wide on the PAT keeping the Huskies ahead 7-6.
St. Cloud answered back with a 48-yard TD drive on four plays following a 30-yard kickoff return and a questionable pass interference call on WSU on a pass that looked uncatchable. TD play was a 30-yard pass play from Phillip Klaphake to Renard Robinson on a fourth-and-three.
After a Wayne State fumble, the Huskies increased their lead to 21-6 on a nine-play, 45-yard drive which culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Michael Walker.
Renel took the ensuing kickoff at the WSU 32 and returned it 29 yards into Huskie territory, but the drive ended with a punt.
The Warrior defense stepped up and forced a punt. After two Davis runs netted a first down, Renel recorded his longest run of the season on a 55-yard TD scamper which pulled WSU within a score at 21-13.
On St. Cloud's ensuing possession, a fumbled snap by the punter on fourth down gave Wayne State great field position at the SCSU 41. Following a five-yard completion from junior Mickey Mohner to senior Troy Burrell, Davis went 36 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the first half.
The Huskies garnered one first down but on the St. Cloud punt, Renel was interfered with giving WSU the ball at its own 37. Two Davis runs and a 19-yard completion to Burrell gave the Warriors a first-and-10 at the SCSU 18. After a three-yard run by Davis, he surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau on a 15-yard touchdown run. His third score of the first half put the Warriors ahead 27-21 following Terleckyj's third consecutive PAT.
Tyler Aldridge's 23-yard field goal with 1.8 seconds left before intermission pulled the host Huskies within three at 27-24.
Total offense was nearly even for the first 30 minutes with WSU holding a 229-206 advantage. Wayne State led in rushing (202-41), but SCSU had a 165-27 lead in passing yards.
Davis had 17 carries for 142 yards and three scores in the first half, while Klaphake led the Huskies by completing 14-of-23 passes for 165 yards and one score.