St. Cloud St. clinchs win against No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth with last play
ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- After more than 1,000 combined yards of total offense and 100 points, St. Cloud State celebrated a 51-49 win against No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth, dealing the Bulldogs their first defeat of the season.
SCSU senior quarterback Phillip Klaphake took the final snap with three seconds remaining and slung a touchdown strike to Michael Walker that erased the Bulldogs’ 49-45 lead at the final gun.
Klaphake finished with a school-record 466 yards through the air, 80 more on the ground and six touchdowns. UMD, which has lost just three times in its last 32 games away from Duluth since 2007 (two of those times to St. Cloud State), finished with frustration.
“It’s too bad somebody had to lose,” UMD head coach Bob Nielson said. “But I’m proud of our guys. They played hard.”
Saturday’s bout was the highest-scoring game ever played between the foes in a rivalry dating back to 1933 – and it was affirmation that no lead, and certainly no opponent, can ever be taken lightly.
It was on this same field exactly 11 months ago to the day that SCSU slowed UMD’s roll toward a fourth consecutive NSIC crown with a stunning 35-7 defeat. The Huskies took a different route to the same outcome this time. They trailed throughout, gaining the lead in the final quarter. UMD senior quarterback Chase Vogler quickly regained the lead only to have it surrendered again in the last 1:16.
“Give St. Cloud credit,” Nielson said. “They crawled back in the game and made a play at the end.”
Vogler threw for 164 yards, ran for 120 more and figured in on six of UMD's seven touchdowns - four rush and two pass. His throwing scores -- to sophomore Zach Zweifel and junior Jeremy Reierson -- gave UMD a quick 14-0 lead, but there would be no run-away victory for the Bulldogs (4-1).
SCSU (3-2) weathered the early storm and Klaphake hit Taylor Berger with a 23-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to awaken the Huskies. His scoring strike swung momentum, but only for a moment as UMD’s Justin Fowlkes took the kickoff 61 yards to the Huskies 32. However a holding penalty nullified much of the gain and Vogler threw an interception six plays later, setting SCSU up near midfield.
Klaphake methodically took advantage, taking 11 plays to move his Huskies to the UMD 5 before the defense stiffened. A hurried pass on third down fell incomplete and SCSU settled for a field goal mere moments after a tie seemed certain. The red-zone stand was an emotional lift for UMD, now nursing a 14-10 lead, and Fowlkes quickly restored a two-possession margin with his second-straight long kick return, an 80-yard touchdown scamper on SCSU’s ensuing kickoff. The lengthy, meandering romp contributed to what would be another great day of special teams play for UMD, which entered play with the nation’s second-best kickoff return average and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs piled up 208 more return yards against SCSU, along with another score.
SCSU had an opportunity to answer after the Folkes return, but junior defensive back Chris Blake intercepted Klaphake on the Huskies’ first play and set UMD’s offense up in the red zone. Four plays later, Vogler scooped a low snap, scampered right and lunged across the goal line to make it 28-10.
Vogler kept the Bulldogs a step ahead with his second touchdown run minutes later, and SCSU answered with a 38-yard fourth-down touchdown run from Michael Walker less than two minutes after that, moving the combined score into the sixties at 35-30.
Vogler took advantage of the short field and drove the Bulldogs to a 42-30 lead with his third rushing touchdown of the night and then UMD’s defense made a key stop as senior Blake Rogers dragged Klaphake down for a third-down sack with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.