Phillip Klaphake leads St. Cloud State to playoff victory against MSU-Mankato
MANKATO, Minn. -- St. Cloud State quarterback Phillip Klaphake threw for four touchdowns and ran for two scores to lead the Huskies to a 54-48 win at Minnesota State-Mankato on Saturday in the Division II playoffs.
The Huskies improved to 12-1 on the season and will travel to Northwest Missouri State in the quarterfinals The Mavericks finished the season 11-1.
"That was a great game between two very good football programs," St. Cloud State head coach Scott Underwood said. "Both teams were classy in the way they handled themselves [Saturday]. It was another great NSIC matchup."
The game ended in a flurry as Minnesota State-Mankato gained possession with 54 seconds on the clock and started its drive on its 30-yard line. A Jon Wolf rush and three pass completions put the Mavericks on the Huskies' 16-yard line with 3 seconds left. Wolf's pass, intended for Keyvan Rudd, fell incomplete.
Klaphake finished the game with 144 yards rushing and completed 17 of 26 passes for 329 yards. Wide receiver Taylor Berger had a game-high six catches for 149 yards and one touchdown. Receiver Dan Brown made three catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's always a great game every time we play MSU," Klaphake said.
Defensively, the Huskies were led by Jordan Sefon with nine tackles and an interception. End Bo Putrah had five tackles, two quarterback sacks and three tackles for loss. The Husky defense notched five quarterback sacks.
Wolf rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns and completed 15 of 26 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns. Dennis Carter made five catches for 140 yards and one touchdown. Austin Rieder had five catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Andy Pfeiffer gained 91 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown.
The Huskies scored first on an 11-yard Michael Walker run. Wolf tied the game on an 11-yard run of his own with 5:24 left in the first quarter. The Huskies rattled off 20 unanswered points and took a 34-14 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was a score-fest as both teams combined for 41 points and the Husky lead was 48-41 heading into the final quarter. Walker scored on a 7-yard pass from Klaphake to put the Huskies up 54-41. A Wolf completion to Rieder with 3:33 put the final score at 54-48.
The two teams combined for 1,153 yards of total offense. MSU came away with 246 rushing yards and 391 passing yards for 637 yards. The Huskies ran for 187 yards and Klaphake passed for 329 yards for a total offense of 516 yards.
St. Cloud State advances to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA playoffs for the second time in school history. The Huskies first advanced in the 1989 season under a different NCAA format with fewer playoff teams.
The Huskies have played at Northwest Missouri one time in the program's history. St. Cloud State opened the 1988 season with a 41-0 victory in Maryville, Mo..