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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | September 11, 2018

DII football: Minnesota State survives, Winona State sneaks by in exciting Week 2 NSIC action

It was an exciting Saturday of DII football in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. When the dust settled, No. 15 Winona State snuck by No. 14 Sioux Falls 16-15 while No. 2 Minnesota State hung on in dramatic fashion against unranked Augustana (SD) 38-36. Two thrillers of a game decided by a total of three points.

Sioux Falls controlled the first half in its NSIC battle, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on a Clint Sigg touchdown grab. That was all the scoring that was mustered between these two defensive-minded teams for the first 30 minutes.

Winona State chipped its way back in the second half with a safety and a touchdown before the two teams exchanged scores down the stretch. 

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The Cougars' Gabriel Watson snuck in the end zone, capping another strong day for the junior running back, who finished with 172 yards rushing and that lone touchdown. But Sioux Falls couldn't hold off the Warriors' offensive attack, who took the lead on the game-winning Tanner Gran touchdown catch. Winona State held on for the tightly-contested 16-15 victory, moving to 2-0 on the season and snapping the Cougars' 17-game road winning streak.

Minnesota State and Augustana were involved in quite the opposite kind of battle. It was an all-out shootout at Kirkeby-Over Stadium on Augustana's Sioux Falls, South Dakota campus. The day had upset all over it, as the Vikings led 20-14 at the half and opened up a 27-14 lead early in the second half. But back came the Mavericks, like only the No. 3 team can.

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Mavericks quarterback Ryan Schlichte (368 total yards, two total touchdowns) led the charge but had plenty of help in running back Nate Gunn (131 yards, three touchdowns) and wide receiver Shane Zylstra (134 yards, one touchdown). The Mavericks came firing back as both teams began to exchange blows in a nail-biter of a fourth quarter. Schlichte ran in a touchdown to make it 38-30 with just over a minute remaining in the game, but the Vikings just wouldn't go away. 

Augustana quarterback Kyle Saddler capped an outstanding day in which he threw for 451 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, adding a touchdown run to make it 38-36 as time expired. The Mavericks held off the two-point conversion and remain undefeated on the season.