Wayne State tried to come back from a 16-point second-half deficit but came up short on Saturday as the 23rd-ranked Wildcats dropped a 32-24 decision to No. 22 Augustana in an NSIC South Division showdown Saturday at Bob Cunningham Field.
The Vikings never trailed in the contest, scoring on their first three possessions.
After Kyle Saddler found Sean Engel for a 31-yard touchdown pass, the Wildcats got on the board with a 25-yard field goal by Alex Powders to make it 7-3 midway through the first quarter.
Saddler and Engel connected again on a 20-yard scoring pass and the Vikings extended the lead to 17-3 midway through the second quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Ben Linburg.
Wayne State used an 11-play, 72-yard drive to cut the deficit to seven at the half. Anthony Watkins scored on a four-yard run to make it 17-10 Augustana at the half.
Augustana built their lead to as many as 16 points early in the second half, thanks to a 25-yard Linburg field goal and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Saddler to Devon Jones to make it 26-10.
Wayne State responded with Wayne native Mason Lee catching the first of two touchdown passes from Nick Bohn, a 48-yard strike that make it 26-17 going to the fourth quarter.
Augustana would score again on an 18-yard Saddler-to-Jones play, but Wayne State would get the game back to one possession when Lee made a fantastic grab in the corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown pass from Bohn on fourth down to make it 32-24 with 4:23 left.
Wayne State appeared to have Augustana stopped with less than a minute to go, but a personal foul away from the ball gave the Vikings a first down and they were able to run out the clock to seal the win.
Bohn rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries to lead the Wayne State ground game, while Watkins added 41 yards on 10 carries.
Bohn was 17-of-32 passing for 208 yards. Trystn Ducker had a team-high seven catches for 54 yards while Lee had 70 yards on four receptions, two of them touchdowns.
Nicholas Joint led the WSC defense with 11 tackles while Alex Kowalczyk and Mike Monette each had six.
The 5-2 Wildcats hit the road for the next two weeks, starting with next Saturday’s 5 p.m. matchup at Southwest Minnesota State.