Minot State held off a late Wayne State rally as the Beavers posted a 20-14 Northern Sun Conference football victory Saturday evening before a home-opening crowd of 2,564 at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.
The visiting Beavers capitalized on an early Wildcat turnover to score in the first minute of the contest. Running back Rashad Trimble fumbled on the second play of the game with Minot State’s Bryce Broome recovering the ball at the Wildcat 21. On the ensuing play, quarterback Zac Cunha connected with Akkil Walker on a 21-yard scoring play to give the Beavers a 7-0 lead 44 seconds into the contest.
Midway through the second quarter, Wayne State took advantage of a Minot State miscue deep in Minot territory, allowing the Wildcats to tie the game. Wayne State’s Glenn Harris forced a fumble on a punt return, with Tyler Thomsen recovering at the Beaver 10-yard line. They scored when junior quarterback Zach Osborn found Nate Rogers for an eight-yard score, evening the score at 7-7 with 8:15 to play before halftime.
Minot State regained the lead just before halftime as Jarvis Mustipher hit paydirt on a four yard run to cap a 13-play, 72-yard drive with :58 left in the half to give Minot State a 14-7 lead at intermission.
The Beavers scored again on the opening drive of the second half as Jarvis Mustipher found the end zone on a four-yard run to give the visitors a 20-7 advantage.
Wayne State responded with a score on the following drive as the Wildcats marched 80 yards on 10 plays. Osborn hooked up with Rogers for a second time on a 16-yard strike, cutting the Beaver lead to 20-14 at the 8:08 mark of the third quarter.
Minot State tried to put the game out of reach, but Wayne State’s defense came up with a big stop to give the Wildcats a chance with 1:22 to go. Wane State drove from their own 28 to the Beavers’ 31-yard line, but a Hail Mary pass was intercepted in the end zone as time ran out, giving the Beavers the win.
Junior Arelious Burns led the Wildcat rushing attack with 119 yards on 24 carries. Osborn completed 13-of-28 passes for 116 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Rogers was the top receiver with five catches for 73 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Cam Montgomery and Christian Campos each had eight tackles followed by Emeka Etta and DeWayne Scott with seven stops each.
The Wildcats, 0-2, will be on the road next weekend traveling to Bemidji State for a Northern Sun Conference contest starting at 6 p.m. in Bemidji, Minn.