Wildcats hang on for wild 41-39 win at Southwest


Quarterback Zach Osborn accounted for 431 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to lead Wayne State in a wild 41-39 victory at Southwest Minnesota State Saturday evening in Marshall, Minnesota.
Wayne State scored on its first possession of the game as freshman Ethan Knudson booted a 40-yard field goal to put the Wildcats in front 3-0 with 9:05 to play first quarter.
After holding Southwest on downs at the Wayne State 30, the Wildcats marched 70 yards on nine plays and scored on a eight-yard pass from Osborn to senior Nick Roth giving the Wildcats a 9-0 lead.
The second quarter saw Southwest take advantage of two Wildcat turnovers to score 14 of their 20 points that gave the Mustangs a 20-16 lead at intermission. The first score was a 22-yard Max Simmons run and another Simmons TD run from one yard out following a second straight Wildcat turnover gave the Mustangs a 14-9 lead with 10:05 to play in the second quarter.
The Wildcats responded on the ensuing drive as Wayne State drove 67 yards on 11 plays over 5:21 as Osborn hooked up with Nate Rogers on a seven-yard strike to put the Wildcats back in front 16-14.
Southwest regained the lead just before halftime (19 seconds) as Divonte Beale found paydirt on a two-yard run giving the Mustangs a 20-16 lead at intermission.
Wayne State scored all 10 points in the third quarter on a Knudson 27 yard field and a 20 yard pass from Osborn to Shymere Williams giving the Wildcats a 26-20 lead heading into what turned out to be a wild fourth quarter.
The Wildcats scored another touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Osborn and Williams hooked up for a second time on a five-yard pass giving Wayne State a 34-20 lead with 12:45 remaining.
Southwest answered with a score as quarterback Blake Gimbel found Hamilt Mateski on a 20-yard scoring pass, cutting the Wayne State lead to 34-27 at the 10:20 mark.
Wayne State scored on its fourth straight possession in the second half as Osborn ran into the end zone from eight yards out increasing the Wildcats’ advantage to 41-27 with 7:27 to play.
The Mustangs then scored on their next two possessions to setup a thrilling finish. The first score was a Max Simmons one yard run at the 5:05 mark with the second score coming on a Gimbel 25-yard pass to Gabriel Galamue with 1:12 remaining to make the score 41-39. Southwest went for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but the run failed. The Mustangs attempted an onside kick that went out of bounds and Wayne State held on for the win.
Wayne State outgained Southwest 485-379 in total yards. Osborn led Wayne State’s rushing attack with 83 yards on 11 attempts followed by Arelious Burns with 57 yards on 27 attempts.
Throwing the ball, Osborn was 23-of-33 for 348 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. His top target was Shymere Williams with seven catches for 163 yards and two scores followed by Willie Walton with seven receptions for 72 yards. Nate Rogers added three grabs for 63 yards and one score.
Emeka Etta led the Wayne State defense with 12 tackles followed by Glenn Harris and Tyler Thomsen with seven stops each. Shaqualle Paddy had one interception, one breakup and four solo tackles.     
Wayne State, 3-4, will be at home Saturday, hosting Winona State in the annual Egg Bowl Game set for 1 p.m. at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.