Wayne State scored 20 points in the second quarter to overcome a slow start as the Wildcats topped Bemidji State in Northern Sun Conference football played Saturday in front of a homecoming crowd of 1,579 fans at Cunningham Field in Wayne. The Wildcats won their fourth straight homecoming game and improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the NSIC while Bemidji State slipped to 2-5 overall and 1-5 in the NSIC.
Bemidji State used a first down on a fake punt on the first possession that led to a field goal, a 42-yard boot from Paul Poterma, taking a 3-0 lead with 11:05 left in the first quarter. On Wayne State’s second possession in the first quarter, Wildcat quarterback Silas Fluellen was sacked in the end zone by Bemidji State’s Luke Knutson for a safety to give the visiting Beavers a 5-0 lead with 6:16 remaining in the first quarter. Later in the first quarter, WSC stopped Bemidji State at the WSC 23 as senior Luke Hoffman intercepted a pass by BSU quarterback Josh Williams. On the next play, Wildcat sophomore Frederick Bruno took an option pitch from Fluellen and raced 77 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 7-5 lead with 53 seconds to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Wayne State scored the first of three touchdowns on a Travis Rhone one-yard plunge with 9:44 remaining to put the Wildcats in front by the score of 13-5 after a failed PAT kick by Nick Hope. Later in the quarter, each team traded turnovers as Fluellen fumbled at the WSC 14 yard line. The ball was recovered by Bemidji State’s Terrell Phelps at the Wildcat 10 yard line. On the next play, BSU quarterback Josh Williams tossed the ball to running back Erick Newman, who attempted a pass back to Williams. But WSC strong safety Matt Greenway picked off the pass and rambled 97 yards with the interception return for a touchdown, a new WSC school record, as the Wildcats increased their lead to 20-5 with 7:15 to play in the second quarter. Greenway’s interception return of 97 yards tops the previous school mark of 91 yards set by Chuck Ross vs. Morningside in the 1971 season.
WSC closed out the second quarter scoring barrage with 17 seconds remaining in the first half as Fluellen scored on a three yard run to culminate a four-play, 81 yard drive that took just 43 seconds, giving the Wildcats a 27-5 lead at halftime.
In the second half, the lone score for the Wildcats came with 6:10 remaining in the third quarter as Nick Hope connected on a 21-yard field, making the score 30-5. Early in the fourth quarter, a milestone was achieved by WSC junior wide receiver Logan Masters as the Storm Lake, Iowa graduate hauled in a nine-yard pass from Fluellen, making him the all-time career yardage receiving leader at Wayne State College. Masters, who finished the game with four catches for 83 yards, now has 2,468 yards receiving, moving past Tavarus Johnson’s previous school record of 2,464 yards from 1998-2001. Bemidji State closed out the scoring with 5:37 left in the game as Josh Williams found George Kadlec on a 41-yard pass play to make the final score 30-11.
Wayne State finished the 365 yards of total offense compared to Bemidji State’s 291. The Wildcats gained 209 yards on the ground and 156 through the air while the Beavers had 94 yards rushing and 197 passing.
Senior Travis Rhone paced the Wildcats on the ground with a season-high 110 yards on just 14 carries and one touchdown. Fluellen completed 10 of 14 passes for 156 yards with Masters being his favorite target with the four catches and 83 yards on the day.
For Bemidji State, quarterback Josh Williams was 17 of 30 passing with one interception for 152 yards. Brandon Miles topped the Beavers in rushing with 55 yards on 12 carries.
Defensively for Wayne State, Luke Hoffman had a game-high 12 tackles with one interception and a pass breakup. Senior defensive end Troy Pribnow added eight stops, including 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Wayne State will be at home again next weekend when the Wildcats host Winona State in a key NSIC South Division battle at Cunningham Field with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m.
Story courtesy of Wayne State Athletics