Wayne State junior quarterback Silas Fluellen rewrote the Wayne State College record book Saturday with a career-best performance in a 55-18 dismantling of Winona State in Northern Sun Conference football played at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne. It was the first win by the Wildcats over Winona State in football since 1994, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Warriors. With the win, Wayne State improves to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the NSIC while Winona State slipped to 4-4 overall and 4-3 in league play.
Fluellen set two new career passing records at Wayne State, completing 30 of 43 passes for a career-high 469 yards and five touchdowns. With his 469 yards passing Saturday, Fluellen now has 6,460 yards in career passing yardage, passing Jaime Jones’ previous school record of 6,386 yards from 1996-99. Fluellen’s five touchdown passes on Saturday lifted his career total to 48, moving past Ed Jochum’s previous school record of 44 passing TD’s by a quarterback from 1982-85.
Wayne State opened the high scoring contest with 9:43 left in the first quarter on a Travis Rhone two-yard run to grab a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Winona State’s Andrew Verboncouer broke several tackles on his way to an 80-yard kickoff return, making the score 7-6 following a missed PAT kick by Cullen Fahey. The Wildcats took a 10-6 advantage later in the first quarter when Nick Hope booted a 23-yard field goal with 6:52 remaining in the quarter. WSC scored again with 1:58 to play in the first quarter when Fluellen connected with Brian Chapman on a nine-yard pass, making the score 17-6 after one quarter of play.
The Wildcats extended their lead to 24-6 with 12:08 to play in the first half when Logan Masters caught a 17 yard scoring strike from Fluellen to cap a seven play, 84 yard drive. The rest of the first half scoring came on field goals by the two teams as Cullen Fahey drilled a 37-yard field goal for Winona State with 9:37 remaining in the half, making the score 24-9. Wayne State’s Nick Hope made a 28 yard field goal with 1:24 left in the half to increase Wayne State’s lead to 27-9, but Fahey booted a 23 yard field goal with two seconds left in the first half to make the halftime score 27-12 in favor of Wayne State.
WSC took the opening drive of the second half and drove 66 yards on eight plays with Fluellen hooking up with Robert Perry on a 13 yard scoring pass, giving the ‘Cats a 34-12 lead with 12:27 to play in the third quarter. The only other score of the third quarter came from Winona State when Verbancouer scored on a two-yard run at the 1:16 mark to make the score 34-18.
Fluellen found reserve tight end Andre McIntyre on a two yard scoring play early in the fourth quarter to push the Wildcat advantage to 41-18 with 14:32 to play. Travis Rhone broke loose for a 60-yard run with 10:32 to play, making the score 48-18 and the Wildcats closed out the scoring with 7:06 remaining when Fluellen capped his career day with a 21-yard scoring strike to Robert Perry to make the final score 55-18.
Wayne State gained a season-high 627 yards of total offense, including 386 in the first half. The ‘Cats had 469 yards passing and 158 yards rushing. Winona State was held to 292 yards with a 136 coming on the ground and 156 through the air.
Three WSC receivers had over 100 yards receiving with junior Logan Masters topping the list with 10 receptions for 181 yards and a touchdown. Masters is now tied with Byron Chamberlain on the WSC career receptions list with 161 and has caught at least two passes in 31 straight games. Frederick Bruno added seven catches for 141 yards while Robert Perry finished with six catches for 103 yards and two scores.
Travis Rhone paced the Wildcats on the ground with 100 yards on 13 carries and two scores. Defensively, senior linebacker Luke Hoffman finished with 10 tackles followed by Ryan Reeves with eight. Darius Davis finished with five tackles, two sacks and an interception.