Senior quarterback Silas Fluellen threw for 330 yards and five touchdowns while becoming the NSIC’s all-time leader in total offense yardage Saturday afternoon to lead the 24th-ranked Wildcats to a 48-25 win at Winona State. The Wildcats improve to 6-2 overall and 5-2 in the NSIC.
Wayne State opened the game on defense, but Drew Molacek blocked a Winona State punt on the opening series and gave the Wildcats the ball at the Warrior 37-yard line. WSC then needed just four plays and drove 37 yards to score as Silas Fluellen rambled seven yards to give the ‘Cats a 7-0 lead with 10:03 to play in the first quarter. Winona State responded though on the ensuing drive as the Warriors drove 70 yards on five plays, capped by a 14-yard scoring strike from quarterback Greg Preston to Drew Alexander to knot the score at 7-7 with 7:29 to go in the first quarter. WSC took advantage of great field position on the next drive thanks to a 47-yard kickoff return by Frederick Bruno and regained the lead at 14-7 as Fluellen connected with Mitch Montgomery on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, WSC took a 20-7 lead with 11:41 to go when Fluellen found Bruno on a 71-yard touchdown pass. Winona State scored on the ensuing drive, using a 21-yard field goal by Billy Emanuel to cut the Wildcat lead to 20-10 with 8:13 to play in the second quarter. Wayne State came right back and scored on the next drive as Fluellen found Pierce redshirt freshman Kevin Paulsen on a 35-yard scoring pass, increasing the Wildcat advantage to 27-10 with 5:23 to play in the first half.
Wayne State took the opening drive of the third quarter and marched 70 yards on 12 plays with Mario Melvin finding the end zone on a one-yard run to push the Wildcat lead to 34-10 with 10:49 to play in the third quarter. On the ensuing kickoff, Winona State’s Curtis Dewberry broke loose for an 82 yard return, giving the Warriors a first and goal at the WSC four yard line. Three plays later, Preston threw four yards to Sean Hertz to make the score 34-17 with 9:17 to play in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Fluellen and Montgomery teamed up on a touchdown for the second time in the game, this time from 17 yards out, capping a 15 play, 78 yard drive that covered 6:44, giving Wayne State a 41-17 lead with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter. Winona State scored on the following drive as Preston hit Hertz on another four yard scoring pass, making the score 41-25 with 8:11 remaining following a two point pass conversion. WSC closed out the scoring with 6:13 to play as Fluellen threw a nine-yard scoring pass to Bruno to make the final score 48-25.
Wayne State finished the game with 472 yards of total offense to 332 for Winona State. The Wildcats had 142 yards rushing and 330 passing compared to 67 yards rushing for Winona State and 265 passing.
Fluellen completed 19 of 28 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns and became the NSIC’s all-time leader in total offense yardage, surpassing the previous mark of 8,953 yards held by James McNear of Concordia, St. Paul from 2002-05. With Fluellen’s 367 yards of total offense Saturday, the senior from Bellevue West now has 9,112 yards of total offense in NSIC games during his Wildcat career.
Wayne State’s top receiver was Frederick Bruno with nine catches for 184 yards and two scores and finished the game with 271 all-purpose yards. Senior wide receiver Logan Masters added five catches for 56 yards and has now caught at least two passes in all 43 games he has played in a Wildcat uniform. The senior from Storm Lake, Iowa is just one game shy of matching the NCAA Division II record for most consecutive games with a catch, held by Morningside’s Mitch Allner (44 games from 1996-99). The top rusher for Wayne State was Sheldon, Iowa redshirt freshman Nick Pulscher, who carried the ball 16 times for a career-high 100 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Ryan Reeves recorded a game-high 12 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss. Matt Greenway added nine tackles while Anthony Hale had an interception and Michael Bazata was credited with a fumble recovery in the win.
Story courtesy of Wayne State Athletics.