ST. CLOUD/DULUTH, Minn. - The Wayne State University won its first NCAA Division II Football playoff game in school history, while Saginaw Valley State University fell in overtime on Saturday in the opening round of the D-II playoffs.
Release courtesy of the WSU Sports Information Department [Box Score]
The Wayne State University football team (9-3 overall),
appearing in the first post-season game in the 94-year history of
the program, rallied from a 21-6 second quarter deficit to post a
road victory at third-seeded St. Cloud State (9-3) Saturday
afternoon. The game was played in sub-freezing temperatures
with snow falling the entire contest.
Sophomore running back Toney Davis (Muskegon Hts., Mich./Muskegon) rushed for a WSU single-game record 326 yards on 38 carries. He also scored five rushing touchdowns.
The Warriors started slowly and trailed 21-6 three minutes into the second stanza before tallying 21 consecutive points before the host Huskies kicked a 23-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half.
Senior Josh Renel (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams) returned the opening kickoff 44 yards plus a 15-yard horsecollar tackle on SCSU put the Warriors at the St. Cloud 33. Two running plays by Renel for three yards and back-to-back incompletions turned the ball over on downs.
The Huskies drove to the WSU 25 but junior cornerback Aaron Cornett (South Lyon, Mich.) intercepted a fourth-down pass and returned it 22 yards to the Warrior 39.
Wayne State went three-and-out and sophomore Stefan Terleckyj (Warren, Mich./Mott) had his punt blocked all the way to the WSU three. On the ensuing play, Dante Steward scored the game's first touchdown.
Renel's 22-yard kickoff return was followed by four consecutive Toney Davis (Muskegon Hts., Mich./Muskegon) runs totaling 14 yards. A 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on a third-and-eight incompletion moved the ball to the SCSU 39. Four more runs by Davis concluded on a two-yard TD run. A bobbled hold resulted in a kick wide on the PAT keeping the Huskies ahead 7-6.
St. Cloud answered back with a 48-yard TD drive on four plays following a 30-yard kickoff return and a questionable pass interference call on WSU on a pass that looked uncatchable . TD play was a 30-yard pass play from Phillip Klaphake to Renard Robinson on a fourth-and-three.
After a Wayne State fumble, the Huskies increased their lead to 21-6 on a nine-play, 45-yard drive which culminated in a two-yard touchdown run by Michael Walker.
Renel took the ensuing kickoff at the WSU 32 and returned it 29 yards into Huskie territory, but the drive ended with a punt.
The Warrior defense stepped up and forced a punt. After two Davis runs netted a first down, Renel recorded his longest run of the season on a 55-yard TD scamper which pulled WSU within a score at 21-13.
On St. Cloud's ensuing possession, a fumbled snap by the punter on fourth down gave Wayne State great field position at the SCSU 41. Following a five-yard completion from junior Mickey Mohner (Painesville, Ohio/Harvey) to senior Troy Burrell (Port Huron, Mich.), Davis went 36 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the first half.
The Huskies garnered one first down but on the St. Cloud punt, Renel was interfered with giving WSU the ball at its own 37. Two Davis runs and a 19-yard completion to Burrell gave the Warriors a first-and-10 at the SCSU 18. After a three-yard run by Davis, he surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau on a 15-yard touchdown run. His third score of the first half put the Warriors ahead 27-21 following Terleckyj's third consecutive PAT.
Tyler Aldridge's 23-yard field goal with 1.8 seconds left before intermission pulled the host Huskies within three at 27-24.
Total offense was nearly even for the first 30 minutes with WSU holding a 229-206 advantage. Wayne State led in rushing (202-41), but SCSU had a 165-27 lead in passing yards.
Davis had 17 carries for 142 yards and three scores in the first half, while Klaphake led the Huskies by completing 14-of-23 passes for 165 yards and one score.
The Warrior defense set the tone for the second half forcing St. Cloud to a three-and-out on the first drive after a snow-delayed 40 minute halftime. Seniors Jon Robinson (Livonia, Mich./Churchill) and Jordan Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) stopped Huskie running back Michael Walker for no gain on a third-and-one just after SCSU had crossed midfield on the previous play.
Wayne State turned the ball over on the following drive as the ball slipped out of Mohner's hands and was recovered at the WSU 37 by the Huskies.
St. Cloud picked up one first down but a 38-yard field goal attempt was blocked by senior offensive tackle Joe Long (Lapeer, Mich./East). After a Warrior punt, SCSU drove inside the WSU 35 but senior linebacker Raleigh Ross (Detroit, Mich./Crockett) returned his first career interception 78 yards increasing the Wayne State lead to 34-24 with 3:21 left in the third period.
The Klaphake to Robinson connection worked again for the Huskies on a fourth-and-three for a nine-yard scoring play.
Renel returned the ensuing kickoff 35 yards to midfield and was hit hard, but Miller recovered the fumble and advanced it three yards to the SCSU 47. Davis ran 47 yards for another TD on the very next play helping the Warriors regain a 10-point advantage at 41-31.
The next three series (2 for SCSU, 1 for WSU) ended in punts. Five Davis runs gained 48 yards culminating in a 20-yard TD run with 3:42 left in the contest.
The Huskies answered with a 68-yard touchdown drive, but WSU sophomore Dominique Maybanks (Muskegon, Mich.) recovered the onside kick and WSU ran out of the clock.
Davis' 326 rushing yards eclipse the mark set by current New Orleans Saints running back Joique Bell (318 - Sept. 16, 2006 vs. Mercyhurst). Renel and Davis helped Wayne State gain 386 yards on the ground in 49 attempts. The WSU defense limited the Huskies to 123 yards on 41 carries.
Klaphake completed 22-of-37 for 284 yards and three scores but was picked off twice.
Renel finished with 216 all-purpose yards.
Wayne State advances to play at second-seeded the University of Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 26. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Eastern.
Release courtesy of the SVSU Sports Information Department [Box Score]
The Saginaw Valley State University football team saw its 2011 season come to a close on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon (Nov. 19) at the hands of the defending National Champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in overtime, by the score of 30-27.
Minnesota Duluth would put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive that was capped off by a Chase Vogler touchdown run of nine yards to give the Bulldogs and early 7-0 advantage.
The Cardinals would even the score at 7-7 with 11:24 left in the second quarter on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) to Meijer "Player of the Game" Jeff Janis (Tawas City, Mich./Tawas Area HS). Janis would finish the game with six catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bulldogs would have an answer for the Cardinals on the ensuing possession. They would put together a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a nine-yard run by Zach Hulce for the 14-7 lead. Minnesota Duluth would add a field goal before the half to increase their lead to 17-7.
The second half started much the same way as the first did, with both teams exchanging punts, but the Cardinals would once again show their big play ability as Jennings hooked up with Janis for a long touchdown, this time for a 65-yard strike. Jennings would finish the afternoon 18-of-30 for 324 yards and three scores.
On the next Saginaw Valley possession, Jennings and the Cardinals would hit on three straight passes, the last being a 23-yard touchdown strike to Janis as the Cardinals grabbed their first lead of the game, 21-17.
Minnesota Duluth would answer right back as Hulce found the endzone for the second time on the afternoon to give the Bulldogs the lead back at 24-21 with just over eight minutes left in the game. That lead would hold until there was just seven seconds to go in the game. SVSU would then go to the foot of freshman kicker Scott Stanford (Novi, Mich.) to convert the 21-yard field goal and tie the game at 24-24 to force overtime.
The Cardinals would once again call on the services of Stanford in overtime as he converted a 42-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 27-24 lead.
The Bulldogs would find the endzone on the ensuing possession on a one-yard touchdown run that would end SVSU's season.
The defense was led by senior strong safety Darius Middlebrooks (Indianapolis, Ind./Indiana State University) who led all players with 21 tackles in his final game in a Cardinal uniform. Safety Dex Teen (Grosse Ile, Mich.) would add 16 tackles, while defensive lineman Paul Webb (Royal Oak, Mich.) finished with 13 tackles.
The loss ends the 2011 Saginaw Valley State University Football season with a record of 7-4.