Winona State, ranked No. 7 in this week’s NCAA region rankings, exploded for 16 third quarter points to open up a close game and went on to earn a 47-20 victory over Southwest Minnesota State on Saturday in Winona, Minn.
WSU (7-2, 4-1 NSIC South) held a 14-7 halftime lead before the big third quarter to defeat SMSU (3-6, 2-3 NSIC South) for the fourth straight time and 17th time in the last 19 meetings.
WSU finished the game racking up 566 yards of offense, while limiting SMSU, which entered the game ranking fifth in the NSIC in total offense, to a season-low 245 yards offense, including just 80 rushing yards. SMSU’s previous low for total offense this season was 385 in a loss versus the University of Mary.
WSU’s Rayon Simmons, the NSIC’s all-time leading rusher, finished the game with 119 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries, while John Teigland completed 16 of 23 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns.
SMSU’s Tyler Peschong completed 13 of 21 passes for 118 yards, while also rushing for a touchdown, before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury.
Cody Condon led all SMSU receivers with six receptions for 61 yards. Abe Kos
Winona State on its first possession of the game, took an early 7-0 lead with Simmons scoring on a 4-yard run.
SMSU answered on its next drive, moving 62 yards on nine plays, with Peschong closing the drive with a 1-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with five minutes and 57 seconds left in the opening quarter.
WSU quickly regained the lead as Teigland tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Speer to make the score 14-7.
The Mustang defense forced a pair of WSU fumbles inside the SMSU 20-yard line in the second quarter, but the SMSU offense failed to take advantage as the score remained 14-7 at halftime.
The Warriors broke through in the third quarter scoring on its opening drive of the second half on an Alex Jensen 6-yard touchdown reception to take a 21-7 lead.
Both teams then exchanged punts, with WSU’s Jeremy Neuman pinning SMSU at its own 1-yard line. Gannon Moore was then stuffed in the end zone on SMSU’s first play for a safety to give the Warriors a 23-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
WSU held a 30-7 lead into the fourth quarter before SMSU scored its first points of the half on a 5-yard touchdown run by Kern to make the score 30-13, followed a failed 2-point conversion.
WSU pushed the lead to 40-13, before Kern connected on a 21-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Dean at the 4:01 mark to cut the deficit to 40-20, but that was as close as SMSU would rally.
Joe Stupka recorded a game-high 11 tackles and also recovered a fumble.
SMSU returns home next Saturday, Nov. 3, taking on Concordia-St. Paul (2-7, 1-4 NSIC South) with kickoff set for 1 p.m. at Mattke Field.
Courtesy: Kelly Loft, SMSU Athletics