SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (USF) – Cougar Football hosted Wayne State for their last home game of the season resulting in a 28-20 loss on Senior Day.
The Cougars defense forced the Wildcats to punt it away on their opening drive before Alex Murrell, Adonis Hutchinson and Mark Leonard each hauled in tough catches to open the offensive game for the Coo. Dylan Rudningen rushed for a 7-yard run into the red zone allowing Nick Hernandez to split the uprights to score first. Wayne State responded quickly with a 44-yard rushing touchdown, followed by a successful PAT to end the first half 7-3.
The Wildcats opened the second quarter with a 35-yard passing touchdown early in the quarter and another score with just under two minutes remaining in the half to take a 21-3 lead.
The Cougar offense took the field first in the second half, resulting in a punt, but the Cougar defense responded by forcing the Wildcats to punt on their first drive.
On the Cougars second drive of the half, Dean completed a 17-yard pass to Christian Janis putting them in great field position. USF followed it up by another completion for a must needed 23-yard pass to John Palmer to put the Coo in excellent scoring position just in time for Dean to record a 1-yard rushing touchdown.
Trailing 21-10, the Cougars forced another punt looking like a new team in the second half. At their own 4-yard line, Dean rushed for a 13-yard gain. Once again, the Wildcats had no answer for Dean and Rudningens rushing attempts. Janis joined the action for a 9-yard carry before Hutchinson moved the chains to inside the Wildcats 24-yard line.
The Cougars entered the fourth quarter looking to make this a one score game from the Wildcats 17-yard line but resulted in a 39-yard field goal off the foot of Hernandez before giving up a 5-yard touchdown pass to the Wildcats after a missed field goal snap.
Sioux Falls responded quickly with Hutchinson fighting for a 46-yard touchdown and another Hernandez PAT. USF went three plays for 75-yards but still trailed 28-20. A great kickoff by Hernandez forced the Wildcats to start on their own 1-yard line. However, their run game killed too much time off the clock allowing them to kneel USF out of the game.
USF controlled the second half with 247 yards of total offense while holding WSC to just 93 yards. Rudningen rushed for his third 100-yard game of the season and his career. Dean claimed the teams lone rushing touchdown while throwing for 228 yards on 27 attempts and a score to Hutchinson.
The Cougars will be back in action next weekend when they hit the road to take on Southwest Minnesota State in their final road game of the season. Kick off will take place at 12pm in Marshall, Minnesota at Mattke Field.