Wildcats fall on road to St. Cloud State, suffer fourth straight loss

An online exclusive

Austin Svehla, Staff Writer

Wayne State Football fell to St. Cloud State last Saturday afternoon by a score of 23-17 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, dropping the Wildcats to 1-5 on the season. The win for St. Cloud State improved the Huskies to 4-2 on the season.

The scoring got underway with 5:56 left in the first quarter when WSC freshman quarterback Alex Thramer capped an 11-play, 48-yard drive with a touchdown run from two yards out to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. Two unanswered scores from the Huskies handed WSC a 14-7 deficit at halftime.

The Wildcats scored on their first possession of the third quarter, driving down to the Husky 8-yard line before freshman kicker Ethan Knudson knocked through a 25-yard field goal to cut SCSU’s lead to 14-10 with 11:44 remaining in the 3rd.

A Husky field goal on the ensuing drive made the score 17-10, but the ‘Cats responded later in the 3rd quarter with their best offensive possession of the afternoon. Thramer led WSC on an 11-play, 80-yard drive and found senior Nate Rogers on a 9-yard touchdown completion to even the score at 17-17 with 18 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Rogers’ touchdown reception was the last occasion in which the Wildcats found the scoreboard. Two 4th-quarter field goals from St. Cloud State made the score 23-17, and the Wildcats’ final possession resulted in an interception after driving down to the SCSU 35.

“The thing I liked is that the kids fought the whole game,” head coach Dan McLaughlin said. “We had a chance to win at the end with a couple big plays that the kids made to keep it close. I’m really proud of how we came back.”

WSC slightly outgained SCSU in yardage, 325-316. Thramer threw for 254 yards on 18 of 33 passing and sophomore running back Malakai Wilson led the Wildcats’ ground attack with 66 yards rushing on 24 carries. Rogers was the leading receiver for Wayne State, hauling in nine catches for 140 yards. The performance on Saturday gave Rogers 150 career catches and more than 2,000 career receiving yards.

“He’s one of the best receivers in Wayne State history,” McLaughlin said. “When you look back on it after he graduates and see what he’s meant to the program the past few years and what he’s been able to accomplish, he’s going to be in the top two or three in every statistical category, and that’s quite a testament to him.”

Defensively, junior outside linebacker Ian Ailts led the way with nine tackles, and junior middle linebacker Tyler Thomsen added eight tackles.

“I think Tyler’s the best middle linebacker in our conference,” defensive coordinator Scott McLaughlin said. “He did a great job of tackling and recognizing plays.”

Thomsen led what was overall a solid day for WSC’s defense, but there are still improvements the unit needs to make.

“They wanted to run the ball and we slowed them down a little bit that way, but we didn’t get as many three-and-outs as I’d like,” Scott McLaughlin said.

The season is now more than halfway complete, and the Wildcats still have plenty to play for.

“I’d like to see us clean up the mistakes and not turn the ball over,” McLaughlin said. “We need to be a little more consistent in our execution and see some young guys continue to develop.”

The Wildcats play host to a 4-2 MSU Moorhead squad this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Bob Cunningham Field.