Sioux Falls used a balanced attack to take down Wayne State in the final game of the season at Bob Young Field in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats finished 3-8 (2-5 NSIC South) on the season while the Cougars finished with a 7-4 (5-2 NSIC South) mark.
The Wildcats stopped Sioux Falls on their first drive and blocked a Cougar punt at the USF 35 with Jacob Protzman returning the ball 21 yards to set up the Wildcats at the USF 14 for their first series.
Following a three and out, Wayne State could not cash in on the great field position as Blake Kaiser was wide right on a 23-yard field goal to keep the contest scoreless.
Later in the first quarter, Sioux Falls got on the scoreboard first as Gabriel Watson found the end zone on a 33-yard run putting the Cougars in front 6-0 with 2:09 to play first quarter following a failed PAT kick.
Early in the second quarter after being pinned at their own five-yard line, Wayne State marched down the field and capped a nine play, 95-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Brady Brandsfield to Willie Walton putting the Wildcats ahead 7-6 with 7:00 to play in the second quarter.
The big play during the drive was a 42-yard pass from Brandsfield to senior Nate Rogers, pushing Rogers over the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the season. He is the first Wildcat receiver since Frederick Bruno in 2009 (1,163 yds) to have a 1,000-yard receiving season.
Sioux Falls regained the lead late in the second quarter as Caden Walters tossed a 30-yard scoring strike to Ty Smith with a two-point pass conversion good to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead at intermission.
With eight minutes left in the third, Sioux Falls forced the Wildcats into a safety off a punt attempt, increasing their lead to 16-7. On the ensuing kickoff, Parker Gregston returned the punt 56 yards for the Cougars to cap off a nine-point swing in less than 15 seconds. After tacking on a field goal to their lead, Sioux Falls forced a fumble with under eight minutes left in the ball game and used a 7:18 drive to run the clock out, ending the season with a 26-7 win over Wayne State.
Brandsfield threw the ball for 75 yards on 5-10 throwing with one touchdown and one interception. Rogers ends his Wildcat career with two receptions for 48 yards. Rogers fell eight yards short of equaling Tavarus Johnson’s (2,464) career receiving yards, ending with 2,456. Walton also caught two passes totaling 14 yards and a touchdown, while Maliki Wilson led the ‘Cats with 59 yards on 15 carries.
Junior linebacker Tyler Thomsen finished with a game-high 13 tackles along with the lone sack for the Wildcats. Ian Ailts added eight tackes of his own while Kolbie Foster led Wayne State with three tackles for loss.