Northern State scored on a one-yard TD pass on 4th and goal from the one-yard line in the second overtime to hand Wayne State College a heartbreaking 29-26 double overtime loss Saturday afternoon in Northern Sun Conference football played at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne. It was the second overtime loss in the last four meetings for WSC against NSU (29-27 in 3 OT in 2013) and the fourth straight meeting between the two clubs decided by seven points or less. WSC is now 2-5 on the year while Northern State is 4-3.
The first half was controlled by the visiting Wolves, who held a 17-3 lead at intermission.
NSU opened the scoring with a Payton Eue 38-yard field goal followed by an 87-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Trautman to Dakota Larson in the first quarter for a 10-0 Wolves lead.
WSC got on the board with 3:31 to play in the second quarter on a Ethan Knudson 21-yard field goal, trimming the NSU advantage to 10-3.
But Northern State scored right before halftime on a four-yard pass from Trautman to Greg Lux with three seconds to play giving the Wolves a 17-3 lead at halftime.
Wayne State scored 10 points in the third quarter to cut the Northern State lead to 17-13.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Andy McCance found Mason Lee on a 26-yard scoring pass following a Northern State fumble with 11:38 to play in the third quarter followed by a Knudson 36-yard field goal at the 7:39 mark that made the score 17-13 entering the fourth quarter.
Northern State took a 20-13 lead on a 41-yard field goal from Eue with 10:29 to play, but later in the quarter Wayne State tied the game as the Wildcats drove 99 yards on six plays under the direction of backup quarterback Tavian Willis. The scoring drive was capped with a 24-yard scoring pass from Willis to tight end Corbin Foster knotting the score at 20-20 with 3:24 to play.
Neither team could close the quarter with a drive and the game went into overtime.
The two teams traded field goals in the first extra session with Eue connecting from 36 yards for Northern State followed by a 37-yarder from Knudson making the score 23-23 entering the second overtime.
WSC had the ball first in the second overtime and Knudson delivered a 42 yarder, his fourth field goal of the game, giving the ‘Cats a 26-23 lead.
Northern State used a 23-yard pass play on the second play of the second overtime to have a 1st and goal at the one. A false start penalty moved the ball back to the six and WSC held the Wolves to force a 4th and goal at the 1 where the Wolves used a bootleg pass and a one-yard score from Trautman to tight end Colton Drageset to hand the Wildcats a heartbreaking 29-26 loss in double overtime.
Northern State outgained WSC in the contest 466-322 thanks a dominating advantage in time of possession, 39:12 to 20:48. NSU had 98 yards on the ground and 368 passing while WSC had 91 yards rushing and 231 passing.
Redshirt freshman Andy McCance, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a broken left hand, was 12 of 29 for 132 yards with one TD and two interceptions while backup Tavian Willis was 5 of 10 for 93 yards and one score.
Wayne sophomore Mason Lee was the leading WSC receiver with seven catches for 90 yards and one TD followed by senior tight end Corbin Foster with four grabs for 59 yards and one score.
Deshawn Massey was the top WSC rusher with 62 yards on 16 carries.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Nicholas Joynt had 20 tackles with one sack and a forced fumble. Jalen Burgess and Tyler Thomsen each had seven tackles with Thomsen recording a fumble recovery.
Wayne State will be on the road next Saturday visiting the University of Mary in the final NSIC cross division contest of the year with kickoff set for 2 p.m. in Bismarck, North Dakota.