On Thursday, August 31 the Minnesota State University Moorhead Dragons visited the Wayne State College Wildcats in Wayne, NE. The Wildcats won the NSIC football championship in 2022, capping off their championship season with a 10-7 win over the Dragons.
MSUM came into Wayne looking for revenge after last seasons close loss and it would come down to the final seconds of the game. The Dragons took a 7-0 lead with 12:48 remaining in the first quarter on a 19-yard TD pass from QB Jack Strand to WR Brady Perryman. WSC would strike back at the 8:07 mark of the opening quarter on a QB Nick Bohn four-yard TD run, tying the game at 7-7.
The second quarter began with the Wildcats scoring on a RB Dawson Forgy nine-yard TD run with 14:53 remaining in the half, giving WSC a 14-7 lead. At the 6:43 mark MSUM K Jacob Schroeder would knock down a 28-yard field goal, cutting the deficit to 14-10. WSC would hit a field goal of their own with 27 seconds left in the second quarter, a 23-yard field goal by K Boston Hensley extending the Wildcats' lead back to seven, 17-10.
WSC would receive the kickoff to begin the second half and they would capitalize on that possession. With 11:40 the go in the third quarter Bohn would use his offensive line to scratch across a one-yard TD run, making the WSC lead 24-10. MSUM would counter less than two minutes later, Strand would connect with Perryman once again for a 41-yard TD pass to get the Dragons back within seven, 24017 Wildcats still with the lead with 10:09 left in the third.
The Wildcats scored again in the early stages of the fourth quarter on a Bohn 36-yard TD pass to WR Ashten Schmaderer, 31-17 WSC with 13:38 remining in the game. The Dragons would make a late push scoring on a one-yard TD pass from Strand to WR Gage Florence... MSUM would go for the two-point conversion and it was unsuccessful, WSC leads 31-23 with 1:06 remaining. The Dragon defense would then force a punt by WSC and block it taking over at the Moorhead 49-yard line with 42 seconds to go. The Dragons would end up turning the ball over on down and WSC would take a knee and survive MSUM's opening night spoiler attempt 31-23.
MSUM will return home the Scheels Field on Saturday, September 9. Pregame will begin at 11 a.m. with kickoff set for noon on AM 1100 and FM 92.3 The Flag.
Jack Strand: 42-58, 351 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
Gage Florence: 15 receptions, 90 yards, one touchdown
Brady Perryman: eight receptions, 120 yards, two touchdowns
Josiah Behm: 10 tackles (two solo, eight assisted)
Mitchell Jerzierski: 10 tackles (10 assisted)
Justice Noel: 10 tackles (one solo, nine assisted)