WINONA, Minn. – Freshman quarterback Jack Nelson
threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns as the Winona State football
team rolled to 639 total yards in a 65-21 victory over MSU Moorhead
Saturday in Verizon Wireless Stadium.
The Warriors broke open a close game in the third quarter, scoring the final 41 points of the contest to cruise to the victory.
Nelson was strong in his second career start, completing 19-of-27 passes for 322 yards and four scores. His 322 yards on the game are good for the 21st-best total in school history.
Winona State also had success on the ground, rushing for 292 yards as a team. Chichi Ojika posted his first career 100-yard game, gaining 125 yards on just 16 carries while scoring a touchdown. Paul Preston added 83 yards on 12 attempts while Jordan Kos scored four times while gaining 35 yards on the ground.
MSU Moorhead opened the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Jake Hodge to Adam Jeskra on its first possession. The Warriors responded right back, tying the contest at seven after a ten-yard scoring scamper by Ojika.
The Dragons took a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter, with Hodge calling his own number and scoring from six yards out.
Winona State controlled the rest of the quarter, scoring 17 consecutive points to take a 24-14 lead into the break. Kos helped the Warriors tie the game at 14 with a four-yard run and, after a short MSU Moorhead punt, Nelson found Cameron Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown to give WSU the lead.
Brett Cochran-Bray added a 25-yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining in the half to push the WSU advantage to ten, 24-14.
MSU Moorhead scored to open the second half, pulling to within three, 24-21. It was all Winona State from there, with the Warriors closing the game with 41 unanswered points.
Nelson found Alan May for a 49-yard touchdown and followed with a 33-yard scoring strike to Josh Mikes in the third quarter to make the score 38-21. May finished the game with five catches for 86 yards while Mikes had four grabs for 93 yards and two scores. Mikes has now caught a touchdown pass in seven consecutive games and has ten receiving touchdowns in just 15 career contests.
Defensively, the Warriors caused a pair of MSU Moorhead turnovers in the second half, with Ryan Gerts intercepting a pass and Mike Barton recovering a fumble forced by Ian Murray. WSU held Hodge to 12-of-26 passing on the game, allowing him to complete just 46 percent of his pass attempts.
Larry Mbayu led the team with seven tackles while Murray and Morgan Weaver each had six. Colin Corcoran added a sack to help the Warrior cause.
Winona State (1-2, 1-2 NSIC) will return to action next weekend when it travels to Minot State.