Northern State’s Chaka Kelly scored on a 13-yard touchdown run with just 17 seconds remaining in the game to give the host Wolves a 23-16 win over Wayne State College in the 2017 college football opener for both teams Thursday evening at Swisher Field in Aberdeen, South Dakota. NSU is 1-0 and 1-0 in the NSIC while WSC falls to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in league play.
On the third offensive play of the game for Northern State, Wildcat sophomore defensive back Shaq Paddy intercepted a Jake Comeaux pass at the NSU 42. WSC moved the ball to the Wolves 23 before settling on a career-long 45-yard field goal from sophomore Ethan Knudson giving Wayne State a 3-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, WSC was on the verge of taking a 10-0 lead as the ‘Cats had the ball first and goal at the NSU 2. However, WSC could not find the end zone and turned the ball over to the Wolves on downs at the one.
NSU then proceeded to march 86 yards on 20 plays over the next 8:46 and got on the scoreboard with a Nathan Shaw 30-yard field goal to even the score at 3-3.
The Wolves used another Shaw field goal, this one from 20 yards, with 4:40 to play in the first half that gave NSU a 6-3 lead.
Wayne State responded on the ensuing drive as the ‘Cats moved the ball 75 yards on 11 plays, culminating on a 21 yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Zach Osborn to redshirt freshman tight end Conner Paxton on a 3rd and 19 play, that put the ‘Cats in front 10-6 with 46 seconds to play in the first half.
Northern State struck again on the final play of the first half as Shaw connected on a 48-yard field goal trimming the Wildcat lead to 10-9 at intermission.
The Wildcats scored on their second possession of the third quarter as Osborn fired a six-yard scoring pass to senior Nate Rogers, capping a 12-play 97 yard drive, that gave WSC a 16-9 lead following a missed PAT kick by Knudson.
Later in the third quarter, Northern State evened the score on a 29-yard pass play from Comeaux to Zech Culbreath to make the score 16-16 entering the fourth quarter.
Both defenses then took over for a good share of the fourth quarter. WSC had the ball in NSU territory twice with the final possession resulting in a 50-yard field goal attempt by Knudson with 2:30 remaining that was short.
NSU then took the ball from their own 33 and used a 4th and 7 conversion from the WSC 33, a 20-yard pass from Comeaux to Raekwon Robinson, for a 1st and 10 at the WSC 13. Two plays later, Chaka Kelly ran around the right side and found the end zone on a 13-yard scoring run with just 17 seconds remaining to give the Wolves a 23-16 win.
Wayne State held a 382-330 advantage in total offense over Northern State. The ‘Cats had 120 rushing and 262 passing while the Wolves gained 151 on the ground and 179 through the air.
Senior Rashad Trimble led the Wildcats in rushing with 70 yards on 12 attempts. Senior quarterback Zach Osborn completed 28 of 43 passes for 262 yards and two scores. Sophomore Willie Walton was the top WSC receiver with seven grabs for 99 yards followed by junior Layne Sullivan with six receptions for 56 yards. Redshirt freshman tight end Conner Paxton added four catches for 27 yards and one TD with senior Nate Rogers hauling in four balls for 23 yards and a TD.
Both teams had one turnover in the contest. WSC was penalized seven times for 56 yards compared to six on Northern State for 42 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Tyler Thomsen paced the Wayne State defense with 13 tackles that included two sacks for 16 yards and 3.5 tackles for loss for 17 yards. Sophomore Odessa Clark added nine tackles with DeWayne Scott recording eight. Shaq Paddy had six tackles, one interception and one pass breakup.
Wayne State will be at home on Saturday evening, September 9th hosting the University of Mary in a 6 p.m. contest at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne.