Wayne State College rushed for 415 yards and gained 559 yards of total offense in rolling to a 62-0 shutout win over Upper Iowa Saturday afternoon in the 31st annual Egg Bowl Game played at Bob Cunningham Field in Wayne. It was the largest shutout win for WSC since 2009 (41-0 over MSU Moorhead) and improves the Wildcats to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the NSIC South while UIU drops to 2-8 and 0-6 in the NSIC South Division.
The ‘Cats scored on their first two possessions of the game to take an early 14-0 lead. Redshirt freshman quarterback Andy McCance fired a 27-yard TD pass to Taurean Grady on 4th and 4 to take a 7-0 lead. Redshirt freshman Devin Merkuris followed with an 85-yard TD run, the third-longest run from scrimmage by a Wildcat running back, to grab a 14-0 advantage with 8:14 to play in the quarter.
WSC closed out the scoring on the final play of the first quarter as senior Ethan Knudson made a 32-yard field goal giving the ‘Cats a 17-0 lead, making the Harlan, Iowa native the all-time field goal leader at WSC with 37. The old record was 36 by Nick Hope from 2006-09.
The lone score in the second quarter was on a 15-yard scoring strike from McCance to Mason Lee at the 1:12 mark giving the ‘Cats a 24-0 lead at intermission.
The opening drive of the third quarter for Wayne State was Merkuris rushing the ball on every play as the drive covered 75 yards on eight plays with Merkuris capping the drive on a one-yard run putting WSC in front 31-0.
The last score of the third quarter for the Wildcats came from the defense as junior linebacker Jalen Burgess intercepted a UIU pass and raced 48 yards for a touchdown putting WSC in front 38-0.
Reserves played the fourth quarter for the Wildcats. Knudson opened the scoring for WSC with a 25-yard field goal followed two Ryann Wilkins touchdown runs of 13 and eight yards for a 55-0 Wildcat lead.
WSC closed out the scoring on a Deshawn Massey 20-yard run making the final score 62-0.
Wayne State finished the game with 559 yards of total offense that included 414 yards on the ground, the most by a Wildcat team since 415 yards gained vs. Minnesota Morris in 1999.
Merkuris collected Egg Bowl Game MVP honors for Wayne State with 237 yards of total offense. The Ralston graduate gained 187 yards rushing on just 16 carries and two scores to go with two receptions for 50 yards. Massey added 136 yards rushing on 21 carries and one score while Wilkins finished with 64 yards on eight rushes and two scores.
McCance completed 9 of 10 passes for 144 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Merkuris led WSC receivers with 50 yards on two receptions followed by Taurean Grady with two grabs for 44 yards.
Knudson’s two field goals give him 38 for his career at Wayne State, surpassing Nick Hope’s 36 career field goals from 2006-09.
Sophomore linebacker Nicholas Joynt led Wayne State on defense with nine tackles followed by senior linebacker Tyler Thomsen with seven. Senior defensive end MJ Blankenfeld had six tackles with one sack and one fumble recovery while senior Jacob Protzman had four tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss.
Wayne State’s defense held Upper Iowa to just 205 yards of offense (108 rushing and 97 passing).
The Wildcats will close out the 2019 season at home next Saturday hosting the University of Sioux Falls at 1 p.m.