While it would be easy to point to Minnesota Duluth’s last play of the game — a fumble — and say that’s why the Bulldogs lost, but Bulldogs coach Curt Wiese is a lot wiser than that.
No, they just got beat, and there was plenty of blame to go around.
Backup quarterback Nick Bohn played like a seasoned veteran in his first collegiate start, completing 13 of 22 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns as Wayne State took advantage of five turnovers to stun No. 11 UMD with a 31-28 NSIC victory Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, before 3,124 at Malosky Stadium.
“It was our fear on Sunday, if you don’t come prepared each week, you can get beat,” Wiese said. “Everybody played a part in it. It didn’t come down to one fumble, it didn’t come down to one turnover. That was a team loss and hopefully a wakeup call for our football team.”
Alex Powders’ 35-yard field goal with 2:25 remaining turned out to be the game winner as UMD’s Daniel Mitchell fumbled on his first and only carry of the game and Wayne State took over at its own 36 with 59 seconds remaining. Mitchell was seeing action as both Cazz Martin and Wade Sullivan got banged up for the Bulldogs; Sullivan even limped off the field afterward with the help of a crutch.
Anthony Watkins added 21 rushes for 101 yards and a touchdown and caught a 12-yard TD pass for the Wildcats (3-1).
Martin, a senior running back, tied his career with three touchdowns and was just off his career high with 163 rushing yards on 21 attempts to lead the Bulldogs (3-1), who now may need to win out to make the NCAA Division II playoffs. Teammate Brad Dati played the game of his life on defense with a career-high 14 tackles, including seven for loss, but it was of little consolation to the junior linebacker.
“I just feel like as a team, we need to prepare the same every week, and that’s about all that needs to be said,” Dati said. “I felt confident in our gameplan. You have to prepare and play the same every week. We have to look in the mirror, for sure. Everybody, at the end of the day, has to watch film and better themselves.”
It was Wayne State’s first victory over a ranked opponent since 2014. The Wildcats scored 28 points in the second quarter alone and the Bulldogs were playing catch up the rest of the way.
“We made a lot of mistakes and you got to hand it to Wayne State,” Wiese said. “They played a helluva football game. Their sideline never lost momentum, and ours never had enough. They came in 2-1 with a 48-0 win last week.
“Based on the film, we knew they were a good football team, and for whatever reason, we didn’t come prepared, and that starts at the top with me, and all the way down to everybody who had a chance to play a hand in that game tonight. Unfortunately, it caught up to us.”
Wayne State 0-28-0-3—31
Minn. Duluth 7-14-0-7—28
UMD — Cazz Martin 30 run (Curt Cox kick), 5:27
WSC — Nick Bohn 1 run (Alex Powders kick), 14:15
WSC — Taurean Grady 23 pass from Nick Bohn (Powders kick), 11:59
WSC — Anthony Watkins 12 pass from Bohn (Powders kick), 9:48
UMD — Cazz Martin 75 run (Cox kick), 9:36
WSC — Watkins 48 run (Powders kick), 6:21
UMD — Armani Carmickle 5 pass from John Larson (Cox), :22
UMD — Martin 6 run (Cox kick), 13:55
WSC — Powders 35 field goal, 2:25
First downs 19 18
Rushes-yards 54-131 58-217
Passing yards 221 115
Comp-Att-Int 13-22-1 11-28-2
Kick returns-yards 6-379 5-246
Punts-avg 7-30.7 7-39.9
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-3
Time of possession 33:26 26:34
RUSHING — WSC, Watkins 21-101, Bohn 23-34, Grady 2-10, Trystn Ducker 2-2, Deshawn Massey 3-1, Matt Romero 1-(-2), TEAM 1-(-2). UMD, Cazz Martin 21-163, Byron Bynum 3-32, Larson 8-14, Daniel Mitchell 1-9, Wade Sullivan 3-2, Chamere Thomas 1-1, Zach Ojile 1-(-4).
PASSING — WSC, Bohn 13-22-221-2. UMD, Larson 11-28-115-1.
RECEIVING — WSC, Grady 8-133, Ducker 2-47, Mason Lee 1-23, Watkins 1-12, Gage Dengel 1-6. UMD, Carmickle 4-69, Bynum 3-21, Johnny McCormick 2-19, Martin 1-4, Cooper Yeary 1-2.