Anything but normal: Mustangs win a thrilling victory over Winona Warriors

Originally Published: October 22, 2008

Since the beginning of this decade, games between Southwest Minnesota State University and Winona State University were somewhat predictable because. It was clear from the beginning that the matchup between these two teams was not like those of years past.

From 2001 through 2007, the Mustangs were not able to muster a win, with last year’s game as the only one within two touchdowns. That game was a thriller, with the Mustangs dropping the game 49-46 in double overtime. Last year, the Mustangs could not stop Warrior running back Alex Wiese, who has since graduated. Coming into Saturday’s game, Head Coach Eric Eidsness was without a win in his career versus WSU.

The two teams also came into the game on Saturday on opposite ends of the spectrum in statistical rankings in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Warriors were one of the top ranked rushing offenses with the Mustangs near the bottom of the rankings in defending the run. In addition, the Mustangs came in with one of the strongest passing attacks while the Warriors were near the bottom of the conference in pass defense.

Both teams used their strengths to exploit the other team’s weakness. It would come down to the final quarter to determine the outcome of the game. After senior kicker Scott Talcott converted on a 37-yard field goal, the Mustangs led 27-14 with 11:14 left in the game and appeared to have the game under control.

However, the Warriors would not give up, as they fought their way back into the game. In a span of several minutes, the Warriors scored two touchdowns on passes from Amir Ross to Tyrre Burks. The Warriors converted the extra point to recapture the lead 28-27.

Senior quarterback Josh Shudlick still had six minutes to work his magic. Five plays into the drive, the Mustangs had the ball at the 23-yard line. Shudlick dropped back to pass and found junior wide receiver Blake Wilson open in the end zone for the 23-yard touchdown strike. The two-point conversion was successful and the Mustangs were up by a score of 35-28.

The Warriors were not able to answer and the Mustangs picked up the thrilling victory. With the win, the Mustangs improved to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the NSIC. This week, the Mustangs will travel to Sioux Falls, S.D., to face the Vikings of Augustana College. Game time will be 1 p.m. on Saturday. You can watch the game live online at http://www.northernsun.tv or listen to the game on KARL 105.1 FM.

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