One for the ages

Originally Published: September 24, 2008

When you are on the losing sideline, last second defeats can be disheartening. Think about plays like “The Music City Miracle” (Tennessee Titans over Buffalo Bills), “The Play” (Stanford band charging the field), “The Pass” (Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan), “The Immaculate Reception” (Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris) and “The Drive” (John Elway in 1986 AFC Championship Game). These are all nationally well-known game-winning plays or drives that have catapulted a team into victory.

Last year, the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs were on the wrong end of one of these plays against the University of Mary Marauders. It happened when quarterback Blair Sandy threw a pass to receiver Mike Williams for an 85-yard game-winning touchdown with just 23 seconds remaining.

However, the Mustangs were able to taste victory in last-second fashion against Upper Iowa University on Saturday. After giving up a 24-yard field goal with just 21 seconds left in the game, junior Levi Bullerman returned the kickoff to the SMSU 46.

Now with just 20 seconds left in the game, the Mustang coaching staff put the game in the hands of senior quarterback Josh Shudlick. Shudlick didn’t disappoint them, as on the first play of the drive, he launched a 54-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Sean Patrick O’Leary to take the lead. It was the Mustangs’ first lead since going ahead by a field goal on the first drive of the game.

On the game, Shudlick led the Mustangs’ passing attack by completing 23 of 35 passes for 332 yards and 3 TDs. He completed a pass to eight different SMSU receivers. Leading the team in receiving was junior Blake Wilson as he caught five passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The Mustang ground game was led by junior Zach Wysong, who carried the ball 21 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Wysong also caught five passes out of the backfield.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior Tyler Reed led the charge with ten tackles. Junior Aaron Diggs, senior Brad Wolf, and redshirt freshman Derek Klinkner all added 8 tackles while junior Bryce Haessley chipped in with seven.

The win for the Mustangs improved their record to 2-2 on the season, while Upper Iowa drops to 1-3. Next up for the Mustangs is a home game against Wayne State College on Sept. 27. This will be the annual SMSU Homecoming game. Opening kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

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