Minnesota Sports

Ojika's huge day lifts Winona State to 49-14 victory

MINOT, ND - Chichi Ojika posted the third-best rushing total in Winona State history, leading the Warrior football team to a 49-14 victory over Minot State Saturday in Minot, ND.

The senior speedster finished his day with 242 rushing yards, averaging 13.4 yards per attempt. It was his second consecutive game with over 100 yards on the ground and the first time since Rayon Simmons gained 200 yards against Southwest Minnesota State in 2011 that a Warrior reached 200 yards rushing.

Ojika spearheaded a Warrior attack that gained 339 yards on the ground and 558 total yards on the game. Winona State has now gained more than 500 yards of offense in back-to-back contests.

Winona State's defense was also stout, holding Minot State to 108 rushing yards while sacking quarterback Zac Cunha eighth times. Turrell Foster led the Warriors with three sacks while William Sherard had two.

WSU also forced eight Minot State fumbles, with Anthony Frisby forcing three. Morgan Weaver recovered a pair of Beaver fumbles while Matt Splon and Mike Imperiale also picked up loose balls for the Warrior defense.

Ojika set the tone for his afternoon early, breaking off an 82-yard touchdown run on just the second offensive play of the game. Ojika's 82-yard scoring rush is tied for the fifth-longest scoring run in Winona State history.

Ojika also became just the 22nd player in school history to reach 1,000 career rushing yards and now has gained 1,109 yards in his Warrior career.

Winona State jumped out to a 28-0 advantage in the first half. Quarterback Jack Nelson followed Ojika's touchdown with a 19-yard scoring scamper of his own. Nelson added Winona State's next two touchdowns through the air, finding Alan May for a 21-yard score late in the first quarter and hitting Tony Mueller for an 84-yard catch and run midway through the second.

Mueller's score was the first of his career and enters the record book as the seventh-longest scoring pass in Winona State history.

After Minot State scored just before halftime, Winona State responded with Ojika's second touchdown run on the team's first possession of the third quarter. Ojika had both carries on the Warriors' two-play, 85-yard scoring drive, including a 43-yard scoring scamper.

Josh Mikes caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Nelson in the third quarter to make the Warrior lead 42-14 while Nelson called his own number to score the final WSU touchdown of the game.

Nelson threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns, giving him eight touchdown passes through three career games. Mikes led the Warriors with a pair of catches for 44 yards and has now caught a touchdown pass in eight consecutive games.

Foster led the Warrior defense with nine total tackles while Pat Lazzara chipped in seven.

Winona State (2-2) will open divisional play next weekend when it hosts Upper Iowa. Kickoff is set for 6 pm on Oct. 5 in Verizon Wireless Stadium.

-Courtesy Winona State Athletics

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