Chichi Ojika took a screen pass 65 yards for a touchdown with less than a minute to play, lifting the Winona State football team to a 45-41 Homecoming victory over Wayne State Saturday in Winona.
The Warriors took possession of the football with 1:07 remaining in the game and trailing by three, 41-38, after a Wayne State touchdown from Zach Osborn to Grant Otten gave the Wildcats their first lead of the day. Winona State responded immediately, with Jack Nelson hitting Ojika on a perfectly executed screen, letting the speedy senior reach the end zone with the game-winning score.
Ojika was outstanding, rushing for 101 yards on the day and catching two passes for 72 yards. He has now crossed the 100-yard mark on the ground in four of his last five games.
Nelson also had a fantastic game, completing 21-of-28 passes (75 percent) for 347 yards and five touchdowns. The freshman quarterback’s yardage total is a career high, while his five touchdown passes are just one off the school’s single game mark.
In a game that was tight throughout, the Warriors built a 12 point lead, 38-26, late in the third quarter after Nelson hit tight end Alex Jensen for a 16-yard touchdown. Wayne State got to within five, 38-33, after running back Charlie Davidson scored from 57 yards out in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Neither team would score in the fourth quarter until the final minutes, with Wayne State taking a 41-38 lead with just 1:07 to play. The ensuing Wildcat kickoff sailed out of bounds, giving Winona State the football at their 35 yardline and a chance to score in the final minute. One play was all the Warriors would need, with Ojika weaving his way past defenders and into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
Jensen led Winona State with four catches for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Alan May, Josh Mikes and Tony Mueller each made three grabs. Mikes found the end zone to score WSU’s first touchdown of the day, his sixth scoring catch of the season. Freshman Cameron Johnson was also on the receiving end of a Nelson touchdown pass, his third of the year.
The Warrior defense caused three turnovers on the day, its fourth consecutive game with at least three takeaways. Tevin Ivy recorded his first career interception while Turrell Foster and Mitch Lunder both picked up Wayne State fumbles.
The defense also sacked Osborn four times, with Collin Corcoran leading the way with two. Morgan Weaver and William Sherard also had sacks while AJ Shipp broke up six WSC pass attempts. Patrick Lazzara led Winona State with 11 tackles while Weaver had seven.
Winona State (5-2 overall, 3-0 NSIC South) will return to action next weekend when it travels to Minnesota State.
--Courtesy Winona State Athletics