Freshman quarterback Jack Nelson was impressive in his collegiate debut, but the Winona State football team fell to St. Cloud State 29-26 Saturday at Husky Stadium.
After the Huskies notched the first score of the game, Nelson started his Warrior career off hot, completing his first six passes of the game, including a 54-yard touchdown strike to Josh Mikes on his second throw.
On the following drive, a 62-yard rush by Paul Preston to the one-yard line set up a touchdown from Jordan Kos on the next play to give WSU a 14-6 lead, a score that would hold until halftime.
SCSU quarterback Phillip Klaphake brought the score even in the third quarter with a seven-yard pass to Dan Brown and a successful two-point conversion.
The Huskies took a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter on a three-yard rush by Michael Walker. The Warrior offense responded and scored on an eventual one-yard Nelson sneak, but a failed extra point made it 21-20 and kept the Huskies out front.
With four minutes left in the game, Klaphake botched a pitch and Turrell Foster was the recipient of a 33-yard scoop-and-score to give the Warriors a 26-21 lead, but the Huskies responded for a game winning touchdown on a Klaphake six-yard rush with 43 seconds left.
Nelson finished the game 16-of-29 for 228 yards with a passing and rushing touchdown. Paul Preston led the Warriors on the ground with 66 yards on eight carries, while Mikes had 74 yards and a touchdown through the air. The sophomore receiver has now caught a touchdown pass in WSU’s last six games.
Defensively, the Warriors were led by Morgan Weaver with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery, while AJ Shipp and Colin Corcoran each recorded six tackles.
Winona State (0-2) returns home next Saturday when it faces MSU Moorhead at 1 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Stadium.