The Winona State football team brought its 2013 season to a close Sunday with a 23-13 loss to Concordia-St. Paul in front of 1,265 fans in the final college football game ever to be played at the Metrodome.
The Warriors struggled to run the football, managing just two net yards on the day, while the Golden Bears finished with 108 yards on the ground. WSU recorded 206 passing yards, compared to 225 for Concordia-St. Paul.
Winona State started out slow offensively, going three-and-out on the only two possessions it had in the opening quarter. The team was held to just five yards in the first quarter of play, possessing the ball for just 3:21, compared to 11:39 for the Golden Bears. Quarterback Jack Nelson saw significant pressure from the Golden Bear defense most of the game, falling victim to seven sacks.
Concordia-St. Paul managed a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter to obtain a 3-0 lead.
WSU didn’t fare much better in the second quarter, with its longest play coming on a 21-yard completion from Jack Nelson to Zach Olstad at the 6:30 mark that resulted in the Warriors’ first first down not caused by a penalty.
The Golden Bears struck twice in the second quarter, scoring its first touchdown of the game on an 8-yard pass from Jared Russo to Cordell Smith to make it 10-0. CU added another field goal with three seconds to go before halftime to extend the lead to 13-0.
The Warrior offense mustered just 50 total yards of offense in the opening half and just -2 yards rushing the ball.
Concordia-St. Paul struck again five minutes into the third quarter, with Russo again hitting Smith for a 28-yard strike and a 20-0 Golden Bear lead.
The Warriors got on the board midway through the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Nelson to Alan May to cut the lead to 20-7, but the Golden Bears responded with a 32-yard field goal to extend the lead to 23-7.
The Warriors began fourth quarter sharp, as Nelson found Tony Mueller on first play for a 29-yard completion down to the 10-yard line. On the very next play, Nelson found Alex Jensen for a 10-yard score to make it 23-13. The ensuing two-point conversion was no good, leaving it a two score game and a score that would end up being the final.
Concordia-St. Paul forced four Winona State turnovers. The Warriors lost three fumbles while Nelson threw one interception.
Nelson rebounded from a slow start to go 13-for-25 for 206 yards through the air with a pair of touchdown tosses.
Collin Corcoran had a big day for the Warrior defense, recording 16 tackles and contributing 1.5 sacks. Pat Lazzara also had a strong performance, with 13 tackles and an interception. Ryan Gerts accounted for 11 tackles and a forced fumble, while Larry Mbayu had eight and Morgan Weaver and Mitch Lunder each recorded seven. Turrell Foster added six tackles and also scooped up a Concordia-St. Paul fumble.
Winona State ends its 2013 campaign with a 6-5 record, the 17th consecutive season with a winning record under head coach Tom Sawyer.
--Courtesy Winona State Athletics