Alex Jensen caught a seven yard touchdown pass from Jack Nelson with 6:32 to play in the fourth quarter, lifting the Winona State football team to a 28-24 victory over Augustana Saturday in Winona.
With the Warriors trailing 24-21, Jensen caught a pass in heavy traffic in the end zone, scoring what would prove to be the game's deciding touchdown. The Warrior scoring play capped off a back-and-fourth game that saw neither team hold more than a one score lead at any point.
Augustana had one more chance to retake the lead, but linebacker Morgan Weaver collected sacks on back-to-back plays, preserving the victory for Winona State.
The win moves the Warriors to 6-4 overall on the season, the 17th consecutive season the team has posted a winning record under head coach Tom Sawyer.
Winona State kicked off the game with a 62-yard touchdown run from Chichi Ojika on its first possession, taking an early 7-0 lead. Ojika would finish the game with 117 yards on the ground, his sixth 100-yard game of the season. The performance gives him 1,136 yards on the year, the seventh-most by a Warrior in a single campaign.
Augustana came back to score a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, holding a 14-7 advantage. A Mitch Lunder interception gave Winona State the football at the Viking 29 yardline late in the half, which led to a three-yard scoring run from Jordan Kos to tie the game going into halftime.
The Vikings were the first team to score in the second half, getting a 31 yard touchdown on a wide receiver pass to go up 21-14. Winona State responded, with Nelson hitting Alan May for a two-yard touchdown to tie the contest at 21.
Augustana took its final lead of the game with 9:48 to play, as Ben Albrecht connected on a 27 yard field goal. After trading punts, Winona State began its game-winning drive, with Nelson hitting Alan May for 13 yards and Tony Mueller for 15 to move the team to Augustana's 11 yardline. WSU would score two plays later, with Nelson finding Jensen for the decisive touchdown.
A gusting wind made throwing the ball difficult all day, with Nelson finishing the game 12-of-27 for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Mueller was his favorite target, catching five passes for 80 yards.
The Winona State defense was stout throughout the game, holding Augustana to 88 yards rushing and just 2.5 yards per attempt. The Warriors got to the Vikings' quarterback three times, with Weaver recording two sacks and William Sherard adding another.
WSU also forced three turnovers, as Mitch Lunder and Ryan Gerts intercepted passes while Turrell Foster recovered a fumble.
Weaver led Winona State with nine tackles on the day while Anthony Cantanese had eight and Tevin Ivy, Ian Murray and Patrick Lazzara each added six.
Winona State will bring its regular season to a close next Sunday when it takes on Concordia-St. Paul at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. Kickoff is set for 1 pm.
--Courtesy Winona State Athletics