Dragon Football Reaches 5-2 for First Time Since 1999 with Thrilling 28-22 OT Win Over Wildcats

WAYNE, Neb. (MSUM Athletics) -- An 18-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jakup Sinani to sophomore receiver Jake Richter in overtime lifted the Minnesota State University Moorhead football team to a thrilling 28-22 win over Wayne State (Neb.) in action Saturday in Wayne, Neb. An interception by freshman Alec Goddard on Wayne State's offensive possession gave the Dragons the key stop they needed in OT.

MSUM is off to its first 5-2 start since 1999.

"Our kids are proud of doing something that hasn't been done in a long time," MSUM head coach Steve Laqua said. "To do that in a special way with an overtime win on the road is pretty satisfying."

The Dragons are 5-2 overall and now 2-1 against teams from the south. Both Dragon losses have come to teams ranked in the AFCA D2 Coaches Top 25. Wayne State fell to 1-6 on the year.

Sinani completed 28-of-46 passes for 292 yards and two scores. Richter caught eight passes for 102 yards and a score while Grady Bresnahan had 13 catches for 103 yards. Junior receiver Zach Sweep had four catches for 54 yards and a score.

Sophomore running back Zach Simons led the ground game with 75 yards and a score. Senior kicker Joe Tjosvold hit three field goals, including one in the final minute of regulation to tie the game at 22-22.

Senior linebacker Michael Strand had 10 tackles and a sack. Freshman defensive end Gerald Smith had five tackles and a sack while sophomore defensive end Darius Woods-Steichen had a sack, picking up his fifth of the season. Freshman safety Alec Goffard had an interception while sophomore linebacker Matt Schoh had a fumble recovery.

Goddard's interception of Alex Thramer in the overtime ended the Wildcats' scoring threat. After a 7-yard run by Herman Gray, Richter hauled in the 18-yard touchdown from Sinani for the winner.

"Our kids kept the faith and the belief with a find-a-way attitude," Laqua said. "There were a lot of big plays -- a big return by Sweep to set up the field goal, the kick by Joe, the catch at the end by Jake -- Alec got his number called today and made a big play. Everybody seems to take turns making plays."

It was a back and forth contest; the Wildcats led 15-3 at one point of the second quarter until Simons scored from one-yard out to make it 15-9.

"The composure we showed being down (15-3) on the road was great," Laqua said. "They kept their focus on the task at hand and went out to do their job play-after-play."

In the third, a 21-yard scoring pass from Sinani to Sweep put MSUM up 16-15. Tjosvold added a field goal with 10:19 left to make it 19-15. The Wildcats answered as Thramer hit Nate Rogers for a 16-yard score to put the Wildcats back in front 22-19 with 5:02 left.

MSUM came through with a 13-play, 47-yard scoring drive in the final minutes which was capped off by a 25-yard field goal from Tjosvold which tied the game at 22-22. Wayne State moved into Dragon territory in the final seconds of regulation but the drive stalled, sending the game to overtime.

MSUM returns home to host the University of Sioux Falls on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m.

Steve d'Eustachio Stat of the Game: The Dragons were also tied 22-22 when they played their last home overtime game, a 29-22 win in Moorhead over Minnesota Crookston on Sept. 24, 2011. 13507 Jake Richter (10) hauls in the winning score.