Cardinals emerge from OT victorious, 36-29

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The Cardinal football team earned another comeback win on Saturday, Sept. 22, against Wayne State in overtime.

Though it took extra time, the Cardinals were able to advance past the Warriors and improve to 4-0 on the season.

The Warriors struck first on a seven-yard run from DeOntay Moffett, going up 7-0.

The Cardinals were able to knot the score back up just before the end of the first quarter on a four-yard rush from sophomore runningback Nate McCrary.

Wayne State safety Kyle Toth picked off junior quarterback Ryan Conklin on the next drive, which led to a 29-yarder from Warrior kicker Paul Graham, making the score 10-7 in the second.

The Warriors scored again just before halftime, using their timeouts efficiently, going up 17-7 on a seven-yard connection between Warrior quarterback Jake AmRhein and wide receiver Darece Roberson.

The Warriors were forced to punt for the first time of the day on their first drive of the second half. Graham pinned the Cardinals deep in their own territory, allowing the Warrior defense to capitalize with a safety, making the score 19-7. The safety forced the Cardinals to punt it away to Wayne State, which scored on their next drive on another field goal from Graham, increasing their lead to 22-7.

The Cardinals finally responded late in the third quarter on a two-yard run from sophomore running back Nate McCrary, narrowing the margin to 22-14. The offense got another chance shortly after, as junior defensive back Joe Newman intercepted AmRhein and brought it back into Warrior territory.

The Cardinals capitalized on this drive on the first play of the fourth quarter with a one-yard rushing touchdown from senior runningback Jermaih Johnson. Johnson ended his day with 94 yards and a touchdown, while McCrary netted 32 yards and added three touchdowns himself. Leaving the offense on the field for the PAT, Conklin connected with sophomore wide receiver Chad Gailliard to tie the game at 22.

On their next possession, the Cardinals put together a 10-play, 51-yard drive that was completed by another two-yard rushing touchdown from McCrary.

The Warriors responded with a two-yard Moffett rush, tying the game at 29 with 1:55 to go in the game.

On the following kickoff, Warrior Brandon Tuck-Hayden forced a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Samson Tai, giving the Warrior offense great field position deep in Cardinal territory.

The Warrior offense worked the clock before sending out Graham for a 32-yard attempt with three seconds left in the game. The attempt was blocked by junior defensive end David Still. The score therefore remained 29-29 at the end of regulation.

The Cardinals elected to play defense first in overtime upon winning the coin toss. The Warriors were only able to attempt a field goal, which was blocked yet again by Still.

The Cardinals were in a position to win the game on their overtime possession with a score of any type.

Conklin connected with Gailliard from 25 yards out on a bomb to the back-right corner of the end zone to win the game, 35-29.

With that, Conklin ended his day going 10-17 for 145 yards through the air with a game-winning touchdown. He added 53 yards on the ground.

Gailliard was confident in winning the game on that last play.

“When the play was called, I knew I just had to beat my corner and see if the ball was coming my way,” Gailliard said. “I saw it coming up, so I just went and made a play on it.”

The team will head to Michigan Tech (2-2) on Saturday, Sept. 29 to take on the Huskies.

“The Huskies are well-coached, physical on defense and play well at home,” head coach Jim Collins said. “I think we’ve got to get off to a better start. We need to put four quarters together this week.”

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