Football falls to nationally ranked Wayne State 42-14

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After leading nationally ranked Wayne State University after one quarter, the SVSU football team struggled to muster much offensively and ultimately fell 42-14 to the 22nd ranked Warriors.

Coming off a bye week, SVSU’s team came out strong, responding to a Wayne State touchdown with a score of their own, as quarterback Ryan Conklin found receiver Max Corcoran for a 12-yard touchdown and a 7-6 SVSU lead.

Wayne State proceeded to score 10 unanswered points before Conklin again found Corcoran for a 19-yard score to cut the Warrior lead to 16-14. However, Wayne State was able to score once more before halftime and led 22-14 at the break.

“By no means did I think that late score was the dagger,” head coach Jim Collins said. “We were still within one score, and going into halftime, we felt pretty good about the position we were in.”

The second half turned out to be a disaster for the Cardinals, as Wayne State scored 20 unanswered points. The SVSU defense struggled to make stops. The offense was only able to rack up 53 yards during the final two quarters. The Cardinals best chance to score came early in the third quarter when they took over in Wayne State territory, but a missed field goal ended any scoring threat.

“We had really good field position to start the half and couldn’t come up with any points,” Collins said. “We had a field goal blocked and we had a kickoff that got caught up in the wind that they were able to recover, and those plays allowed them to score three unanswered touchdowns, which made it really tough for us to come back.”

The win pushes Wayne State’s record to 7-1 as they look to qualify for the NCAA playoffs. SVSU dropped to 4-3 on the season and snapped a two-game winning streak.

“We just didn’t have a good enough third quarter to win the game,” Collins said. “That was a very good team, and we knew they’d come in with a strong rushing attack and we wanted to limit that as much as we could, and I think we did that, but we just made too many mistakes in the second half.”

Offensively, Conklin finished 12-27 through the air for 136 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Conklin entered SVSU’s last game after quarterback Jacob LeClair went down, and Conklin carried the starting job into the game.

“(LeClair) is still injured and will probably miss next week, and I’m not sure how many more after that,” Collins said.

SVSU’s top rusher was David Nay, who was able to pick up only 15 yards on six carries. Corcoran had five catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

“We just didn’t make the best of our opportunities when they were presented to us,” wide receiver Alfonso Vultaggio said. “In the first half, we did some really good things but in the second, we just didn’t take advantages of our opportunities.”

Defensively, SVSU was led by Dillon Dixon’s 13 solo tackles, Bryan Jones’ 12 and Matt McKoy’s 11.
“There were a lot of mental errors across the board (Saturday),” linebacker Michael Alexander said. “Wayne State had a very good offensive line and had some good running backs that played a key factor as well. We also have some injuries that were an issue (Saturday). They were a good team, but we beat ourselves in many ways.”

SVSU now will begin preparation for Lake Erie College, which will come into the contest at 0-8 following a 42-10 loss to Ferris State this past weekend. SVSU’s lone win last season came against Lake Erie. A Cardinal win would secure at least a .500 season for the team.

“The key to next week is to learn from this game and to come back and prepare as we do every week,” Alexander said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Harvey Randall Wickes Stadium.

“We just need to focus on bouncing back from this game,” Collins said. “We can’t get thinking too much about Lake Erie’s record, because every team in this league has good players and we see that every week.”