Courtesy of St. Cloud State Athletics
MANKATO, Minn. – Make it five in a row for St. Cloud Cloud State football as the Huskies posted a 31-17 win over Minnesota State University, Mankato on Homecoming Saturday in Mankato.
The Huskies improved to 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC). Minnesota State dropped to 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the NSIC.
The last time the Huskies won five in a row was during the 2008 season, Scott Underwood’s first as head coach of the Huskies. The win also marked the seventh win over the Mavericks in the last eight match ups.
"It was a good victory," said Underwood. "We had a great rivalry opponent and a good football team in the Mavericks. Our guys played great as did Mankato."
Senior wide receiver Fred Williams (Milwaukee, Wis.) became the Huskies all-time leader in receiving yards on his second catch of the game and first Husky touchdown. Williams caught six passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Williams has 2,937 career receiving yards and surpassed the old mark of 2,878 yards held by John Kimbrough (1973-76).
"That’s a blessing," said Williams of his career record. "Coming into the game, my focus was on the team and a win. I’m honored."
St. Cloud State ran up 467 yards in total offense with 262 on the ground and 205 in the air. Senior running back Dante Steward (Milwaukee, Wis.) rushed 14 times for 99 yards. Redshirt first year quarterback Phillip Klaphake (Princeton) ran 15 times for a season high 80 yards. He also completed 15 of 28 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. Redshirt first year tight end Corey Henne (Brookfield, Wis.) caught a 26-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to put the Huskies ahead 17-14. Not only was it Henne’s first touchdown pass of his collegiate career, it was also his first catch as a Husky.
The Husky defense forced five Minnesota State turnovers including three interceptions. Senior free safety Tyler Niedfeldt (Plymouth, Wis.), junior corner Joe Everson (Lakeville), and senior end Joe Winandy (Mazomanie, Wis.) all intercepted passes. For Winandy it was his first collegiate INT and he nearly scored returning it 30-yards to the two-yard line. Winandy finished the game with a quarterback sack, a forced fumble and four tackles. The INT’s marked the seventh career picks for both Niedfeldt and Everson. Sophomore corner Marvin Matthews (Roseville) had a game and season high 12 tackles.
St. Cloud State scored on its first four possessions of the game, recovered two fumbles, and held the Mavericks three times late in the first half to take a 24-14 lead into halftime. Both teams scored on their first two possessions and it looked like it might be a score fest as MSU led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter.
By halftime, the Huskies had scored on four of five possessions and run 38 plays for 336 yards. Klaphake had thrown three TD passes, two to Fred Williams, and Dane Steward had rushed for 65 yards. MSU had 251 yards, 183 passing and 68 receiving. Wide receiver Dennis Carter had five catches for 148 yards and one touchdown.
Minnesota State was first on the scoreboard on a three-yard Chris Echols run at 9:13 of the first quarter. The Huskies followed with a 69-yard drive that included an 11-yard Klaphake run on third and ten, a 43-yard rush by Dante Steward and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Fred Williams. With the touchdown catch, Williams became St. Cloud State’s all-time leader in receiving yards.
The tie didn’t last long as MSU responded with an 80-yard touchdown catch by Dennis Carter to take a 14-7 lead at 6:56. The fourth possession of the game resulted in the fourth score of the game as the HuskiesTyler Aldridge knocked down a 20-yard field goal at 2:22 of the first quarter and the Mavericks lead was 14-10.
On the next drive the Huskies Tony Kubes recovered an MSU fumble. The Huskies then drove the field and Klaphake found Henne on a 26-yard touchdown reception. The Huskies had a 17-14 lead at 8:54 of the second quarter.
The Husky defense forced the Mavericks to punt and the next SCSU drive began on their own five yard line. With 1:34 on the clock, Fred Williams caught his second touchdown pass of the game, a 40-yard connection to give SCSU a 24-14 lead.
The opening drive of the second half ended in a Phillip Klaphake interception pass, only the second of his collegiate career. His defense helped ease the pain as Winandy intercepted MSU’s Will Brogan on the next drive and ran it back to the two-yard line. Chad Peterson ran it in and the Husky lead was 31-14 at 9:10. That would be the only score of the third quarter.
The only score of the fourth quarter was a 26-yard field goal by Sam Brockshus eight seconds into the quarter.
St. Cloud State will host Southwest Minnesota State University on Saturday, Oct. 16. The kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Husky Stadium.