Story and photo courtesy of Winona State Athletics
WINONA, Minn. – Winona State scored on its first offensive play of the season – a 54 yard pass from John Teigland to Rayon Simmons – and did not look back, beating Minnesota, Crookston 58-6 Thursday night in both team’s season opener.
The Warriors scored 27 points in the first quarter and held a 44-6 halftime lead while totaling 468 total yards on the night. The Warrior defense threw a shutout, with the Golden Eagles’ lone touchdown coming on a first quarter interception return for a score.
Winona State’s top two quarterbacks, Teigland and Bryan Bradshaw, combined to complete 13-of-21 passes for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
After Simmons’ opening play score, UMC was forced to punt on their opening possession. Teigland had his first pass of the following drive intercepted by Marcus Galan and returned for the lone Golden Eagle points of the game.
The Warriors came right back, scoring three touchdowns during a 4:31 span to end the first quarter. Chichi Ojika scored on a 30-yard run and Teigland found Sean Hertz for an eight-yard touchdown strike to go up 20-6. Jay Adams tacked on a 56-yard touchdown run, one of three WSU scoring plays on the night that covered over 50 yards.
The Warriors scored 17 more points in the second quarter to take a 44-6 lead into halftime. Simmons scored WSU’s first touchdown of the second quarter, an eight yard run. Bradshaw followed with a 57-yard touchdown strike to freshman Alan May and Jake Vercher added a 43 yard field goal as time expired in the half.
Simmons scored his second rushing touchdown of the game in the third quarter and his third of the game with a four-yard rush. Simmons ended the game with 135 total yards, and moved into second place on the WSU career rushing charts after running for 81 on the night. Simmons now has 3,553 rushing yards in his career.
Winona State added a final touchdown early in the fourth on a nine-yard pass from Bradshaw to freshman Josh Mikes. WSU quarterbacks completed 13 passes on the night to nine different receivers.
The Warrior defense limited Richard Haley, the reigning NSIC rushing leader, to just 75 yards on the ground. UMC had 72 rushing yards total on the night and 188 yards of total offense. Robert Ndondo-Lay and Collin McGuire each recorded a sack in the WSU defensive effort while Gage Ridenour and Morgan Weaver intercepted passes. Ridenour led the Warriors with eight tackles while Ryan Singler and Colin Corcoran each had seven.
Winona State will now travel to Minnesota Duluth on Sept. 8 for a 6 pm kickoff.