MARSHALL, Minn. – Tyler Peschong scored on a 7-yard run on fourth-down with 25 seconds left in the game to lift Southwest Minnesota State to a thrilling 38-37 victory over Upper Iowa on Saturday night.
@The game-winning drive started at the SMSU 25-yard line with five minutes and 30 seconds left, following an UIU touchdown and two-point conversion to take a 37-31 lead.
@SMSU improves to 3-5 NSIC (2-2 NSIC South) with the victory, while UIU drops to 2-6 NSIC (0-4 NSIC South). SMSU has won two of its last three games, with the only setback coming last week to undefeated Minnesota State, in double overtime.
@Peschong completed 27 of 43 pass attempts for 252 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 37 yards and one touchdown. Warren Matthews finished with a team-high 108 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 16 carries, recording his eighth career 100-yard rushing game, which ranks fifth in school history.
@Gannon Moore caught a game-high six passes for 58 yards and also rushed for 40 yards and one touchdown for the Mustangs, with Adam Olson catching a career-high five passes for 44 yards.
@Ray Bradley rushed for a game-high 122 yards and one touchdown for UIU, while Shay Gutman recorded five passes for 91 yards. Peacock quarterback Cole Jaeschke passed for 231 yards and one touchdown and also picked up 47 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
@Tate Bunkers, AJ Page and Dashawn Miller led the Mustang defense with nine tackles each, while Da'Ronte Smith added four tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception and one pass break-up.
@Both offensive units had big days, with UIU finishing with 457 yards and 26 first downs, rushing for 226 yards and passing for 231. SMSU racked up 437 yards, its fifth 400-yard offensive game of the season, with 226 yards on the ground.
@SMSU started the game-winning drive with false start penalty, but Peschong completed four straight passes to move the ball up to the SMSU 46-yard line. Later in the drive, facing third-and-2 from the UIU 43-yard line, Peschong broke free for an 8-yard run to keep the drive alive. Following back-to-back completions to the UIU 25-yard line and an incomplete game, Peschong completed an 11-yard pass to Moore pushing the ball down to the 14-yard line with one minute left in the game.
@Following two straight incomplete passes, Peschong delivered a 7-yard pass to Cody Condon, setting up fourth-and-three from the 7-yard line with 31 seconds remaining.
@After a pair of SMSU timeouts, Peschong ran up the middle, picking up the first down, before plowing his way across the goal line to tie the game with 25 seconds remaining. Lance Schuveiller then drilled the go-ahead PAT to give SMSU a one-point advantage.
@UIU started its final drive at its own 14-yard line, following a brilliant special teams tackle by Tyler Tonderum. The Peacocks picked up one first down, but on the final play of the game Da'Ronte Smith intercepted Jaeschke to seal the SMSU victory.
@Upper Iowa started the game by taking the opening kickoff and putting together an impressive drive, moving the ball 85 yards on 11 plays with Ray Bradley capping the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 11 minutes and 55 seconds remaining. UIU missed the extra point to keep the score at 6-0.
@Following an SMSU three-and-out on its first drive, the Peacocks extended the lead late in the first quarter with another strong drive picking up several third-down conversions. Cole Jaeschke closed the scoring drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Keaton Hosch to make the score 12-0 following a failed two-point conversion. UIU finished the drive 5-for-5 on third-down conversions.
@SMSU responded quickly to trim the deficit early in the second quarter with Gannon Moore breaking free for an 8-yard touchdown run to finish off a 9-play, 68-yard drive.
@The Peacocks used a 34-yard kickoff return by DaeJohn Love on the ensuing kickoff, plus an SMSU personal foul to begin its next drive at the SMSU 43-yard line. UIU moved the ball to the 15-yard line, before settling for a 32-yard field goal by Gabe Summerhays to take a 15-7 lead with 12:44 remaining in the half.
@SMSU cut into the lead on its next possession with the key play coming on the drive's four play, as Peschong connected on a 41-yard reception to Anthony Dean down to the UIU 17-yard line. Two plays later, Warren Matthews slipped past the UIU defense for a 17-yard touchdown run to cut the UIU lead to 15-14.
@The Mustang defense forced an UIU punt on its next possession, but Peacock punter Evan Knowlton dropped a perfect punt downed at the SMSU 7-yard line.
@SMSU then put together its most impressive drive of the half to take its first lead of the game. Peschong finished off the 93-yard, 12-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dean to give SMSU a 21-15 lead into halftime.
@UIU finished the first half converting eight of 12 third-down conversions, while SMSU was 3-of-4.
@SMSU opened the second half punting after three plays deep in its own end and UIU was able to take advantage of the short field to regain the lead at the 11:19 mark following a Jaeschke 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 22-21.
@The Mustangs came right back and retook the lead with Matthews capping an 82-yard, 13-play drive with a 2-yard run with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter to give SMSU a 28-22 lead. SMSU ran 12 rushing plays on the drive with just one pass attempt.
@Both teams exchanged punts, before UIU was able to jump back ahead early in the fourth quarter as Mike Moser scored from 1-yard out to make the score 29-28. The big play of the drive was a 51-yard pass play from Jaeschke to Shay Gutman down to the 1-yard line.
@SMSU again had an answer, this time from the leg of Schuveiller, take back the lead once again. The Mustangs had first-and-10 at the Peacock 30-yard line, but a loss of two and back-to-back incompletions set up fourth-and 12. Schuveiller then stepped onto the field and connected on a career-long 49-yard field goal to make the score 31-29 with 8:44 remaining.
@UIU didn't quit and scored just three minutes later, picking up a key third-and-seven from the SMSU 33-yard line, and later scored on a Jaeschke 8-yard touchdown. Following a two-point conversion pass, UIU built a 37-31 lead with 5:37 remaining, before SMSU answered with its game-winning touchdown drive.
@Southwest Minnesota State plays its final road game of the season next Saturday, Oct. 27, taking on Winona State University (6-2, 3-1 NSIC South) with kickoff set for 4:30 p.m.