Cougars finish regular season with road win

WAYNE, Neb. – In the opening quarter, Wayne State grabbed a 7-0 lead over USF with a 63-yard TD run by Devin Merkuris at the 8:24 mark of the first quarter. Merkuris had 17 carries for 121 yards and a TD on the day. WSC moved the ball 77 yards in five plays and used 2:04 of the clock to take the early lead, which was their only advantage of the game.

By creating two quick turnovers, the Cougars regained the lead in the second quarter. After a USF punt, Stout recovered a fumbled punt to give USF the ball at the WSC's 22-yard line. From their USF scored in three plays as Walters hit Johnson on a 20-yard scoring pitch and catch with 6:43 to play in the second quarter for a tie game. On the ensuing drive, Zimmerman forced a fumble and recovered it to give USF the ball at the WSC's 25-yard line. On the second play of the drive, Walters connected with Broadnax who hauled in his third TD of the season from 26 yards as the Cougars led, 14-7, with 5:50 to play. But nearly as quick as USF took the lead, the Wildcats tied it up when Andy McCance completed a 73-yard scoring plan to Mason Lee to knot things up at 14-14 with 4:40 left in the half. After USF forced another fumble on Zimmerman's sack of McCance with 30 seconds left in the half, Esparza gave USF a 17-14 lead when his 21-yard field goal on the last play of the half was true. On the drive, Walters completed a 15-yard pass to Reisdorfer and a 23-yarder to senior tight end Kyle Barnetche to set up a first and goal at the three-yard line.

USF built a 24-14 advantage on their first drive of the second half. The Cougars, which moved the ball 74 yards in nine plays and took 4:41 of the clock, added to their lead when Reisdorfer hauled in a 28-yard scoring pass from Walters.

Once again, WSC used the big play to get back into the game. First, Taurean Grady caught a 37-yard pass from McCance, who completed 8-of-17 passes for 159 yards and two TDs. Then, he hauled in a TD pass from six yards on a third-down play as the Wildcats cut the lead to 24-21 with 5:51 to play.

However, that would be WSC's last hurrah. USF closed the game with 17 straight points. First Johnson culminated an 80-yard, 16-play drive that used 9:16 of the clock by catching a 10-yard TD strike from Walters as the Cougars lead grew to 31-21. After another WSC turned the ball over on the ensuing kickoff as Darrion Conrad recovered the loose ball, Esparza's 19-yard field goal helped USF to 34-21 lead.

On a third and six play on the ensuing WSC drive, Harvey (Michael) Enalls picked off McCance and returned the ball nine yards to the WSC's 14-yard line. On a third and six play on the ensuing WSC drive, Harvey (Michael) Enalls picked off McCance and returned the ball nine yards to the WSC's 14-yard line. From there, USF scored four plays later as Walters tied a school record with his fifth TD throw, connecting with Collier on a four-yard strike. With the conversion, USF took a 41-21 lead and proceeded to shut down WSC and run out the clock as the Cougars earned their eighth win or more for the sixth time in the program's NCAA DII era.