Key plays help Winona State roll to third consecutive victory


Sam Thiel/Winonan

The Winona State University football team used some key plays in all aspects of its 49-32 victory over Upper Iowa University Saturday in the NSIC South opener for both teams in Winona.

Winona State recorded three scores of over 30 yards in passing and added an interception return in the win.

They also added a blocked punt return for scores as well en route to their third victory in a row.

Quarterback Jack Nelson passed for 333 yards and three scores, finding Tony Mueller, Cameron Johnson and Alan May for long touchdowns.

The key plays started right away for the Warriors as they raced out to a 28-3 lead halfway through the second quarter. The Warriors got on the scoreboard thanks to a 34-yard connection from Nelson to Mueller. After a Peacock field goal, the Warriors answered right back, this time with Nelson finding Cameron Johnson for a 40-yard strike.

Winona State instantly added another score, with Patrick Lazzara picking off a Cole Jaeschke pass on Upper Iowa’s next possession, taking it 27 yards the other way for the touchdown. Jordan Kos added the first of his two scores the game later in the second quarter to give the Warriors a commanding 28-3 advantage.

The Peacocks fought back, scoring with just 1:08 remaining in the first half and adding a pair of scores to start the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 28-25.

Winona State controled the game from there, with May snagging a Nelson pass for a 53-yard score. May finished the night with four catches for 108 yards, his first 100-yard receiving game as a Warrior.

After making the Peacocks punt, Mitch Lunder fought through the offensive line to block the punt, which was scooped up by Kyle Coon and returned 15 yards for another Warrior touchdown, this time a special teams score to put the Warriors up 42-25. The Warriors added an insurance score, with Kos finding the end zone for the second time to preserve the victory late in the fourth quarter.

Winona State did not have any turnovers in the game, while posting four takeaways on the defensive end. Lazzara recorded a pair of interceptions while also forcing a fumble picked up by Jarrett Wood. Lunder was also a recipient of a Jaeschke pass that stopped an Upper Iowa drive in Warrior territory.

Matt Splon, AJ Shipp, Collin Corcoran and Morgan Weaver all recorded nine tackles, a team-high, while Lazzara had eight.

Winona State University (3-2) will hit the road next weekend when it heads up to Sioux Falls to face the Cougars on Oct. 12.


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