Rumpza steps up in big road win

Christopher Edwards, Football Reporter

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Winona State University’s football team stayed hot after beating Southwest Minnesota State 41-13 Saturday, Nov. 2 to keep the sledge for the fourth consecutive year.

To begin the game there were three straight punts before the Warriors offense got going

Two completions from junior quarterback Owen Burke to junior receiver Jake Balliu set up a two-yard touchdown run by junior running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd to take the 7-0 lead.

Neither team scored for the rest of the first quarter.

Warriors got the ball to begin the second after a Mustangs punt.

After a couple of completions by Burke, the Warriors got into Mustang territory but couldn’t get points because of a sack on third down that would force a punt.

Later on, Winona State got it going through the air following a fumble by Balliu.

Burke found sophomore tight end Jaylen Schleicher for a 54-yard touchdown to extend the lead.

This was Burke’s last play in the game, as he left with an injury.

There was a personal foul on the Warriors that forced them to kick off from the 20-yard line.

This gave the Mustangs good field position, as they would start at their own 40.

They took advantage of it by scoring five plays later on a touchdown pass, but the extra point would be no good so the score would stay 14-6.

The Warriors would receive to begin the second half.

Beginning the drive deep in Mustang territory thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty and a 51-yard return by junior defensive back Isaiah Hall.

With the backup quarterback in, the Warriors turned to the ground.

Santiago-Lloyd would run four straight times and score.

The Warrior defense came up big after getting a sack that would force a turnover on downs.

The Winona State offense took over and immediately march down the field.

Another personal foul by the Mustangs put the Warriors in the redzone setting up Rumpza to connect with Schleicher for his second touchdown catch of the game to make it a 22-point lead.

The Mustangs on their next drive finally got something in the second half going as they went 76 yards on 11 plays to cut the lead.

Winona State responded on the ground. Two big runs by Santiago-Lloyd led to a one-yard score by junior Landon Jacobson.

The Warriors got one more touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the final score 41-13.

Despite Burke leaving late in the first half, the offense didn’t miss a beat as Santiago-Lloyd had his third straight game over 100 yards rushing and Rumpza was able to step in and complete all of his passes and add a touchdown throw.

“We all had confidence in John and knew when he went in that he would the job done. John played great like we knew he would,” Burke said. “He is someone that has been in the program a long time and has always worked hard and it showed on Saturday. The offense as a whole unit played really well along with our defense doing what they always do and making big plays and big stops.”

The defense continued to be dominant as they forced seven sacks and they were led by senior linebacker Nick Pridgeon who got 12 tackles and a sack and a half.

On the current win streak Burke feels the team’s success following the 2-2 start has been crucial.

“We’ve got on a roll that’s always nice and that’s a big morale booster that pretty much started after the Mankato loss,” Burke said.

The Warriors will return home for Senior day to take on Augustana University.

Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9.