The M State Spartans football team saw their unbeaten streak come to an end Saturday falling to the visiting North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Wildcats 34-28.
In the opening quarter the Wildcats would strike first, capping off a 70-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run from T.J. Owens followed by a Nikolas Hunchak extra-point kick to take the lead 7-0. M State would fire back with four seconds left in the quarter to tie the game at 7-7 on a 4-yard pass from Nate Hayden to Jallah Zeze followed by Carsen McKnight’s point-after kick.
The second quarter was scoreless until the last five seconds when NDSCS took the lead on a 14-yard run by Graedyn Buell followed by the point after making the score 14-7 but the Spartans would tie the game before halftime on a 72-yard kickoff return by Alieu Conteh followed by another McKnight extra-point kick bringing the score even at 14-14.
After the break on the first possession of the third quarter the Wildcats got a step ahead when Jaderian Johnson scored on an 81-yard pass from punter Hunchak after being pressured by the Spartan defense. After failing to convert two the Wildcats led the Spartans 20-14. M State would answer back taking to the air with Hayden connecting to Zeze on a 60-yard pass but the follow-up point after kick would be blocked with both teams locked at 20-20.
In the fourth quarter NDSCS would take the lead early and keep it this time beginning with a Marselio Mendez 5-yard pass followed by the extra-point kick for the 27-20 lead. M State fought back again with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Hayden to Jonathan Griffin but the two-point conversion would fail and the Spartans would trail the Wildcats 27-26.
With the game going into the homestretch NDSCS’s Mendez would score again on a 39-yard pass for a touchdown with the Wildcats making the kick after 34-26. The final score of the game would come by way of a safety on a punt snap for the 34-28 final.
M State had 347 total yards of offense with 331 of those from passing compared to NDSCS’ 350 total and 290 passing. The Spartans had 16 yards on the ground on 21 attempts while the Wildcats had 60 yards rushing on 35 attempts.
M State will now travel to Vermilion Community College for a 3 p.m. start time.