by CHRIS EDWARDS
From The Winonan, WSU’s student newspaper
The Winona State University football team improved its record to 5-2 after defeating the University of Minnesota Crookston 51-13 on Saturday, October 14.
Coming off a dominant 54-13 victory against the University of Mary, spectators saw a similar game this week, though the Warriors had to overcome bad field conditions and a cold and windy day in Crookston, Minn.
The game got off to a slow start with multiple punts from both teams before a short punt by the Golden Eagles allowed Winona State to start with a short field on Crookston’s 17.
The Warriors took advantage of the field position with a scoring drive capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Eric Birth to score the first points of the game.
On the next drive, Winona forced a fumble on defense and first-year defensive back David Munson came up with the recovery. However, on the very next play, sophomore quarterback Owen Burke lost a fumble giving the ball right back to the Golden Eagles.
The fumbles did not stop there, as two plays later another one occured, this time recovered by sophomore defensive lineman Cole LaLiberty.
The Warriors capitalized going 51-yards in six plays with the drive, ending with another three-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd, extending their first quarter lead to 14.
Defensively, Winona State continued to make plays, forcing a safety and extending the lead to 16.
At the beginning of the second quarter the Warriors’ offense was continuing to drive down the field, managing to get another rushing touchdown with Santiago-Lloyd.
At halftime the lead was 23-0 Winona State.
The Warriors began the second half on offense, and once again, Burke led the players down the field. Taking into account their sloppy field conditions, the Warriors decided to go for it on fourth down. Despite a holding penalty forcing them to overcome an extra 10 yards, the Warriors scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass caught by junior wide receiver Tanner Gran.
Later on in the third quarter the Warriors’ defense came up with another turnover, forcing a fumble recovered by first-year linebacker Ben McCabe. Then, a few drives removed, the Warriors scored on 25-yard catch made by first-year receiver Darryl Williams, pushing the lead to 37-0 heading into the final quarter of play.
In the fourth, Winona State’s defense scored a touchdown for the second straight game with junior defensive lineman Alex Evans recovering a fumble for a touchdown.
The Golden Eagles finally got on the board in the fourth, scoring two touchdowns. As the Warriors scored twice as well, the final score ended at 51-13.
Before the game, Owen Burke refused to overlook the challenge on the road.
“It’ll be a tough atmosphere this weekend, snowy and far away. We’ve got to go in this game ready to go because we can’t overlook anybody,” Burke said.
Burke believes that the team will need to deal with the changing weather conditions as the season nears its close.
“It feels that the second half of the season gets hard and the weather starts to make more of an impact, but just keep encouraging the guys; the goal is to win out and hopefully make the playoffs,” Burke said.
Next week, the Warriors will return home on a three-game win streak to face the No. 6 University of Minnesota-Duluth. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 20.