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Eric Peterson, Published September 01 2012

Wayne State powers past Dragons in football opener

MOORHEAD – Wayne State sophomore Adam Stark ran past Minnesota State Moorhead’s youthful secondary twice in the first quarter. The Dragons never recovered.

Stark hauled in two long touchdown passes in the first nine minutes to spark the Wildcats to a 49-6 victory Saturday in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football at Alex Nemzek Stadium.

The game was the season and conference opener for both teams.

“We knew that all of our young guys who started could be potentially vulnerable early,” said Dragons head coach Steve Laqua. “We had to weather that storm, and we weren’t able to do that on those plays.”

The Dragons started 11 freshmen, including all four players in their defensive secondary. MSUM started a redshirt and true freshman at cornerback and two freshmen at the safety positions.

Wayne State head coach Dan McLaughlin said he felt Stark, who was a track star in high school at Elkhorn, Neb., would be able to get behind the Dragons secondary.

“He can really, really run,” McLaughlin said. “It’s something we tried to do in practice.”

Wayne State had 181 yards on 15 plays in the first quarter, with 132 of those yards coming on two passes to Stark.

Stark hauled in his first touchdown pass less than three minutes into the game. The 6-foot-1,

175-pound wide receiver caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Nate Most on a third-and-8 play. That gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 12 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Less than six minutes later, Wayne State pushed its lead to two touchdowns. Stark again sped past the MSUM secondary and made a slick catch on a dead sprint just past midfield. Stark then scooted into the end zone on a play that covered 83 yards. That gave Wayne State a 14-0 lead with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter.

“They had their safeties up close to the line of the scrimmage. We thought we could get behind them,” McLaughlin said.

“The pass plays were tough early,” Laqua added. “I felt like our defense was playing pretty good football other than those two plays.”

Dragons redshirt freshman quarterback Myles Montplaisir was making his first career collegiate start. Montplaisir completed 10 of 25 passes for 146 yards and also threw two interceptions. The left-hander was 5-for-10 for 91 yards in the second half.

“It wasn’t anything I didn’t expect,” said Montplaisir, who is a Fargo Shanley graduate. “It’s just adjusting to what it’s like and making changes. We did get better and that was our goal. … Now, it’s how do we fix our mistakes and how do we respond to it.”

The Dragons scored their lone touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. True freshman running back Zayne Medhaug, from Wahpeton, N.D., scored on a 2-yard touchdown run. That capped a 9-play, 75-yard drive and cut the Wayne State lead to 42-6 with 6:18 remaining in the game.

“People may not see the results, we lost, and we’re not happy about that. We’re looking forward to getting better and that’s our plan,” Montplaisir said. “I thought that our effort was great. I thought our execution at times was almost there. It was right there.”

Wayne State finished with 587 yards on 62 plays from scrimmage. The Wildcats had four scoring plays that were longer than 40 yards, including two TDs that were more than 80 yards.

“I was excited with the way those young guys kept battling,” Laqua said. “I think we have a lot more speed and athleticism on the field. We have to sometimes manage the inconsistencies that come with that. We played a really good football team that took advantage of those inconsistencies.”

McLaughlin liked what he saw from a youthful MSUM squad.

“Steve has done a great job with those kids. I’m really impressed with how hard they play,” McLaughlin said. “Their quarterback is going to be good. He’s going to be really, really good. … They’ve got a bright future.”

MSUM 0 0 0 6–6

WSC 14 14 7 14–49

WSC – Stark 49 pass from Most (Martin kick)

WSC – Stark 83 pass from Most (Martin kick)

WSC – Pulscher 4 run (Martin kick)

WSC – Paulsen 25 pass from Most (Martin kick)

WSC – Davidson 43 run (Martin kick)

WSC – Kent 81 run (Martin kick)

MSUM – Medhaug 2 run (Kramer kick failed)

WSC – Hester 5 run (Martin kick)



First downs 22 16

Rushes-yards 39-303 40-66

Passing 284 151

Comp-Att-Int 17-23-1 11-27-2

Punts-Avg. 3-42.7 8-35.1

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 12-92 6-67

Time of Possession 30:54 29:06


RUSHING: WSC, Davidson 14-127, Kent 1-81, Most 2-0, Pulscher 18-89, Hester 3-10, McGill 1-3. MSUM, Montplaisir 11-(-21), Medhaug 6-8, Schell 20-81, Lange 3-(-2).

PASSING: WSC, Kent 2-2-0, Most 15-21-1. MSUM, Montplaisir 10-25-2, Toelle, 1-2-0.

RECEIVING: WSC, Davidson 1-(-5), Stark 2-132, Paulsen 5-85, Calhoun 2-26, Saunders 1-5, McDaniel 2-31, Paulscher 2-5, McGill 1-15. MSUM, Birr 1-21, Williams 1-(-2), Jiskra 4-76, Rivard 2-17, Marlowe 1-15, Shelley 1-19, Youngblom 1-5.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com