MANKATO, Minn. | Wayne State’s football team gave the nation’s top-ranked NCAA Division II squad an early fourth quarter scare Saturday afternoon.

Aaron Bleil’s third touchdown pass of the game, a 45-yarder to former South Sioux City Cardinal Nate Rogers, forced a 27-27 tie with 12:24 remaining. However, Minnesota State scored on its three next possessions and defeated the Wildcats 48-27 during Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action at Blakeslee Stadium.

Ryan Schlichte fired two of his three touchdown passes in the final period, beginning with a 35-yarder to Trevor Nissen that snapped the deadlock. Schlichte’s 160-yard passing performance also included an eight-yarder scoring pass to Tyler Schmidt that gave Mavericks a 41-27 lead.

Minnesota State (10-0, 6-0 NSIC) also received 203 yards on the ground and three touchdowns from Justin Taormina. The Mavericks also scored touchdowns following two Wayne State turnovers in the opening quarter while building a 17-0 lead.

Bleil completed 16 of 36 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns for Wayne State (5-5, 3-3). Rogers and Willie Walton each had six catches for respective totals of 92 and 73 yards.

Ian Ailts had 11 tackles. Aaron Wright and Ben Elznic each added eight tackles for the Wildcats, which will end the season next Saturday by hosting Upper Iowa.

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