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SMSU Wins in Overtime

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FAYETTE, IOWA – Gannon Moore scored a 9-yard touchdown run in overtime to lift Southwest Minnesota State to a trilling 40-34 overtime victory over Upper Iowa on Saturday in Fayette, Iowa.

SMSU (4-4, 3-4 NSIC) scored the game’s final 13 points to earn the victory.  Upper Iowa (1-7, 1-6 NSIC) took a 34-27 lead with 1:47 left in regulation on a 3-yard touchdown run by Mike Moser, but SMSU rallied just 45 seconds later as Ryan Ratekin tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Dean to tie the score at 34-34 with 1:02 on the clock.

In overtime, Upper Iowa started with the ball, but on third and four from the SMSU 19-yard line, UIU quarterback Ben Curran was intercepted in the end zone by Curt Gosser to end the drive.  It was the only turnover by UIU in the game.

SMSU then took over and Ratekin started the drive with a three-yard pass to Britt Wickett.  Following a seven-yard run by Ratekin, Moore plowed six more yards on a run to move the ball to the 9-yard line.  Moore then closed the game with the game-winning touchdown one play later.

It was SMSU’s first overtime game since Nov. 3, 2007, a triple overtime loss to Winona State.  SMSU’s last overtime victory was against Upper Iowa on Oct. 14, 2006.  SMSU is now 3-5 all-time in overtime games.

Moore finished with 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 carries and also caught six passes for 56 yards and one touchdown.  Ratekin finished the game completing 27 of 41 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.  Bret Ballantine caught a career-high eight passes for a career-high 118 yards and one touchdown.

Paul Muecke led the SMSU defense with 11 tackles, while Gosser finished with 10 tackles.

Upper Iowa opened the game’s scoring by taking the opening kickoff and moving 52 yards in eight plays with Ben Curran capping the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to John Baldwin with 11 minutes and 46 seconds left in the opening quarter.  The extra point was missed to keep the score at 6-0.

Southwest Minnesota State was able to respond on its opening drive, converting a pair of fourth-down conversions, to take the lead.  The Mustangs converted a fourth and three from the UIU 40-yard line and a fourth and nine from the UIU24-yard line to keep the drive alive, before Moore capped the 11-play drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to tie the score with 5:32 remaining.  Mike Wenk moments later booted the PAT to give SMSU a 7-6 lead.

Following an UIU punt, the SMSU offense extended the lead on its next possession with Ratekin scoring on a 7-yard run with 41 seconds left in the quarter to push the lead to 14-6.  The drive was highlighted by a pair of Ratekin to Moore pass completions, one for 19 yards and another for 14 yards to set up the touchdown run.

The Mustang defense continued to play well, forcing back-to-back punts by UIU, but the offense was not able to take advantage.  SMSU nearly extended the lead in the second quarter moving from their own 7-yard line down to the UIU 20-yard line, but facing fourth and three from the UIU 21-yard line, Ratekin’s pass in the end zone to Shane LaDage was called incomplete, ending the scoring threat.

The Peacocks were able to use the momentum and moved the ball on their next possession inside the SMSU 10-yard line, but the Mustang defense stiffened and forced a 24-yard field goal by Jason Price, who trimmed the lead to 14-9 with 1:34 left in the half.

SMSU finished the opening half with 196 yards with Moore leading the way with 43 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Ratekin completed 14 of 19 passes for 145 yards.  SMSU converted just 2 of 7 third-down conversions in the opening half.

Ratekin was intercepted on SMSU’s first drive of the second half at the 32-yard line and the Peacocks were able to take advantage as Moser scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 12:32 left in the third quarter.  Following a two-point conversion, UIU extended the lead to 17-14.

SMSU was forced to punt on its next possession, but a 59-yard punt by Wenk pinned UIU at 11-yard line.  The Mustang defense then forced a punt, setting up the offense at the SMSU 48-yard line.  Just three plays later, SMSU regained the lead as Ratekin connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ballantine with 6:30 on the clock to give SMSU a 21-17 lead.

UIU answered back and regained the lead just five plays later as Curran fired a 46-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Hubbard with 4:47 left in the quarter to cap a 60-yard drive.

Following punts by both teams, SMSU was able to grab the lead early in the fourth quarter as Moore caught a screen pass from Ratekin and scored from 20 yards out to make the score 27-24 with 13:11 left in the game following a blocked PAT.

Upper Iowa answered again, moving down to the SMSU 2-yard line and had first and goal, but the Mustang defense stopped three straight runs, forcing a 24-yard field goal by Price with 7:22 left in the game to tie the game at 27-27.

The Peacocks looked to score the game-winning touchdown with 1:47 left in regulation following a 3-yard touchdown by Moser to give UIU a 34-27 lead.  With their back against the wall, SMSU rallied again as Ratekin tied the game with 1:02 remaining on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Dean, his first career touchdown and following the PAT by Wenk the game was tied at 34-34.

Southwest Minnesota State returns home next Saturday, Oct. 30, to face Winona State at the Regional Event Center with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m.

Courtesy: Kelly Loft, SMSU Athletics
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