The Saginaw Valley State University football team fell to 0-1 in conference play (2-1 overall) dropping the GLIAC opener 41-31 to Wayne State University at Tom Adams field in Detroit, MI Saturday afternoon.
Wayne State quarterback D.J. Zezula hit Deion Nichols with a 44 yard touchdown pass and Paul Graham's extra point kick missed as WSU took an early 6-0 lead with 10:50 to play in the first quarter.
Saginaw Valley would go 3 and out on its first drive and the Warriors answered when Zezula hit Darece Roberson with a 54 yard TD pass, Graham's kick was good as Wayne State extended its lead to 13-0 with 7:52 to play in the first quarter.
The Cardinals put its first points on the board when Alex Kenrick sent a 44 yard field goal through the uprights, cutting into the WSU lead 13-3 with 2:24 left in the first quarter.
Saginaw Valley quarterback Ryan Conklin capped off a 9 play drive with a 3 yard rushing TD from the 3 yard line as Kenrick's kick was good, cutting into the WSU lead 13-10 with 8:18 left in the first half.
The Warriors anwered with a quick strike, 4-play drive, as Zezula hit Manny Mendoza for a 31 yard TD pass, and Graham's kick was good for a 20-10 WSU lead with 6:51 left in the half.
Not to be outdone, Conklin capped off a 3 play drive of his own with a 44 yard TD pass to redshirt freshman Marcus Edmonson. Kenrick's kick was good to cut the WSU lead to 20-17 with 5:45 left in the first half.
Wayne State RB Romello Brown broke through with a 1 yard TD run, as Graham's kick was good to cap a 10 play, ball control drive, as the Warriors would take a 27-17 lead into halftime.
Brown scored again, late in the third quarter when he broke loose for a 24 yard TD run. Graham kicked the extra point to give Wayne State a 34-17 lead in the final seconds of the third quarter.
Saginaw Valley, however, would not go away quietly as Nate McCrary carried the ball for a 1-yard rushing TD, as Kenrick's kick was good to cut the SVSU deficit to 34-24 with 4:55 left in the fourth quarter.
Nichols scored again for Wayne State, this time with his legs, scampering 41 yards for a rushing TD, as Graham's kick was good for a 41-24 WSU lead with 1:48 left in the game.
Saginaw Valley managed to cut the WSU lead to 10, just ran out of time after Conklin hit RB Tommy Scott Jr. with an 18 yard TD pass, as Kenrick's kick was good to round out the scoring 41-31 with :33 seconds left in the game.
Conklin completed 23 of his 31 pass for 318 yards and 2 passing TD's, along with 1 rushing TD, while Alfonso Vultaggio hauled in 10 catches for 134 yards to lead all Cardinal receivers. Damaris Woods added 5 catches for 52 yards and Edmonson had the 44 yard TD catch.
Scott Jr. carried the ball 18 times for 100 yards for SVSU, while former Arthur Hill standout Nate Moore returned 6 kickoff's for 114 yards.
The Cardinals will return for some 'home-cookin' when it host's Michigan Tech University in the annual Hall of Fame Game next Saturday, Sep. 23, at Harvey Randall Wickes Stadium on the campus of SVSU.