Blake Gimbel connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ty Steffensen with 23 seconds to go, lifting Southwest Minnesota State to a 42-38 victory over Minnesota Duluth to open the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football season on Thursday night in Marshall, Minn.
Gimbel threw for 397 yards and five touchdowns for the Mustangs, who overcame a 10-point deficit in the closing minutes against the Bulldogs, the No. 19 team in NCAA Division II.
UMD took a 38-28 lead with 5 minutes, 1 second to go on a 42-yard field goal by Tyler McLaughlin, and soon Southwest Minnesota State faced fourth-and-14 at its own 28-yard line. But Gimbel found Nate Huot for a 20-yard gain to keep the drive going, and Gimbel then covered 51 yards on back-to-back passes to set up Divonte Beale’s 1-yard TD run, pulling the Mustangs within 38-35.
The Mustangs kickoff then went out of bounds, but UMD couldn’t capitalize and punted back with less than a minute to play. Starting at his own 36, Gimbel found Gabriel Galamue for 20 yards, then Huot for 30 before his second-down TD pass to Steffensen.
Minnesota State Mankato 35, Minot State 7: Nick Pieruccini ran for two scores, and the No. 7 Mavericks had 503 yards of offense, including 291 on the ground, against the host Beavers.
Sioux Falls 49, St. Cloud State 13: Luke Papilon ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more, including a 64-yarder to Brady Rose, as the No. 23 Cougars opened with a road rout.
Winona State 68, Minnesota Crookston 0: Paul Preston ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns, Jack Nelson threw for 209 yards and three TDs and the host Warriors blanked the Golden Eagles.
Minnesota State Moorhead 41, Wayne (Neb.) State 24: Demetrius Carr threw for 288 yards and four TDs and the host Dragons held off the Wildcats.
Bemidji State 38, Upper Iowa 24: Jordan Hein threw for 296 yards and two TDs, both to Gena Adams, and the host Beavers defeated the Peacocks.