Phillip Klaphake threw for four touchdowns and ran for two to lead visiting St. Cloud State to a 54-48 victory over Minnesota State Mankato in the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday.
The Huskies (12-1), the No. 6 seed in Super Region 3, advance to the quarterfinals for just the second time in school history. The Huskies play at top-seeded NW Missouri State next Saturday. NW Missouri State defeated Minnesota Duluth 45-21 on Saturday.
Minnesota State Mankato (11-1) was the top-ranked team in the Division II poll and the No. 2 seed in the region.
The Mavericks gained possession for the last time with 54 seconds left on their own 30-yard line. They moved to the Huskies’ 16-yard line with three seconds to play before an incomplete pass ended the game.
“That was a great game between two very good football programs,” St. Cloud State coach Scott Underwood said. “Both teams were classy in the way they handled themselves today.
“It was another great NSIC match-up.”
Klaphake finished the game with 144 yards rushing and completed 17 of 26 passes for 329 yards.
“It’s always a great game every time we play MSU,” Klaphake said.
Mavericks quarterback Jon Wolf rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns and completed 15 of 26 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns.
The Huskies, who led 34-14 at halftime, built a 42-21 lead early in the third quarter before the Mavericks’ comeback. MSU Mankato outscored the Huskies 20-6 over the final 11 minutes of the third quarter to pull within 48-41.
Klaphake’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Michael Walker put the Huskies up 54-41 in the fourth quarter. Wolf’s 32-yard pass to Austin Rieder with 3:33 was the final score of the game and got the Mavericks within six points.
The two teams combined for 102 points at Blakeslee Stadium and 1,153 yards of total offense.
NW Missouri State 45, Minnesota Duluth 21: The host Bearcats (12-0) built a 31-0 lead en route to the victory over the Bulldogs in Maryville, Mo.
The Bulldogs (11-2) pulled with 31-21 midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bearcats pulled away again with two touchdowns in the final 3:31.
Trevor Adams passed for 277 yards and four TDs for the Bearcats.
The Bulldogs intercepted three passes, including a 48-yard interception return for a TD by Colby Ring in the fourth quarter which pulled the Bulldogs within 31-14.