SMB quarterback Jalen Suggs sported a bloodied left knee after the Class 4A semifinal Thursday.
Suggs wasn't too concerned about his "dings and bruises," symbols of the physical game his defending Prep Bowl champions won 22-16 against Hutchinson.
"They play hard; they've got some big boys up front," Suggs said. "… I've got to give credit to my guys. We didn't break; we stayed resilient."
Suggs threw for three touchdowns and intercepted two passes: The second came on the first play of the fourth quarter as Hutchinson sought to continue executing coach Andy Rostberg's game plan to "lean on them and grind it out and wear them out."
Suggs hit back, grabbing quarterback Russell Corrigan's pass attempt and returning it to the Tigers 35-yard line. A few players later, Suggs threw a 24-yard touchdown to Judah Thomas for a 16-8 lead.
Hutchinson (11-1) drew even on a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 15-yard Corrigan touchdown run. Corrigan, a 240-pound former tight end recruited to Boise State, pounded out 52 yards rushing in the game.
But Suggs, revered as one of Minnesota's all-time great football and basketball players, kept the Wolfpack (12-0) on pace for the go-ahead score. He feinted and slipped would-be tacklers as he ran for 102 yards and threw for 210 yards.
"He's one of the most athletic kids we've had to defend," Rostberg said. "There are not many better than him as far as being able to extend plays with his feet."
Suggs the game-changer became a play-changer to make the evening's final big play possible in the final minute.
"He called a hitch, but sorry, Coach," Suggs said as he looked left toward a smiling Chris Goodwin, "I changed the play up a little bit."
Suggs audibled to a deeper hitch route, sending Savion Robinson 14 yards to the end zone. It was a play they started working on in August.
Suggs said he saw the Tigers' defensive back turn his hips, knew Robinson had him beat and "let it go before he even broke out of his route."