Wayne State (12-4) put up a remarkable fight for their first ever Division-II championship, but ultimately fell to the perennial D-II powerhouse Pittsburg State. Pitt State's 35-21 win was their first in the championship game since winning 20 years ago over Jacksonville State.
The Wayne State Warriors, formerly/affectionately known as the "Tartars," capped off their first run in the NCAA playoffs with a difficult 35-21 defeat in which they were able to hang with the top seeded Gorillas.
Wayne State started the game by taking the opening kickoff 93 yards for a quick 7-0 lead. Pitt State returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards, but were intercepted on their first play from scrimmage. Unfortunately, Wayne State threw it right back to the Gorillas two plays later, allowing the Gorillas to tie the score after two plays of their own. That all happened in the first 120 seconds.
Wayne State turned it over on their first three possessions and four times in all. The real back breaker had to be in the second quarter, though, when a Wayne State 22 yard field goal try was blocked by Pitt State and returned 80 yards for a touchdown.
Wayne State cut the game to 27-21 with over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but could not stop Pitt State from scoring and converting the two-point conversion to make it 35-21. Wayne State quarterback Mickey Mohner, who finished 7-of-16 for 59 yards and no touchdowns, was intercepted for the third time, allowing Pitt State to run out the clock on the Warriors season.
The loss ends an amazing run for the Warriors and spoiled a tremendous game by running back Toney Davis who ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.