Minot State University senior Wayne Peters is quietly putting together a season worthy of the record books.
The shifty 5-foot-10, 187-pound receiver is leading the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with 36 catches through five games. His current pace would give him 79 receptions at season's end, which would easily eclipse Harry Mills' MSU single-season record of 67 in 2002. Minnesota State University-Moorhead's Jabari Taylor set the NSIC mark in 2007 with 78 receptions.
Catching high volumes of passes is nothing new for the Carson, Calif., native, who snared a team-high 81 in his sophomore season at Pasadena (Calif.) Community College. Peters caught 39 balls in 2012, his first season with MSU.
Minot State University senior wideout Wayne Peters carries the ball against the University of Mary last season. Photo courtesy of MSU sports information.
"Catching has always been my biggest strength," Peters said. "Once I graduated high school, I really started perfecting my footwork and trying to be a little more quicker. I didn't have the great top speed so I figured I had to do something (and) basically get quicker."
Because of Peters' elusiveness, the Beavers (1-4) make it a priority to get the him the ball in open space. He routinely catches short swing passes and slants and returns punts and kickoffs. The same attributes that make him tough to tackle in the open field make him a handful to cover while running routes.
"He can create space when there isn't a whole lot of space there," MSU sophomore quarterback Zac Cunha said. "That's really all being a receiver is, is creating space for the ball to get thrown to you."
Said Peters: "I try to get into the DB's hips, try to turn the hips and open their hips the opposite of where I'm going. Once you get their hips opened up a certain way, there's really not much they can do."
Peters is averaging 123.6 all-purpose yards per game, the 10th-most in the NSIC. Peters and the MSU offense could enjoy a big statistical game Saturday against Northern State (1-4), which is giving up a league-worst 523 yards per game.
MSU athletics to enshrine four
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee has voted to add three former student-athletes and one special achievement award into the Hall of Fame.
Former student-athletes Kenny Smith, Brad Tighe and Karen White, along with MSU President David Fuller, will be inducted during halftime of the Beavers' home football game Saturday against Northern State. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Here is a look at the accomplishments of each of the 2013 inductees:
Since Fuller took over as president in 2004, MSU made the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, joined the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, added women's soccer as a varsity sport and reinstated wrestling as a varsity program after a near 20-year absence.
MSU's facilities have been upgraded during Fuller's tenure, including the completion of the Wellness Center and renovations to Herb Parker Stadium and Swain Hall.
Smith finished his two-year football career as one of the top passers in school history, tossing for 5,571 yards and 53 touchdowns. He led the Beavers to a 9-2 record in 2002 and a spot in the NAIA national playoffs.
Smith set the MSU single-season records for passing yards (3,298), passing yards per game (299.3) and touchdowns (34).
Tighe competed in cross country and track and field from 1998-2003. He was an NAIA national champion, eight-time All-American and five-time academic All-American.
In 2002, Tighe won the 3,000 meters at the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships, placed second in both the 5,000 and 10,000 at the outdoor championships and won the Penn Relays Men's 5,000 meters. He was also a member of the Beavers' 2002 national champion cross country team, which was enshrined in the MSU Hall of Fame in 2011.
White was a two-sport standout for MSU from 1982-86, excelling in basketball and track and field.
She competed in sprinting events, throwing events and the heptathlon - setting school records in the shot put (38 feet, 7 inches indoor, 41-4 outdoor) and heptathlon (4,121 points). The Bishop Ryan High School graduate averaged 8.8 points per game in basketball, including 11 points during her freshman and junior seasons as a Beaver.
A banquet to honor the 2013 inductees will be held at the conference center on the third floor of the Student Center on Saturday, with a social beginning at 6 p.m. and the banquet at 6:30 p.m. Cost of the meal is $20 per person. For more information or to purchase a ticket for the banquet, contact the MSU athletic department at 852-3041.
MSU midfielder dangerous on set pieces
Not much has gone right offensively for the MSU women's soccer team, which has scored just six goals in struggling to a 2-5-2 record.
With the Beavers laboring to score during the run of play, sophomore Emilie Rebelo's pinpoint accuracy on free kicks could become even more important for MSU the rest of the season.
The midfielder from Sacramento, Calif., is equally capable of testing the opposing goalkeeper with a long strike and placing deep passes onto a teammate's head in the 18-yard box. MSU coach Jason Spain said Rebelo can beat goalies from up to 45 yards out on a stationary ball.
"I'm constantly having to work on it," Rebelo said of her free kicks. "It's definitely something that has not come easily."
Rebelo said she decides whether to shoot or play the ball into box by analyzing the distance and angle to the goal.
Like her teammates, Rebelo has struggled to find the net this year, blasting several near misses off the crossbar or just over it.
Spain said he's confident that Rebelo and junior striker Zoe Fisher will eventually provide more scoring punch. Fisher is coming off the bench after suffering a knee injury against Winona State on Sept. 27.
"We gotta open up more," Spain said. "I believe what we're doing. As the season goes on, Belo's kicks are gonna go in and Zoe's gonna catch fire. If we keep defending how we're defending, we're gonna be tough."
The Beavers host Minnesota Duluth (7-2 overall, 6-1 Northern Sun) at 11 a.m. Saturday and St. Cloud State (5-4-1, 2-4-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Daniel Allar covers Minot State University athletics. Follow him on Twitter @DAllar_MDN.