The No. 12 Minnesota State Mavericks had their way in a dominate performance over the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles 56-19, in a game that showcased a 28-point second quarter for the Mavs and a record-breaking kick from Casey Bednarski.
“We talked about what my range was in practice and I said around 60ish,” said kicker Bednarski. “So in the game, [Hoffner] trusted me and called me out there. 30 was the furthest I even tried in warmups, but I did [feel confident] and had confidence in my snapper and holder and the protection.”
The offense made easy work of the Golden Eagle front, rushing for 440 yards to the Eagles 34. Sophomore Ian Pribyl ran for 133 yards for the Mavs, while sophomore Nate Gunn had 102 yards and a score. True-freshman Justin Taormina was right there as well with 92 yards and the Mavs had four runners average double-digit yards per carry on the day.
“Very workmanship effort from the Mavericks. There are some positive things to look at, as no game is ever perfect, especially when you have to defend that many plays or when you have to run that many players when the game is in hand,” said head coach Todd Hoffner. “Keeping that motivation and sustaining it when the game is already over at halftime is very hard to do, but there are a lot of things we can move forward with so overall I am very happy with the effort.”
In the passing attack, sophomore Ryan Schlichte had a bounce-back game, throwing for 176 yards and two scores on 10 of 19 passing. His only mistake was an interception, but overall his performance was far more buttoned up than his previous game against the University of Mary. Sophomore Shane Zylstra was the reliable target in this game, with five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Both sophomore Vance Barnes and senior Ty Dennis had over 40 yards through the air, but it was on one catch apiece.
“[Minnesota] Crookston did come up and play physical from play one, but we wore them down over the course of the game,” said Hoffner. “The offensive line wore them down and opened up some holes late. Nate [Gunn] hit some hard holes and fell forward which is important with our run game getting positive yards, and we came out and responded well.”
On the defensive end, the Mavericks suffocated the Eagles with 10 tackles for loss and four sacks, along with two takeaways.
Pass rushing specialist Evan Perrizo was outstanding, racking up two tackles for loss and a sack. Senior linebacker Brendan Chrystal had seven tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.
And then there was Bednarski’s 63-yard field goal that broke both the school record and the NISC record for a made field goal, also blowing his previous long of 42-yards in junior college out of the water. All around, the team had a very strong showing that put the shakiness of the quarterback play on the back-burner.