The No. 6 Minnesota State Mavericks took it to the Northern State Wolves in a 36-0 win, with a crushing performance from the Mavericks defense.
“Great to have a shutout, very proud of our defense and defensive effort,” said Mavericks head coach, Todd Hoffner. “I thought we did a phenomenal job at the beginning of the game, going three-for-four [on offensive drives] in the first half, only receiving four drives but taking three [for scores], getting a couple two-point conversions, and going into the half with a 22-0 lead.”
Every phase of the game looked crisp and ready for the Mavericks, bouncing back from a physical win last weekend to the then-ranked No. 20 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. They looked crisp against the Wolves, ready and disciplined on every front.
The passing attack looked the best it has all season, with sophomore quarterback Ryan Schlichte throwing for 120 yards and three touchdowns on 13 of 15 passing. He completed passes to nine Mavericks, with senior wide receiver Ty Dennis leading the way with six catches for 54 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I thought the second half, with [offensive coordinator] Joe Beschorner and the offensive group, taking the ball down to the end zone in the first drive was really important to put another nail in the coffin,” said Hoffner on the offensive production. “I think as a team we keep developing and the youth we have are now becoming more mature and we do have some older transfers that are doing a phenomenal job at providing great play and leadership.”
The running game kept chugging along, as it has all season, putting up 264 yards and two scores for a 6.2 yards-per-carry average. Sophomore Nate Gunn had another game that saw him lead the backfield in rushes (13), yards (123) and scores (two touchdowns). He was also second on the team in yards-per-carry with 9.5.
Special teams did a great job as well, with punts from Casey Bednarski and Tucker Hague both pinning the Wolves behind the 20-yard line and Bednarski recording two touchbacks on six kickoffs.
The defense, however, was the most impressive part of the evening. The Maverick defense recorded eight tackles for loss and three sacks. Junior defensive lineman Zach Dodge racked up 2.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks in a big day for Wisconsin-native.
Sophomore Dylan Jiles also had a big day, recording his first interception as a Maverick which turned out to be the day’s only turnover for the Wolves. The leading tackler for the Mavericks was senior linebacker Jerry Nash III, who posted seven total tackles, four of which were solo. The big day gives him 19 tackles through four games. Thanks to very stout defensive performances, the Mavs have outscored opponents 165-49 through four games.
“Defensively, we wanted to respect our opponent. Obviously Northern State doesn’t have the reputation that [Minnesota] Duluth has and everybody was questioning, ‘Are they going to get over that win, are they still celebrating?’,” said Nash III on the defensive mind set. “I think we came in and made it a point to start fast and finish faster with them.”
The No.6 Mavericks are on the road again next weekend to play the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears, who currently hold an overall and conference record of 1-3 and have been outscored by opponents 131-82 this season. They are currently riding a three-game losing streak so the Mavericks should have the edge in this one.