Minnesota State takes on Texas A & M – Commerce next in NCAA playoffs
The Minnesota State Mavericks continue to roll through the playoffs, crushing the Midwestern State Mustangs in a 63-21 butchering of the No. 5 team. The Mavericks are now 13-0 including playoff wins, with no signs of slowing down.
“What a tremendous game by the Mavericks, our guys were put in great positions to make plays while our offensive line just dominated,” said Mavericks head coach Todd Hoffner after the game. “We got off to a great start, then the rest of the way I thought we took over, our guys were very motivated and driven to play a great football game today.”
The Mavericks rumbled to 502 rushing yards, controlling the game up front and jumping out to a 25-7 lead before the half. Running back Nate Gunn cruised to 193 yards on the ground and two scores in his second game back from injury. But he was not the only impressive back, as Justin Taormina racked up 134 yards on just 12 carries. Both Gunn and Taormina averaged a stunning 7.7 and 7.1 yards per carry in the show that the ground game put on. Second string quarterback J.D. Ekowa joined in with 75 rushing yards and a pair of scores, tossing one for a touchdown.
“I thought the offensive line coaches did a great job having guys attack to get Gunn running vertically instead of east and west. I also thought our tight ends did a great job along with our receivers… our receivers blocked really well,” said Hoffner on what opened up the running game. “Our offensive line was exceptional.”
While Mustangs quarterback Layton Rabb tried to keep his team in the game with 260 passing yards and three scores, the one-dimensional offense was held to 25 rushing yards. The Mavs outgained the Mustangs in total yards by a staggering count of 607 to 285, racking up 33 first downs to seven.
“Thought we had to defend the skinny post and deep better,” said Hoffner after the Mustangs scored on the opening drive. “Thought the secondary coaches came back with some great adjustments to defend that better after the first drive, after that our guys were pretty fired up, scored the field goal and then the touchdown, after that the floodgates were opened up.”
Senior linebacker Jerry Nash III was the standout Maverick defender, with a tackle for loss, broken-up pass and a pick. Senior defensive lineman Evan Perrizo also stood out, as he was the only Maverick to snag a sack, along with grabbing another of the team’s three tackles for loss.
The game was an absolute smothering by the Mavericks, as they had the Mustangs outclassed in every phase of the game, nabbing another playoff win at home and securing their third home playoff game in-a-row, hosting the No. 8 Texas A&M-Commerce Lions next weekend. While the Mavericks have put up some outstanding various performances, one of their biggest advantages has been continually securing home field, now forcing a team out of Texas to travel North.