Football looks to Keep Their Championship Hopes Alive vs. A&M
After a dominating performance against Midwestern State last Saturday at the Blake, your Minnesota State University Mavericks are back in action this Saturday for another home game. This time they welcome Texas A&M-Commerce to town.
Texas A&M-Commerce comes in boasting an impressive 11-1 record. They are currently on a seven-game winning streak and are playing the best football of their season as they just knocked off the number one team in the region, Central Washington. The Lions have a high-powered offense that has managed to score 50 plus points on four separate occasions giving the Maverick defense a tall task on Saturday.
The Lions and MSU have faced two of the same opponents this year. One team is Midwestern State (the Mavericks defeated Midwestern State 63-21 in their most recent game). The game against MWSU was the Lion’s only defeat of the season, coming on October 7th. The game was close throughout, but eventually Midwestern State defeated A&M by the score of 47-42. Another opponent the teams both faced was Winona State. This matchup came in the first round of the playoffs where Commerce went into Winona and put on a defensive clinic, knocking off the Warriors 20-6 to advance in the tournament.
Texas A&M-Commerce presents an offensive attack that is possibly more potent and unique than any other the Mavericks have faced so far this year. This team loves to air the ball out and do it quite effectively. They average 363 yards passing per game while still managing to average 90+ rushing yards per game. The Mavs secondary will have to come out ready to make plays as they have not been tested like this all year.
If the wind is a factor, the advantage lies with the hometown team as the Mavericks love to pound the rock. Minnesota State presents probably the best compliment of offense and defense in the nation as the offense often puts up huge numbers on the ground while the defense typically dominates and frustrates the opponent to the point where they cannot get any type of rhythm going on offense.
If the Mavericks want to advance to the semifinals of the playoffs, they must look to get the ball to their star studded running backs. The Mavericks are lucky enough to have two 1,000 yard rushers in sophomore Nate Gunn and freshman Justin Taormina. Gunn is sitting at 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. He probably would have had the opportunity to go over 2,000 this year if it wasn’t for an injury that kept him sidelined for about a month. For Taormina, he did an amazing job filling in for Gunn rushing for 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns now showing the Maverick coaching staff that this could be a fearsome 2-headed rushing monster going forward.
Minnesota State wins and it is not really that close. A&M is traveling to its third straight away game, all being across the country, so some could say that fatigue might start to set in. Either way, most expect MNSU to win, but maybe I feel a little more strongly about it than most. Mavericks win 38-17.