Football rolls into the weekend undefeated

The team looks ready to defend home turf vs. Minot State

Kolby Spomer
Staff Writer

The Maverick football team is nearing the end of their season, and they have yet to lose a game. On Saturday, they start the final stretch of the season against the Minot State Beavers and they look to head into the playoffs undefeated and at the top of the divisional seedings.

Saturday’s game between the Mavericks and Minot State will be the fourth meeting between the two squads, with the Mavericks having never lost against the Beavers in all of their meetings against the team. MNSU squashed Minot State 35-7 during their last meeting back in 2016.

Minnesota State improved to 6-0 last weekend as they defeated MSU-Moorhead 42-20 on the road. As a unit, the Mavericks are averaging roughly 42 points per game and 460 yards of offense a game this season. In comparison, opposing teams are only managing around 19 points per game and 305 yards of offense a game.

Junior Nate Gunn leads a strong MNSU rushing attack with 620 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Sophomores Justin Taormina and JD Ekowa add 240 rushing yards and a touchdown, and 255 yards and two touchdowns, respectively. These amazing numbers would not be possible without one of the strongest offensive lines in the NSIC.

Junior Ryan Schlichte has, as a result, not been forced to throw a lot. When he does throw, however, he does so very well, throwing for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He is completing nearly 62 percent of his passes as well.

The Maverick receiving core is led by the duo of junior studs Shane Zylstra and Justin Arnold. Zylstra has gobbled up 525 receiving yards and six touchdown catches, while Arnold has snagged 20 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown himself.

Juniors Alex Goettl leads an extremely tough Maverick defense with 36 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss and 3.5 sacks. 

Sophomore Chance Bowen has been a menace as a pass rusher, wrangling 18 tackles, including 9.0 for a loss and 8.0 sacks as well. 

Sophomore Cade Johnson has also recorded 29 tackles, including three for a loss.

Minot State enters the weekend the owner of an abysmal 1-5 record. The Beavers have lost three straight games, including a whopper of a beating last weekend, losing 44-9 to Upper Iowa.

As a team, Minot is averaging just 258 yards and 17 points per game this season, with its opponents nearly doubling that averaging a massive 499 yards and 41 points a game. 

Ben Bolinske has thrown for just 739 yards and six touchdowns. He has also thrown six interceptions but leads the Beavers with 304 yards and three touchdown carries on the ground.

Lavante Bushnell leads the thin Beaver receiving core with 314 yards and four touchdowns. 

Chris Rivers leads the Minot State defense with an impressive 42 tackles and two interceptions. Kiante Goudeau has also tallied 35 tackles and three interceptions. 

Logan Krueger has notched a team-leading 4.0 tackles for a loss and two sacks.

It’s safe to say the Mavericks should create carnage on the field, and the Beavers will hopefully be an easy win for the team. If you want to see the game, game time is at 1 p.m. this Saturday at the Blake.

Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.

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