The Minnesota State Maverick football team’s run in the 2018 DII football playoffs is over
The No. 1 team in the nation saw their playoff-run end Saturday night after losing to No. 2 Ferris State 42-25 in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in Mankato, Minnesota.
The team hadn’t lost a game in 371 days until Saturday. They end the season with a 13-1 record, while Ferris State improved to 15-0, and moves on to the DII National Championship this Saturday in McKinney, Texas.
While the scoreboard didn’t show it, the Mavericks were neck-and-neck all game long until the better half of the fourth quarter.
Down only three with just six minutes left in the ball-game, Ferris State went on a 13-play, 73-yard drive, that culminated in a one yard touchdown run from Marvin Campbell to go up 35-25 with just over five minutes to play.
A strip sack by FSU defensive lineman Austin Edwards on MSU’s following drive on the quarterback, junior Ryan Schlichte, gave the Bulldogs the ball on the MSU 19, before tailback Derrick Portis locked down the game for FSU with a 19-yard touchdown run to put the final nail in the coffin for the Mavericks, and end the game with a final score of 42-25.
The Mavericks had great performances from their best weapons on offense yet gain on the day.
Junior Nate Gunn finished with 149 yards and one touchdown carry, marking the ninth time this season that he has posted 100 rushing yards or more in a game.
Junior wideout Shane Zylstra led the Maverick receiving corps with nine catches for 178 yards, while junior Justin Arnold caught three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
The Valdosta State Blazers defeated Notre Dame (Ohio) 30-24 in the other matchup of the semi-final, as they now also advance to the championship game to face Ferris State.
With the win, the Bulldogs (15-0) capture the most wins in program history, and advance to play unbeaten Valdosta State, who is a three-time national champion, for the DII National Championship next Saturday.
As for the Mavericks, while they did lose on Saturday, they have a lot to look forward to going into next season, especially with only six seniors graduating from the team. The squad looks to now build in the offseason, and hopefully figure out what went wrong, and accomplish their ultimate goal next season, and that’s winning a national championship.
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.