It’s homecoming week and the Minnesota State Mavericks are hosting the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears with hopes to win their 6th consecutive homecoming game this coming Saturday.
The Mavericks are coming off of a road loss to the Winona State Warriors and there’s no better time to bounce back from a loss than homecoming. Minnesota State is now 3-2 but Head Coach Todd Hoffner says the players and coaches are still optimistic about what is next to come.
“Our guys are still believing and they’re still excited. We’re going to have to hit that extra oxygen on the blowtorch and try and burn it strong throughout the game,” Hoffner said. “I think it’s really important that you never assume or take anything for granted and become complacent. It’s college football- anything can happen.”
The Mavericks are going to need to have complete and total focus on the game ahead. They will need to show a high level of perseverance if they want to overcome several early season losses.
“What’s in the hearts and minds of these young men and how bad they want something ultimately determines the outcome because motivated groups of people can accomplish anything. So the sky is the limit,” Hoffner said.
Last season’s homecoming contest, Minnesota State set an attendance record for a football game with 7,187 fans attending the game, according to Minnesota State’s athletic site. That kind of showing has a real impact on the players and impacts the game in a tremendous way.
“I think it makes it special. We’ve had a winning tradition and a winning program. I think that helps, and the fans enjoy watching quality opponents and competitive football games,” Hoffner said. “The turn-out and support we’ve been getting throughout the years has definitely increased, and I think it’s become a very big deal.”
The Mavericks own a 48-33-2 record all-time in homecoming games and will be trying to extend their homecoming winning-streak to six games. It won’t be an easy task however, as the Golden Bears will be coming into Blakeslee Stadium looking to “bare down” on the Mavericks, pun intended.
The Golden Bears have averaged 24.8 points this season and average 4.9 yards per rush. Containing the offense and owning the line of scrimmage will be very important if the Mavericks want to leave Blakeslee with a win. Leading the way for the Golden Bears in the run game is Senior running back Darius Chapes. In five games, Chapes has 372 yards on 51 carries, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Dominating the line of scrimmage and containing the run game up front will play a major role in deciding a winner, but it will ultimately come down to much more than just that. Special situations like third and short, goal line situations, and red-zone situations are all going to play huge factors in the game and as Hoffner said, “We just have to play solid Mavericks football.”
The game will start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 8th. This will be the 11th meeting between the Mavericks and the Golden Bears with Minnesota State dominating the series 8-2.