Minnesota State improves record to 6-0 after Homecoming victory
The fifth ranked Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks continue to impress this season piling up win after win. This weekend was no different as the Mavericks defeated the Augustana Vikings on Homecoming this Saturday, 42-21 in front of an electric home crowd.
The players were revved up for this matchup as the past few contests against the Vikings have been very close. The Mavericks were determined to give their large crowd a Homecoming win. Let’s recap Saturday’s action.
The Mavericks fed off the crowd early, getting off to a blazing fast start that began with a field goal to put them ahead 3-0. A couple minutes later, freshman quarterback JD Ekowa threw a dart to wide receiver Shane Zylstra for a 17-yard touchdown to put Minnesota State ahead 10-0 late in the first quarter.
The following drive for the Mavericks looked rather familiar as they once again found the end zone. This time it was running back Nate Gunn. Gunn plunged in for the score from 15 yards out and the Mavs followed up the score with a successful two-point conversion attempt to give MNSU the lead 18-0.
For Augustana, things were looking rather bleak. They managed to answer on the following drive as quarterback Kyle Saddler threw a bomb to wide receiver Trevor DeSchepper for the score, bringing the Vikings within 11 points.
Augustana forced a punt and was hoping they could make it a single digit deficit before halftime. This was not the case as Minnesota State forced a key turnover that gave the Mavericks the ball inside the red zone. Only three plays later, Zylstra caught another touchdown, his second of the day, to put MNSU ahead 25-7 with 7:42 to go in the first half.
The Vikings did manage to find the end zone before halftime however, as just seconds remained when AU scored to make the score 25-14 at half.
The third quarter was a defensive battle as the Mavericks managed to put a field goal on the board while shutting out Augustana. The score heading into the final quarter was 28-14.
The fourth quarter started and the Mavericks were quickly trying to put the game out of reach. On their first possession of the quarter, Minnesota State went 52 yards on just four plays, capped off by a 26-yard touchdown run from Nate Gunn to extend the lead 35-14. Augustana answered back with a touchdown of their own, but that was all the fight they had in them as the Mavericks delivered the final dagger late in the game as Shane Zylstra caught his third touchdown of the game to extend the lead to 42-21, virtually eliminating any chance Augustana had to win.
Zylstra was named NSIC offensive player of the week on Monday for his impressive performance. He ended the contest with ten receptions, 147 yards and three touchdowns.
With the win, the Mavericks improved to 6-0 on the season and Augustana dropped to 2-4. Minnesota State begins a two-game road trip the next couple weeks as they battle Upper Iowa and Southwest Minnesota State University in the upcoming games. They will return home on October 28th to defend their home turf against Winona State for the Harvest Bowl.