After escaping Augustana with a win last week, the team looks to make a statement against the Golden Bears.
The Mavericks came into the season picked first in the NSIC South division and overall conference preseason coaches’ poll.
The Mavericks have also shown their talents nationally, being ranked #2 team in the country after two weeks of play in the AFCA poll.
Two weeks Minnesota State is 2-0, defeating Southwest Minnesota State 49-13 at home in and then traveling to Augustana to defeat the Vikings 38-36 in a nail biter.
So far this year, the Mavericks feature a well balanced offensive attack, rushing for 247 yards per game while passing for 297. The rushing defense has been stringent only allowing 57.5 yards per game, while the passing defense has given up a paltry 370.5 yards per game.
Nate Gunn is running wild for the Mavericks already amassing 250 yards and five touchdowns on 5.0 yards per carry through two games.
The Mavericks are utilizing both of their talented QBs in a complex system. The primary quarterback is junior Ryan Schlichte, who has thrown for 533 yards on 38 attempts.
Sophomore JD Ekowa has also made an impact, more on the rushing side of things, contributing 108 yards and a touchdown while also throwing for 61 yards and touchdown.
Ten Mavericks have caught passes in the first two weeks, but the receiving core is primarily led by juniors Shane Zylstra and Justin Arnold. Zylstra has caught ten passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns and Arnold has snagged eight throws for 157 yards.
The defense has been led by safety Cole Schroedermeier with 15 tackles. Fellow safety Cade Johnson is second with 13 tackles.
The kicking game is also a strength for the Mavericks as they utilize kicker/punter Casey Bednarski.
Bednarski has kicked 12 touchbacks in 15 kickoffs, averaged 41.7 yards per punt, and made one of two field goals attempts through two games in 2018.
For the Golden Bears, senior quarterback Dom McKinzy has been solid under center for CSP, with a 148.6 pass efficiency rating with 420 yards and five touchdown passes (to two interceptions) on 58.5 percent passing in two weeks.
He’s targeted four different players for at least six receptions led by junior Marcus Gustaveson with 7-147 and a touchdown. Junior MJ Williams had 6-93 with a 61-yard touchdown in week two.
Sophomore running back Shaq Johnson, with six catches for 49 yards, leads the team with three receiving touchdowns and is the first running back in CSP’s Division II era (1999-present) to haul in three touchdowns via the air in a single season.
He also has 176 yards on the ground, averaging 4.5 per carry with a long run of 23 yards.
The defense has been led by redshirt freshman cornerback Marcus Haskins. He has two interceptions on the year, both in the end zone and his nine passes defended rank second in the country through two weeks.
He has eight tackles, seven being solo with his only assisted tackle coming for a half tackle for loss.
These two talented teams look ready to go head-to-head against each other this Saturday at the Blake. Game time will be at 1 p.m.
Feature Photo: The Mavericks (pictured above) look to continue their dominance, as they defend home turf face-off against Concordia-St. Paul this Saturday at the Blake. (Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter)