The team trots into Saturday’s matchup coming off a dominant performance last weekend at home.
This weekend, our #1 ranked Mavericks look to keep the season perfect with a win against the Winona State Warriors on the road. This will be the 57th time these teams have met in their illustrious rivalry, a rivalry in which the Mavericks hold a 34-18 lead.
In the most recent match up, the Mavs defeated the Warriors at the Blake last season, dismantling the team by the final score of 27-6, in what was a total defensive affair for the Mavericks throughout the game.
This season, the offense has been the story for this team. Offensively this season, the Mavericks might be the most dangerous team right now in D-II, as they’ve been able to 44.3 points and 543 yards of offense per game this season.
Using a balanced run and passing attack, the offensive yards are split up a near even 279.3 rushing yards per game and 263.7 passing yards a game.
Defensively, the teams haven’t been able to execute nearly as well, averaging a measly 20.7 points per game and 357.3 yards per game.
Junior tailback Nate Gunn spearheads the MSU rushing game, with 304 rushing yards and an impressive six touchdowns.
Sophomore runner Justin Taormina has been a nice complementary piece, amassing 190 rushing yards and a touchdown so far in three games for the Mavs, while sophomore JD Ekowa has also added 160 yards and a touchdown on the ground this year.
Junior quarterback Ryan Schlichte has thrown for 597 yards and three touchdowns this season. He is currently averaging 199 passing yards a game and has completed 65.3% of his passes.
The Maverick receivers are led by the duo of talented juniors in Shane Zylstra and Justin Arnold. Zylstra has tallied a cool 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while Arnold has snagged 11 passes for 182 yards.
Junior Zach Robertson leads the stiff defense with 19 tackles, including 2 tackles for a loss. Sophomore Cole Schroedermeier has impressed, notching 15 tackles so far this season, while junior Alex Goettl has tallied 15 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks.
On the other side of things, Winona is reeling from an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the previously winless Upper Iowa Peacocks.
Offensively, they’ve been consistently putting points on the board, averaging 30 points and 398 yards of offense per game this season.
They are potent through the air, however, amassing 8 of their 10 touchdowns through the air, which means their run game is yet to be proven.
Players of note on the offensive side of the ball for the Warriors include quarterback Owen Burke, who has thrown for 733 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and defensive back Isaiah Hall, who leads the defense with 21 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss.
Defensively, they’ve been allowing other teams to average 25.6 points and 390.3 yards of offense a game this season, which may be a tell-tale sign that the Mavericks will rely on their offense on Saturday to stack points on this bend, but don’t break-type defense.
Expect a close game between these two rivals, as the Warriors look to bounce back from last week’s heartbreaking loss, while the Mavericks try to keep their seat at the top of the conference.
Kickoff time is scheduled for 1 p.m. this Saturday in Winona, MN. Stream the game online through the team’s athletic site, or listen to the game on 1230 THE FAN.
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.