The Mavericks are ready to take on the Texans in round three of the NCAA Playoffs Saturday
The Minnesota State Mavericks football team (12-0), who came into the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed, look ready to face-off with the #6-ranked team heading into the tournament, the Tarleton State Texans (12-0), at home Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium. Game time is set for noon on Saturday.
Saturday’s game between Minnesota State and Tarleton State will be the first meeting between them, and what a matchup it will be. Going into this matchup, both teams are undefeated, which makes it a real matchup of two football giants this season.
Minnesota State is coming off a huge win last weekend at home, defeating CSU-Pueblo 24-10 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at the Blake.
With the win, MSU improved its all-time record in the NCAA Tournament to 10-10, advancing to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.
On the other side, the Tarleton State Texans improved their record to 12-0 last weekend as it bested Texas A&M-Commerce 34-28 in Stephenville, Texas.
The team’s 12 wins are the most in a season in program history. The two teams on paper look to be an even matchup.
As a team, MSU has averaged 43.1 points and 464.1 yards of offense a game this season, while the Texans are averaging 47.9 points and 528.5 yards of offense a game this season.
On paper, according to the stats, the Texans may have a slight edge on offense, but not by more than just a couple of points.
On the other side of the football, both teams have been stellar on defense this season.
For MSU, opponents have averaged 15.5 points and 281.3 yards of offense a game, while opponents against the Texans average 16.8 points and 293.8 yards of offense a game.
The biggest concern for the Mavericks this season is stopping the Texans two-headed monster on offense, in running backs Xavier Turner and Daniel McCants.
Turner leads the TSU rushing attack with 1,391 yards and 22 touchdown carries, while McCants been stellar as well, posting 1,124 rushing yards and eight touchdowns as well.
The same can be said for the Texans though going into this matchup.
The Mavericks’ two biggest pieces on offense this season, in juniors Nate Gunn and Shane Zylstra, have been the team’s bread and butter this season.
Gunn leads the MSU rushing attack with 1,295 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Gunn’s 20 rushing touchdowns are the most in a season in team history.
Zylstra has tallied 1,053 receiving yards and 13 touchdown catches this season, scoring in every game this season except for one.
The key for both teams going into this matchup is to minimize mistakes and capitalize on the few opportunities they get when presented.
The winner of this matchup looks to move on to the semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament, and inches closer to bringing home a championship to their respected schools.
Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.