Zylstra breaks Mavericks all-time receiving touchdown record

The Mavericks win season opener behind Nate Gunn’s three touchdowns

Mel Stramm
Staff Writer

The Maverick football team opened its season with a 38-23 win against Southwest Minnesota State University Saturday, Sept. 8 in Marshall. 

Besides earning their 25th consecutive NSIC conference win, the Mavericks were able to establish some strong stats to start off the season, finishing with a total of 601 yards on offense – outplaying the Mustangs 350 yards.

The Mustangs struck first in the early minutes of the game with a 29-yard field goal, but that lead was quickly evaporated.

Mankato responded with a 15-yard touchdown run by tailback Nate Gunn on the next possession.

Gunn went on to successfully run the ball into the end zone again before the end of the first quarter, putting the Mavericks up 15-3.

Going into the second quarter, sophomore Luke Williams connected on a 40-yard field goal. 

It was Gunn again who would score a touchdown for Mankato, giving them a 25-3 lead.

Gunn would eventually accumulate 242 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the game, his third time rushing over 200 yards in a game. Last season he finished with 1,705 yards and 22 TDs and looks well on his way to another big season.

SMSU’s Daniel Davis’ 26-yard pass to Boyer Bouman allowed the Mustangs to raise their score, however, they still trailed 25-10 going into halftime.

The Mustangs scored two more times during the third quarter. Steven Nava connected on touchdown passes to Carter Damlo and Quardi Busari, which tightened the score. 

Williams kicked a 34-yard field goal, the only points earned by the Mavericks in the third quarter. 

A 27-yard field goal by kicker Ashton Garner opened the fourth quarter, bringing MSU’s lead back up to 31-23. 

MSU’s defense finished the game strong after an interception by junior Cole Shroedermeier ended SMSU’s efforts to score any further. 

A successful 25-yard touchdown pass by Ryan Schlichte to wide receiver Shane Zylstra, followed by the extra point from Williams would then seal the deal.

Zylstra now has officially earned the title of MSU’s all-time leader in touchdown catches (37). 

Neither MSU nor SMSU managed to score within the last eight minutes, leading to the first Maverick win of the 2019 season.

The Mavericks will open their home schedule against the Augustana Vikings with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday at the Blakeslee Stadium.

Header photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.

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