Potential postseason after the Cougars fall to the Mavericks

Mankato Football defeated the NSIC’s No.1 ranked team Saturday and are now on a  three-game winning streak. 

The Sioux Falls Cougars hosted the Minnesota State, Mankato Mavericks at home in a crucial game for both with only three games remaining in each of their seasons. The Mavs prevailed in the game and found a way to win in dominating fashion. 

USF opened the game with a 5-play, 75-yard drive which ended in redshirt sophomore Jacqueze Lockett having a 19-yard rush into the back of the endzone. The Mavs quickly bounced back and scored three times before the end of the first quarter. 

The first score came from a quick 7-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Hayden Ekern dishing it off to senior wide receiver Nyles Williams for a touchdown. Following this, junior back Shen Butler Lawson Jr. had a 19-yard run making the score 14-7 Mavericks. With only 28 seconds remaining in the first, Eckern opted to run the ball to earn the Mavericks their third touchdown making it 21-7. 

The Cougars quickly answered back in the second quarter with a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Preceding this, the defense on both sides locked in and made it difficult for both offenses to perform. 

The Mavs then broke through the Cougar’s defense with two back-to-back scores. The first came from a drawn out 13 plays finishing with Eckern having his second goal-line rushing touchdown. The other was a 32-yard field goal: with only three seconds remaining in the half, quarterback Allen Mullen had a 13-yard reception to Hunter Schnieder to chip away at Mankato’s lead making it 31-21. 

The second half was slower compared to the first. Only one score occurred making the final score 38-24. The first was USF hitting a 27-yard field goal to cap off the third quarter. In the fourth, Ekern had a 38-yard dime to sophomore tight end Landon Strong.

Mankato now lies at No.2 in the NSIC, right below the Bemidji State Beavers, while Sioux Falls is now No.5. The hunt for the postseason continues to harden as five teams are 7-2 and two teams are 6-3. 

The Mavs three-game winning streak is furthering their record to set themselves apart from the rest of the NSIC. The last two games of the season for Mankato will be played at home at Blakesless Stadium. The first is family weekend against the 4-5 Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs and the second is against the 7-2 No. 3 Winona State Warriors. 

Header Photo: The Mavericks won their game Saturday with a final score of 38-24 on the road against the NSIC No. 1 seed Cougars in Sioux Falls, S.D. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Luke Jackson at Luke.Jackson@mnsu.edu

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