‘Do or die’: Redemption game as Mavericks enter the NCAA playoffs

Minnesota State Football earns the chance at revenge playing  Wayne State Saturday who are one of two teams that beat MSU this season. 

Mankato and Wayne State share the title of NSIC Conference Champions as both teams are 9-2. When the two teams met earlier in the year it ended poorly for Mankato with a score of 33-41. 

Wayne State is a familiar foe to the Mavericks. Both teams are in the NSIC southern division and Mankato holds a 12-2 record over them since 2008 when they first met. Hoffner said a division matchup in the playoffs is a “do or die” scenario. 

“They’re definitely the only team that has beaten us two years in a row in a long time. They definitely have our number,” coach Todd Hoffner said. 

This will be Mankato’s thirteenth appearance in the postseason while it is Wayne State’s second. Mankato earned the three seed and Wayne State has the sixth. 

“They’re strong, they’re powerful, they’re quick and they’re fast,” Hoffner said. “You got to pour it all out there, you got to give it all you got. You know in the playoffs anything goes and there’ll be a lot of calls that go under scrutiny.”

MSU has won five straight games since their loss to Wayne State. When they lost, Mankato was 4-2 and was “counted out.” 

“It all started with motivation. Everyone counted us out and all of a sudden we were winning a championship,” Hoffner said. “Five weeks ago nobody even thought of that.”

Hoffner gave the team extra motivation to win the conference by telling them they had the potential to choose his haircut. After the conference championship win the team left Hoffner’s head half bald leaving it long in the back. The team calls it a “skullet.”

“I would have my hair today if I didn’t talk to them. I told them if we win a conference championship, they can have my hair and do whatever they choose to it.” 

MSU will host Wayne State at Blakeslee Stadium at noon Saturday. 

“I would really appreciate everyone coming and cheering their hearts out while two conference teams play in the extended season,” Hoffner said. “Boy if we could battle with last week’s intensity to focus, drive and desire that would be wonderful.” 

The winner of this game will face the decider of the Colorado School of Mines [9-2] versus Colorado State University Pueblo [8-3] game in the second round.

Header Photo: -The Minnesota State Football team plays against Wayne State University in round one of the NCAA Division II Playoffs Saturday, Nov. 19 at Blakeslee Stadium. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter

Write to Luke Jackson at Luke.Jackson.1@mnsu.edu

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