The week’s festivities commence with football

The annual homecoming football game is upon the No. 4 Maverick football team, this year a win would give them the programs longest homecoming game win streak. 

The Mavericks currently hold a 54-33-2 record in homecoming games. Since 2011, MSU has gone undefeated in their last 11 homecoming game outings, a 12th win this year would give them the longest streak in program history. 

Last year, their 11th win tied the all-time record dating back to when the Mavericks went undefeated from 1966-78 in homecoming games. 

MSU faces off against Minnesota State University Moorhead for their 39th outing Saturday. Although Mankato hasn’t hosted the Dragons for homecoming since 1979, they own a 7-3 record versus them at homecoming games. 

Head coach Todd Hoffner is undefeated versus the Dragons with a 5-0 record, at home he is 2-0. 

Concerning the Mavericks, they join Augustana and Minnesota Duluth as the only teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference to start 5-0. Last Saturday, MSU defeated the ninth ranked Bemidji State Beavers in a close 27-24 win. This puts the Mavs as the top team in the NSIC. 

Currently, the Maverick offense is averaging 41.2 points and 499 yards per game. The offense is led by their rushing stampede as they average 285 yards per game. Shen Butler-Lawson leads the Mavericks and all of division II football with 902 total yards on the ground and 11 touchdown carries. 

Quarterback Hayden Ekern has thrown for 998 yards this season which gives the offense an average of 214 passing yards a game. He also has nine passing touchdowns. 

On defense, Jacob Daulton has been the team’s backbone as he has 25 tackles. Daultons efforts last week against the Beavers were good enough to earn him NSIC Defensive Player of the Week as he recorded 10 tackles, an interception, a tackle for loss and a sack.

The defense only allows for 19.8 points and 312 yards a game. One major part of this success is due to their 14 sacks and their ability to stop offenses on third downs to force the punt. They have a 21-63 (33.3%) showing on third downs. 

For the Dragons, they have a 3-2 record despite putting up big stats. 

MSU Moorhead is a pass heavy team as they average 37.8 points a game on 451 yards of total offense. Of that total offense, 380 comes from the passing game. 

Moorhead’s quarterback Jack Strand nearly doubles Ekern’s passing yards this season as he has 1,851 through five games, this has helped him reach his 19 passing touchdowns. Strands splits his wide receiver workload pretty evenly as Carter Birrenkott has 469 receiving yards while Gabe Florence has 428. The two of them total for ten touchdowns. 

Lastly, Jack Bungarden and Tate Gustafson are two big forces on their defenses. Bungarden has 37 tackles with 7.5 being tackles for loss while Gustafson has 33 tackles and four for loss. 

Homecoming kickoff will be scheduled for 2 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium.

Header Photo: This year’s Maverick homecoming football game will be played against the MSU Moorhead Dragons on Saturday, Oct. 7. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

Write to Luke Jackson at luke.jackson.2@mnsu.edu

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