Mavericks give up reign over NSIC

The Minnesota Maverick football team no longer rules the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference as Augustana bested them Saturday in a 28-10 blowout. With the loss, the Mavs drop to 7-1 while Augustana moves to 8-0.

Augustana is now the only undefeated team in the NSIC. The Mavs also drop in the national rankings as they move back nine spots. They went from fourth to 13th while Augustana is now at 12.

“Well I thought the score resembled how we played,” head coach Todd Hoffner said. “Augustana played really well and controlled the line of scrimmage.” 

The game started with pure defense as no team got on the scoreboard in the first quarter. MSU’s Matthew Jaeger put up the first points on the board as Mankato went on a 31-yard drive to set him up for a 24-yard field goal. He sent the ball through the uprights making the score 3-0. 

The Mavs seemed to be the dominant team as their defense recovered a fumble on their own 18 yard line to stop Auggie from gaining their first points. They then drove the ball down to AU’s 35 but Augustana’s Logan Lenord intercepted the ball on the 14 to give them another chance before the half ended. 

One play later, Jarod Epperson broke away for a 86-yard rushing touchdown to put the Vikings up 7-3. This score concluded the half and was the start of the downfall for the Mavericks. 

The game continued to be a defensive battle in the third as the lone score came from Augustana to put the team up 14-7. They scored once more late in the fourth to give them a late lead of 21-3. 

Mankato responded with their only touchdown of the game to Jeremiah Howard on a four-yard dish from Hayden Ekern after a eight-play, 75-yard drive. With only 1:37 to play they opted to onside kick which resulted in AU’s ball. The Vikings didn’t let up and had their last touchdown on a 23-yard touchdown pass to finalize the score of 28-10. 

“We need to do a better job of putting our players in better positions to make plays,” Hoffner said. “We’ll need to refocus and find a way to move forward.” 

Ekern finished his day with 181 passing yards and one touchdown. Nine Mavericks caught at least one pass, including freshman Andrew Laplant who led the team with 36 receiving yards. Ekern also led the Mavericks in rushing yards with 48.

Senior Jacob Daulton led the Maverick defense with six tackles, while junior Joey Goettl notched five. 

The Mavs next take on Southwest Minnesota State University 1 p.m. Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium.

Header photo: The Mavericks lost their undefeated streak to the Augustana Vikings 28-10. Both teams were undefeated until the Vikings put up a tough battle. The Mavericks are currently raked 13th in the NSIC. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

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

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