Maverick football back in the hunt

One week after the Mavericks first loss of the season, the Mavericks are back in the hunt for a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship after besting Southwest Minnesota State University 30-12 Saturday. 

The only lead SMSU possessed during the game came from a field goal in the first quarter. The game got off to a defensive slow start as it was the only point scored by either side in the first. 

After the field goal, the Mavericks answered quickly in the next drive, going60 yards in 12 plays and capping it off with a three-yard rush by running back Toney Anger to give the Mavs a 7-3 lead in the second. 

The Mavs found success on two more drives of the first half to take the 16-3 lead. First, Mathew Jaeger hit a 33-yard field goal and then quarterback Hayden Ekern connected with Grant Guyett for an 11-yard touchdown pass. 

As the half ended, SMSU drove down to the goal line in the final seconds. Defensive back Maven Kretche broke through the line and sacked the Mustangs quarterback for an 11-yard loss. They hit the field goal as the clock ticked to double zero’s but Kretche ultimately stopped a touchdown. 

“I felt Southwest Minnesota State didn’t quit,” said head coach Todd Hoffner. They wanted to keep competing and they played hard. Those two touchdowns in the second half were important for us, but it was crucial that our defense kept them out of the end zone.” 

Coming out of the half, the Mavs kept pounding the ball down the field. The offense drew up a big boy drive of 89 yards that was finished by lead back Shen Butler-Lawson’s one-yard touchdown catch. Butler-Lawson complemented his receiving touchdown with 115 rushing yards on the day. That tallies 1,180 yards on the ground so far this season. 

“The Hogs (offensive line) are great guys and they hold me accountable every day,” said Butler-Lawson. “They’re a great group to run behind so having that connection where they make the holes to make me look good.”

MSU capped off its scoring early in the fourth with Ekerns third touchdown pass, this time to Isaiah Emanuel for 11 yards to bring the score to 30-6. The four possession game was too much for the Mustangs to dig themselves out of even with their first touchdown late in the game. 

“The defensive crew did a phenomenal job of holding them to 12 points. It was definitely an impressive day,” said Hoffner in a press release on the Maverick Athletics website. 

The NSIC now has a three-way tie for the title as Augustana received its first loss of the season to Wayne State University. Bemidji State University still has just one loss, handed to them by  the Mavs. With three teams at 8-1, the next couple of weeks will determine the winner of the conference. 

The Mavericks have just two games remaining. Next week MSU goes on the road to face Winona State University before its final regular season home game against  the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Header Photo: The Mavs capped off Family Weekend at MSU with a 30-12 win over Southwest Minnesota State University. (Lilly Anderson/The Reporter)

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

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