After a loss to the University of Minnesota Duluth, the Mavericks still made it into the playoffs and now they get a shot at redemption versus Augustana University in the first round of the playoffs.
“I kinda thought we’d probably get in because our strength of schedule was pretty good,” Minnesota State coach Todd Hoffner said in an article published by the Mankato Free Press. “We played all the best teams in the league, and now we get another opportunity.”
The unseeded 9-2 Mavericks will travel to Sioux Falls once again to take on the No.4 seeded 10-1 Augustana Vikings. The last time these two faced off both teams were undefeated and ruled the NSIC. Augustana continued the undefeated streak as they defeated the Mavs 28-10 on Oct. 21.
“Obviously, we didn’t do well the last time we played them,” Hoffner said. “We need to look back and see what we did. It’s hard to find any weakness in their defense, and offensively, they’re very explosive. We’ll have to play our best if we want to compete.”
In the game defense was everything. The game started off slow for both teams offensively but as the Vikings took over and the Mavericks were not able to keep up. The Mavericks were held to one touchdown as Auggie found an answer for both Shen Butler-Lawson and Hayden Ekern. AU had four touchdowns – two of which came late in the final minutes.
The Vikings went on to win the NSIC Conference Championship.
Concerning the Mavericks, they are coming with a chip on their shoulder with their recent loss and their loss to Auggie. The team is currently averaging 35 points and 440 yards per game. The rushing and receiving attacks are very equal as the team posts 219 rushing and 213 receiving yards on average.
Shen Butler-Lawson leads the Maverick rushing attack, and ranks fourth in Division II, with 1,412 yards to go along with 15 touchdown carries. He is accompanied by Chritian Vasser with 390 yards and Tony Anger with five rushing touchdowns.
Hayden Ekern leads the passing attack with 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Mavs allow for 22 points and 354 yards per game. Jacob Daulton leads the team in tackles with 50 while Maven Kretche has 9.5 of MSU’s 27 sacks. Khai West leads the team in interceptions with five which is 14th among all division II play.
Hoffner currently holds a 9-4 record versus the Vikings and is 4-3 on the road.
Augustana has similar team stat lines. They tally 33.1 points and 381.5 yards of total offense a game, including 162.6 rushing yards a game. Quarterback Casey Bauman has thrown for 2,391 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.
On defense they hold teams for fewer points and yards with 16.4 points and 299.9 yards a game this season. The defense is led by Peyton Buckley who has 68 tackles and two interceptions.
The winner of this game will take on the Colorado School of Mines in the second round. Last year, MSU was knocked off against the School of Mines in a close 48-45 loss.
“A championship is our only goal,” defensive back Dakota Smith said. “Our goals are still ahead of us and we never put them out of reach. We are not done.”
Header Photo: The winner of the game between MSU and AU will advance to the second round to take on Colorado School of Mines on Nov. 25 in Golden, Colo. (Courtesy Maverick Athletics)
Write to Luke Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org