The #7 Minnesota State football team won its fifth straight season opener Thursday evening as it defeated Minot State 35-7 on the road.
MSU now owns a 1-0 record, while Minot State falls to 0-1.
In total, the Maverick offense posted 503 total yards of offense, including 291 yards on the ground. In comparison, the Minot State offense posted just 252 yards of offense, including 40 yards on the ground.
The Maverick defense was anchored by seniors Marcus Gooden and Ruben Ibarra. Gooden recorded a team-high 11 tackles, while Ibarra posted eight tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack. Sophomore Michael Palme and junior Ruben Ibarra each recorded a sack as well.
The senior duo of Nick Pieruccini and Virgil Hammond accounted for 174 rushing yards and three touchdown carries. Pieruccini reached the endzone twice, as he tallied 86 rushing yards, while Hammond added one touchdown carry and 88 rushing yards.
Senior quarterback Ricky Lloyd completed 10-of-18 passes for 162 passing yards. Freshman Ryan Schlichte completed two passes for 50 yards and a touchdown as well.
The Maverick receiving corps was led by junior Ty Dennis and sophomore Trevor Nissen who record 70 and 60 yards, respectively.
Minnesota State opened the scoring on its second drive of the first quarter. MSU’s five-play drive was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown carry by Lloyd to give the Mavericks a 7-0 lead.
MSU then tallied a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter as they took a 21-0 lead into the locker room. Schlichte connected with freshman Justin Arnold on a 10-yard touchdown pass, before Pieruccini ran in his first touchdown of the season from one yard out two drives later.
In total, the Mavericks tallied 317 yards of total offense in the first half, including 183 rushing yards. Hammond led the Maverick rushing attack in the first half with 71 rushing yards. Dennis posted two catches for 32 receiving yards in the first half as well.
On the defensive side of the ball in the first half, both Gooden and Palme led MSU with five tackles each. Palme also recorded a sack.
The third quarter saw the Mavericks waste little time reaching the endzone as they tallied 75 yards, on seven plays, in 2:57. Pieruccini, who tallied four carries during MSU’s opening drive of the second half, capped off the drive with a four yard touchdown carry.
The Mavericks then added their fifth touchdown of the game in the closing seconds of the third quarter as Hammond raced into the endzone from 13 yards out.
The lone score of the fourth quarter came with 6:56 left in the fourth quarter as Minot State’s Taylor Maloney caught a seven yard touchdown pass from Zac Cunha.
The Mavericks return to Blakeslee Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, as they host the Bemijdi State Beavers. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of MSU Athletics)