#20 Minnesota State’s rushing attack proved decisive Thursday evening on the road as the Mavericks tallied 273 rushing yards, en route to a 35-7 win over the University of Mary.
Minnesota State now owns a 1-0 record, while U-Mary falls to 0-1. MSU has won it last six season openers dating back to the 2012 season.
The offense wasted no time as the Mavericks scored on three of their first four possessions to take a 21-0 lead with 12:43 remaining in the second quarter.
On the opening drive U-Mary fumbled on its second play which was recovered by senior Jerry Nash III on the U-Mary 21. The Mavericks reached pay dirt six plays later as sophomore Nate Gunn ran into the endzone on fourth down to put MSU up 7-0.
The Mavericks kept the momentum going on their following drive as they went 80 yards in seven plays, including a 26-yard touchdown run from freshman Justin Taormina, to put MSU up 14-0. Two drives later, MSU went 82 yards in seven plays, including an eight-yard touchdown pass from freshman JD Ekowa to junior Trevor Nissen to put MSU up 21-0 with 12:43 to go in the second quarter.
U-Mary managed to get on the scoreboard on the following drive to cut the Maverick lead to 21-7. The Marauders went 65 yards in 11 plays, which included a two-yard touchdown carry from Colton Farmer.
The Maverick offense recorded 256 yards of offense in the first half, including 191 on the ground. Gunn tallied 111 rushing yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Taormina added 50 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Senior Evan Perrizo led the Maverick defense with six tackles in the first half.
The Mavericks increased their lead in the third quarter as both Gunn and Taormina recorded their second touchdown carries of the game. Gunn’s second one-yard touchdown carry of the game capped off a 12-play drive that included six carries by Gunn. Taormina’s four-yard touchdown carry put the Maverick up 35-7 with 3:34 to go in the third quarter.
Both defense held firm the rest of the way as the Mavericks came away with the 35-7 win.
Gunn led the Maverick offense with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Taormina added 73 rushing yards and two touchdown carries as well. Senior Ty Dennis led the MSU receiving corps with four catches and 76 yards, while Nissen caught three passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Ryan Schlichte completed eight passes for 92 yards, while Ekowa threw for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Freshman Cade Johnson led the Maverick defense with 10 tackles, while Perrizo finished with seven, including two for a loss.
Minnesota State returns to Blakeslee Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, as it hosts the Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.